Racing exposes horses to significant risk of injury and sometimes, catastrophic injury and death through trauma (e.g. broken neck) or emergency euthanasia. The odds are stacked against horses in the racing industry. There is no limit the number of times horses can be slapped down the shoulder during a race.
- Here are five reasons why it’s cruel: 1. Racing is hard on horses’ bodies. Horses often start racing when they’re just 2 years old. That’s too young. Their bones are still growing, and their bodies aren’t ready for the pressure of running at full speed on a hard track, so they can get injured more easily than older horses.
Is horse racing really cruel?
Horses are often drugged. Because they’re forced to run so fast, a lot of horses get hurt. But instead of letting them rest and recover from their injuries, many trainers and veterinarians give them drugs so they won’t feel the pain and can keep on racing. This can cause their injuries to get even worse.
Does horse racing hurt horses?
Jockey’s whip doesn’t hurt horses The whips used in horse racing are lightweight and made with soft foam. Jockeys strike their horses to encourage them to run, and hitting them with the whip creates a popping sound that makes a horse focus. The modern whip is designed to create noise, not pain.
Is horse racing humane?
Horse racing is on the borderline between humane and cruel. While some racehorses are fortunate enough to live enjoyable lives, many endure unnecessary pain and suffering throughout their careers. Most horse racing governing bodies and stakeholders argue that racehorses are treated fairly and live luxurious lives.
What is the problem with horse racing?
Racehorses are at risk of harm during races, training and trials with the main types of injuries involving muscle, bones, tendons and ligaments. Serious injuries such as fractures and ruptured ligaments or tendons which cause pain or distress, and cannot be treated should result in immediate euthanasia.
Do racehorses enjoy racing?
Yes, horses enjoy racing and are well-looked after animals. Running and jumping comes naturally to horses as you see horses doing this in the wild. It’s also very interesting that when a horse unseats its jockey during a race, it will continue to run and jump with the other racehorses.
Do crops hurt horses?
Today’s crops are designed to be as light as possible – they can’t possibly hurt the horse. The thin end of a crop is intended to make contact with the horse, whilst the keeper prevents the horse’s skin from being marked. These are design features that are not meant to harm the horse. (A true crop is relatively short).
Why are race horses dying?
Racehorses are the victims of a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing, and many horses’ careers end in slaughterhouses. As long as mankind demands that it run at high speeds under stressful conditions, horses will die at racetracks.”
Do horses get killed after races?
Founded in 1977, Animal Aid campaigns for an outright ban on horse racing and the end of slaughtering animals for food products. All horses are humanely destroyed and on occasions where issues do occur, we take swift action to review and rectify.”
Why are racehorses put down?
Owners and trainers love their horses and have invested huge amounts of time and care into looking after and training them. Because horses can not stay off their feet for long periods, broken bones do not have a chance to heal, and so often sadly the kindest way to help a horse with a broken limb is to put it down.
Do horses like to be ridden?
Most horses are okay with being ridden. As far as enjoying being ridden, it’s likely most horses simply tolerate it rather than liking it. However, many people argue that if horses wouldn’t want us to ride them, they could easily throw us off, which is exactly what some horses do.
Is PETA against horseback riding?
A Close Look at the Horse-Human Relationship Many animal rights activists, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have announced arguments against the use of horses for any and all riding purposes.
Is dressage cruel to horses?
Is dressage cruel to horses? Dressage done well is not cruel to horses. The point of dressage is to demonstrate harmony and trust between horse and rider, which is achieved using correct, gentle training.
5 Reasons Why Horse Racing is Cruel
Horses are fascinating creatures. They are gentle giants who can weigh up to 1,000 pounds -yes, you read that correctly — and are quite intelligent. Horses, despite the fact that they are enormous and powerful animals, may be injured extremely easily. So, why do people ride them around tracks at dangerously high speeds, thrashing them the entire time, you might wonder? To “entertain” other people—for the sake of “fun” only! Yes, that is incredible, but it is also real. Horse racing is popular among adults because it allows them to put bets on the horses and potentially earn money if their selected horse wins the race.
