Horseracing kills horses. The Kentucky derby is the stage where the abusive “sport” is practiced and glorified. Not only is the sport abusive, but breeding horses constantly in order to have the next “best” racing horse – those who do not make the cut are left to horrific fates. Most horses that do not make the cut are slaughtered, either for dog food or for the foreign horsemeat trade. Others are simply abandoned or neglected and starved until they die. Cases of horse abuse include: beating; burning; maggot infestation; batteries implanted under the skin which give the horse electric shocks when it is faltering or slowing; administering harmful drugs such as cocaine and anabolic steroids to the horse to act as a stimulant and to cover pain caused by racing; and being dragged behind cars with their legs bound together.
About only 5%-10% of horses bred to race ever see a racecourse. According to an investigation conducted by the New York Times in 2012, over 24 horses die a week at racetracks. And an estimated 10,000 or more horses are sent to slaughter each year as well.
Horses that are in training to become racing horses are vigorously and aggressively trained from being a foal. Not allowing for proper development without such intense stress can cause stomach ulcers, heart murmurs, and have blood in the lungs.
The foal’s skeletal system is not properly developed when they begin training and their bones are unable to sometimes cope with the extreme demand placed on them, which may result in fractures or breaks, which then will most likely result in the horse being killed since they are of no use anymore. According to the Society for the Advancement of Animal Wellbeing, “In order to be able to produce milk the female horses must be made pregnant and give birth so that they can lactate and provide milk for the more valuable horses. The nurse mare’s own baby can not be provided with milk as its mother is now feeding a racehorse, so instead the new born nurse mare foal will be brutally killed. As it is illegal to send ponies under 6 months old to the slaughterhouse instead they will be killed on site by smashing in their heads with a heavy wooden or metal club. Alternatively they are just left in the field to starve to death.”
For every one out of 500 horses that participate in a single race, there will be at least one fatal injury that results. The Associated Press reported that more than 1,200 racehorses died as a result of an injury from racing during 2008. Racing horses are given multiple drugs in order to keep them racing for as long as possible: “they’re all given Lasix (which controls bleeding in the lungs), phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory), and cortiscosteroids (for pain and inflammation)” (The Horse Fund). Morphine may also be used to remove the horses’ pain from an injury in order to make them race. And sometimes a “combination of baking soda, electrolytes and sugar if forced through a tube that is inserted via the nose in to the animals stomach. This is done to prevent lactic acid build-up and therefore decrease fatigue so that horse can run further and quicker.” However, this method can easily go wrong if the tube is inserted into the lungs instead of the stomach. In 2008, over 1,000 racing horses were tested for steroids and over 60% tested positive. Thryroxine may also be administered in order to speed up the horses’ metabolism.
When horses are not racing or training, they are kept in stalls approximately 22 hours a day. If they are able to race and deemed worthy enough, they may be whipped up to 30 times per race.
While people say that racehorses are cared for, they’re not because they’re just seen as objects in order to make money. There is always another foal that can be literally whipped into submission. Using animals for entertainment and sport is cruel. Horses are not meant to race, while they are large beasts, they are fragile and require a lot of care, maintenance, and attention. Horses are wild beasts, they should not be used for barbaric purposes in the name of “entertainment” because it is vile.
The only way to stop the abuse of horses is to stop supporting horseracing events. Don’t watch, don’t go to derby parties, speak up, and speak out. Don’t watch the Kentucky Derby – don’t add to the celebrations because you will be celebrating the abuse and death of animals.
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