Here are five of the reasons why it is unjust:
1. Racing is hard on horses’ bodies.
Horses are frequently entered into racing as young as two years old. That’s far too early. Due to the fact that their bones are still growing and that their bodies are not yet equipped to withstand the pressure of racing at full speed on a hard track, they are more susceptible to injury than older horses.
2. Horses are often drugged.
A large number of horses are injured as a result of being forced to run at such high speeds. However, rather than allowing them to rest and recuperate from their injuries, many trainers and vets provide medicines to them in order to keep them from feeling the agony and allowing them to continue racing. This has the potential to make their injuries more worse. They may also be given illicit narcotics or other substances that are harmful to their health, such as snakevenom and alcohol, in an attempt to make them run faster, whatever it takes.
3. Around 24 horses dieevery weekon U.S. racetracks.
Some horses are damaged so severely that they are unable to be repaired, such as when their bones crack or shatter, and they must be put down.
4. It’s a lonely business for the horses.
Horses are herd animals, which means that they normally live in big groups, graze together in meadows, and wander freely across the countryside. When they are racing, they can spend up to 23 hours a day in a stall and are constantly being transported around to different racetracks, which means they don’t get to have much freedom or spend time with their fellow horses very often.
5. Losers never “win.”
Those horses that don’t win races or who lose their competitive edge are sometimes flown to Canada, Mexico, or Japan to be slaughtered there, even if they are still very young. Some are murdered while they are just 5 or 6 years old, despite the fact that they may live to be 30 or more years old. *** By abstaining from attending a horse racing, you may help put a stop to this dreadful scenario. Inform your relatives and friends about the pain and suffering associated with horse racing so that they will never attend or wager on a race again.
Thoroughbred horse racing is a world of injuries, drug abuse, grisly breakdowns, and killing that exists behind the glorified façade of the sport. Meanwhile, the horses are fleeing for their life as the spectators show off their expensive clothing and consume mint juleps.
Forced to Race
Horses employed in racing are made to sprint at such high rates that they regularly experience injuries and even bleeding from the lungs. This is generally done under the threat of whips or even illegal electric shock devices. Whip usage is common practice in the United States, with little more than lip service given to those who violate the law in the majority of states. When jockey Jeremy Rose “engaged in excessive overuse of the whip” during a race in 2008, the horse named Appeal to the City suffered hemorrhaging around her right eye.
- In 2013, PETA showed that prominent trainers and riders had acknowledged to using unlawful electro-shock devices on horses, according to the organization.
- Most horses are exposed to a combination of legal and illicit medicines when they are pushed past their limitations, with the goal of masking ailments and artificially improving performance.
- This ailment is classified as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).
- In what should come as no surprise, an average of 24 horses die at racetracks throughout the country every week, and this figure does not even include the horses who are abandoned by the racing business because they are no longer deemed lucrative.
In the state of New York alone, more than 250 Thoroughbreds were injured or died while competing in races in 2015.
Treated Like Commodities
Because the majority of horse owners and trainers have just a short-term financial interest in their horses, there is little consistency and responsibility throughout the course of a Thoroughbred’s lifespan, resulting in the animals suffering greatly. Because of the high turnover in ownership, most Thoroughbreds are purchased or “claimed” more than once throughout their racing careers. Some events, referred to as claiming races, let horses to be acquired and taken away by a new owner immediately following the race, allowing prior owners little influence over where their horses end up after the race.
- During his racing career, a horse named Who’s Bluffing was claimed 12 times, with three of those claims coming from the same owner.
- A total of 10,000 “unprofitable” or just undesirable Thoroughbreds are trucked to Canada and Mexico and murdered each year in these countries, according to estimates.
- PETA is putting up significant effort to end horse racing abuse.
- The hearings were held in February 2009.
- Following repeated criticism from PETA, some well-known racetrack replaced harsh leather whips with milder air-cushioned whips in 2009.
- Following the exposure of the use of unlawful shocking devices by top trainers and riders by PETA, Churchill Downs increased the number of procedures in place to identify such devices.
- Following the investigation, the New York State Gaming Commission fined Asmussen $10,000 and proposed sweeping new regulations to protect horses in racing.
- Growing public awareness of the negative aspects of racing has fuelled these advancements, and it is expected to continue to exert pressure on the business.
- Interested in learning more?
Visit PETA’s website to learn about their breakthrough investigations into cruel training procedures for young horses, drug usage, the transportation of horses to slaughter, and the fates of thousands American animals sent to overseas slaughterhouses.
The Ugly Truth About Horse Racing
In the world of horse racing, there are three basic sorts of individuals. There are the crooks who dangerously drug or otherwise abuse their horses, or who allow such behavior from their agents, and who then challenge the industry to come after them and apprehend them. Then there are the gullible individuals who believe that the sport is essentially fair and honest in its overall operation. And then there are the majority in the center, who are neither naive nor cheats, but rather decent people who are aware that the business is more corrupt than it should be, but who refuse to do everything they can to correct the situation.
Those in the second category, the innocents, are likewise a tiny number who are more or less hopeless; if they haven’t realized by now that they are being harmed, they are unlikely to do so in the future.
And it is for this reason that exposés on the mistreatment of racehorses, such as the one published last week in The New York Times by Joe Drape, are so vital.
Instead, they appeal directly to the many decent and honest people who work in the horse racing industry and whose consciences are still in play.
The Clubhouse Turn
In this case, ” PETA Accuses Two Trainers of Cruelty,” a news that broke like a thunderclap was extremely significant for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the film on which it is based lets viewers to witness for themselves a small portion* of what animal campaigners have long said occurs at the top levels of thoroughbred racing. In this episode, we learn about trainer Steve Asmussen, a controversial conditioner, and his top assistant trainer, Scott Blasi. The photographs depict the care of world-class horses while they are training at two of the most prestigious and recognized racetracks in the United States: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York, respectively.
- However, it is erroneous to confuse antipathy toward PETA with dismissiveness of the organization’s activities.
- Click here to view the PETA video that was mentioned in the Times article.
- Cruelty towards a horse can be demonstrated by striking it or “buzzing” it with an unlawful device.
- In addition, you can abuse a horse by administering an excessive amount of medicines to it in order to bring it to the races (or to make it race faster).
- Thus, the tale is crystallized even in its most basic title in the Times’ column, and the story connects with people all around the world as a result.
- No one outside of the horse racing industry is bothered by insiders defrauding each other in the sport.
- If the general public feels that racehorses are abused or neglected, horse racing will be doomed from the start of the season.
I have no clue whether Asmussen and Blasi are guilty of anything, and I make no accusations against them here. My argument is that it truly doesn’t make a difference. The entire industry has responsibility for allowing it to reach this point.
It was like a thunderclap when the news ” PETA Accuses Two Trainers of Cruelty” broke. The story is significant for a number of reasons. As a starting point, the film on which it is based allows viewers to witness for themselves a small portion* of what animal campaigners have long said occurs at the top levels of thoroughbred racing. The show is centered on trainer Steve Asmussen, a controversial conditioner, and his top assistant trainer, Scott Blasi. In the photographs, world-class horses training at two of the most prestigious and recognized racetracks in the United States are depicted: Churchill Downs Race Course in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.
- To equate antipathy toward PETA with dismissiveness of the organization’s activities, on the other hand, is a mistake.
- Instead, people are only interested in what is depicted in the video itself.
- Even among reform-minded racing insiders, the article and video are noteworthy—and noteworthy for being something different—because they bring together the widespread use of medications on horses with allegations of animal cruelty in a way that has been downplayed.
- By forcing a horse to race lamely while the animal is lame, you might do harm to the horse.
- What about ending this practice for the welfare of horses, if racing officials aren’t willing to stop it for the sake of bettors or owners?
- However, there are a large number of people outside of the horse racing industry who are concerned about the treatment of the animals at the core of the sport.
I have no clue whether Asmussen and Blasi are guilty of anything, and I make no accusations against them in my article. What I’m trying to say is that it truly doesn’t matter. That it has gotten to this point has been the fault of the entire business.
The Finish Line
What do you think about telling the truth? It has the potential to liberate this sector once and for all. If the sport does not continue to pretend that there is a problem with animal mistreatment, or if it continues to claim that the situation is under control, the sport may make the courageous move that will be required to go to the other side—the side where animal activists are not picketing racetracks. This will result in more money being allocated to increased drug testing. In order to better control trainers and veterinarians, legislative actions will be undertaken.
- It will signal the end of the code of silence observed by insiders.
- Wouldn’t that be beneficial?
- This type of behavior is common among horsemen who have spent time in shed row or on the backstretch; yet, it may be found in certain barns but not others, by some trainers but not others, and in the shadows of the sporting world.
- However, this does not rule out the possibility that the narrative is true or that it can be simply disregarded.
- The publisher of the Thoroughbred Daily News, Barry Weisbord, was absolutely correct in his diatribe over the weekend.
When it comes to horse racing, like in life, there is no such thing as a “nearly honest” horse, a “somewhat crooked” horse, or a “slightly mistreated horse.” * PETA claims to have seven hours of film, which was examined by Joe Drape of the Times and will be released before the Kentucky Derby in early May, according to the organization’s website.
“The video and report demonstrate how grooms and employees administer multiple drugs to racehorses on a daily basis, regardless of whether the horses require them or not, in order for them to pass veterinarians’ visual inspections, make it to the racetrack, or perform at a higher level,” Drape wrote.
What are the animal welfare issues with Thoroughbred horse racing? – RSPCA Knowledgebase
This article presents a concise overview of the major issues confronting the horse racing business, which must be addressed in order to ensure the welfare of racehorses.
Further information on these issues may be found by visiting the websites listed at the conclusion of this article.
1. Oversupply of racehorses
The racing business relies on a large number of horses being bred and a high turn-over rate in order to maximize the odds of discovering the winning champion. When horses quit the racing profession, they can do so at any moment of their lives, including as foals, during training, throughout their racing career, and after retirement. When horses are forced to retire from racing before their time, this is referred to as ‘wastage.’ The plight of thousands of horses that are forced to retire from the profession each year raises severe concerns about their well-being.
Horses may be rejected from the racing business for a variety of reasons, including poor performance, sickness, injury, and behavioral issues.
Because reliable information on the whereabouts of horses leaving the racing business is not accessible, it is impossible to determine their specific destination.
The gathering and dissemination of full life cycle and injury information, as well as the establishment of a national identity and traceability system for racehorses, are also supported by the NRHA.
2. Use of painful devices
While the RSPCA opposes whips because of their ability to cause pain and harm, it argues that whips cannot be justified in horse racing because performance is determined more by genetics, preparation, and rider skill than by a whip. Reform of the whip rules, as well as the elimination of the usage of the whip as a performance enhancer, are two of our top priorities. Tongue ties and spurs are two more forms of equipment commonly used on racehorses that the RSPCA condemns because of the discomfort and anguish they can cause the animals.
- This method of restricting the mobility of the tongue creates discomfort and has the potential to inflict lifelong harm.
- Despite the negative consequences, the use of whips, tongue ties, and spurs is officially sanctioned by the racing industry’s governing bodies.
- When placed to the horse’s skin, a jigger delivers an electric shock, producing substantial pain and long-term anguish.
- Use or possession of a jigger is a violation of the rules of racing and an act of cruelty under the provisions of applicable animal welfare legislation.
Despite the fact that these devices are clearly prohibited, some trainers and jockeys continue to use them to compel horses in a desperate attempt to win races despite the fact that they are clearly illegal.
3. Risk of injury and death
During races, training, and trials, racehorses are at danger of injury, with the most common forms of injuries including muscle, bones, tendons, ligaments, and tendons and ligaments. In the case of severe injuries like as fractures and burst ligaments or tendons, which cause pain or discomfort and cannot be cured, euthanasia should be performed immediately. It is also possible for racehorses to die unexpectedly during or after a race. This might be due to heart failure or other reasons, including the disease known as Exercise Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (EIPH), which happens when blood clots form in the lungs as a result of exercise.
- According to two recent studies, there are dangers linked with extremely intense training regimens that include running at high speeds and over extended distances.
- According to the findings of the second study, the risk of muscle and bone injuries increases as the total distance of high-speed exercise (training and racing combined) is increased over time.
- These injuries can include fractures that are repairable and ligament/tendon damage that is not repairable.
- Recent research on Australian racing thoroughbreds discovered a relatively high occurrence of bone damage and exhaustion, particularly in older horses with a lengthy history of racing and training under their belts.
- Because the racing industry does not compile information on racehorse injuries and deaths, it is impossible to obtain an accurate estimate of the total number of injuries.
4. Administration of banned substances (doping)
Against the fact that it is prohibited, some trainers and/or owners have used ‘doping’ of horses to improve their horses’ performance despite the law. Racing stewards conduct random testing on horses, with severe fines for those who fail to comply, yet this does not discourage some trainers from using their animals. Among the prohibited or unregistered substances include unregistered veterinary chemical products, limited prescription drugs (whether veterinary or human medicines) that have not been properly provided and labeled, as well as any other chemicals or items that have been used unlawfully.
For example, a recent research discovered severe hazards associated with the abuse of cobalt in racehorses, including thickening of the blood as well as heart and nerve disorders in the horses.
In recent years, there have been several reports of illicit cobalt usage in the Australian racing sector. To dissuade ‘doping,’ the racing industry must conduct more rigorous testing and inflict stiffer fines than they already do.
5. Racing immature horses
Horses begin training as one-year-olds in order to compete in races for two-year-olds the following year. Shin soreness is a common cause of lameness in two-year-old racehorses, and quick track training significantly increases the likelihood of damage in these animals. A number of other studies have demonstrated that low-level training of young horses can help condition immature bones, reducing the likelihood of damage. Training techniques, on the other hand, are not specified, and trainers are free to impose plans that may be excessively demanding for certain younger horses.
6. Jumps racing
Jumps racing is characterized by horses racing at high speeds over long distances (at least 2.8 km) and through a variety of obstacles. Steeplechase races and hurdles races are the two main varieties of jumps racing, with the latter often taking place over longer distances and incorporating higher obstacles than hurdles races. Racing SA has announced that jumps races would no longer be contested in South Australia from 2022, making Victoria and Tasmania the only states that allow jumps racing to take place.
According to industry estimates, the real death toll is greater since industry figures on deaths that occur during training and trials are not made publicly available.
Jumps racing was outlawed in New South Wales in 1997, and the RSPCA is strongly in favor of a similar prohibition in Victoria.
7. Lack of enforceable standards
For racehorses, there are no statutory welfare regulations in place. Therefore, legal protection is confined to the very minimum criteria set forth in state-based animal welfare laws, if any. There are specific animal welfare requirements that must be followed in other sectors where animals are utilized, such as farming and animal research, and these standards must be followed. The RSPCA thinks that the introduction of legislative welfare requirements for racehorses, in order to eradicate activities that cause damage, pain, suffering, or distress, should be a top priority for the federal government.
8. Inadequate regulation
The horse racing business, in terms of animal welfare, is primarily self-governing, with state-based racing authorities serving as the primary regulators. When self-regulation occurs, particularly in the lack of acceptable norms, there are questions about the effectiveness of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Unfortunately, without independent inspections, serious welfare problems might go unnoticed for long periods of time. Furthermore, incentives such as boosting the prize money for two-year-old races might stimulate more intense training of juvenile horses, which may result in an increase in injuries as a result of the increased competition.
The RSPCA argues for the total regulation of all horse racing by an independent authority that maintains a formal and complete separation between the integrity and regulatory responsibilities of the sport and the commercial purposes of the sport itself.
9. Lack of industry transparency
It is critical that the horse racing business collects and makes available important data that has an impact on the welfare of horses. Inadequate information exists concerning the real type and extent of horse injuries and deaths, which has an impact on the rate of “wastage” and the fate of racehorses. Before such data is accessible, the industry will not be motivated or obligated to take action to enhance welfare in these specific sectors. In the meanwhile,
AV Morrice-West, PL Hitchens, EA Walmsley, and colleagues (2019) Thoroughbred racehorses in Victoria, Australia, are subjected to a variety of training procedures, including speed and distance. Equine Veterinary Journal, Volume 52, Number 1. (2). Crawford, KL, Ahern, BJ, Perkins, NR, et al. Crawford, KL, Ahern, BJ, et al (2020) A systemic review and meta-analysis of the available literature were conducted to determine the influence of combined training and racing high-speed exercise history on the development of musculoskeletal ailments in Thoroughbred racehorses.
- 10, no.
- Hassan, M.
- The Australian Veterinary Journal, volume 95, pages 362-369.
Why Horse Racing is Cruel and Needs to End
While the death toll at Santa Anita was not unprecedented — the track has averaged 50 dead horses per year since 2007, for example — what was different was the intense media spotlight that was shone on the business. This extraordinary level of attention provided us activists with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our case. It has been far too long since horse racing was given cover under the banner of sport — indeed, under the moniker “The Sport of Kings” — when, when stripped down to its essentials, it is nothing more than an archaic, largely unprofitable gambling industry that exploits, abuses and kills sentient beings on an ongoing basis.
- Horseracing Mistakes is the source of this information.
- Starting from there, he must grind nonstop on an unformed skeleton in order to earn his keep.
- His life is spent cooped up in a 12×12 stall for over 23 hours a day, commodified (lip tattoos, auctions, “claims races”), regulated (cribbing collars, nose chains, tongue restraints), and cowed by his captors (whips).
- Only since 2014, Horseracing Wrongs has recorded almost 5,000 proven horse racing fatalities on U.S.
- Every year, we estimate that approximately 2,000 horses are murdered while racing or training across the United States.
- Cardiac collapse, pulmonary bleeding, blunt-force head trauma, severed spinal cords, torn ligaments, and broken legs are all examples of what happens when someone is hit by a car.
- However, even if the figure of 2,000 is stunning, it only conveys a portion of the tale.
Horseracing Mistakes is the source of this information.
We have numbers to draw conclusions from, even while the business urgently seeks to downplay the scope of the problem by cunningly flashing its zero-tolerance rules in defense of itself.
territory closed in 2007; now we just export them to Canada and Mexico, which is a catastrophe in itself).
According to a report conducted by the “Wild for Life Foundation,” Thoroughbred horses accounted for nearly one-fifth of all horses slain between 2002 and 2010.
For instance, the Jockey Club’s official registration for young Thoroughbreds, referred to as the “Foal Crop” in a revealing bit of terminology, has had a total of around 21,000 entries in each of the last seven years.
In other words, slaughter has been – and continues to be – the principal means of disposing of racehorses that have reached the end of their careers or are simply no longer needed.
Horse racing, as a spectator sport, is in decline and has been for quite some time.
What is even more significant is that the majority of the racing sector is heavily subsidized, with many tracks relying only on slot machine and other gambling income to keep their doors open.
As a result of industry threats of job loss and “tradition,” politicians continue to send lifeboats, which is not only an affront to our free-market ideals, but also allows for the continuous mistreatment and slaughter of horses in the process.
Sensibilities toward animal exploitation, particularly in the context of entertainment, are fast developing in our society.
Consequently, the issue becomes: why should horse racing be excluded from this rule?
Put an end to the brutality.
Put an end to horse racing.
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Is Horse Racing Cruel?
Despite the fact that horse racing has been around for a long time, horrible incidents in recent years have compelled many of us to take a deeper look at this long-standing practice. We’ve all seen the cheerful people gathered around tracks that appear to be in perfect condition. We are aware of the economic benefits of hosting these big-scale events, and we are also aware that the sport gives a great number of job opportunities. But, even with all of the large expensive hats and mint juleps, it’s hard to ignore the fact that horse racing has a darker side than it appears.
There are two sides to every discussion, and this one is no exception.
The Economic Advantages
Horse tracks, as well as the horse racing business in general, have a significant economic impact when viewed just from a financial perspective. According to data provided by the American Horse Council Foundation in 2017, racing is the largest economically stimulating area of the horse business (together with recreation, racing, competition, and working horses), and it also generates the greatest number of employment. Race tracks attract tourists to their tiny settlements, and in some cases, the training and breeding of race horses is the primary source of income.
With legal gambling, both offline and online betting are popular at horse racing events, and they also present opportunity for individuals to benefit from their investments.
Does Money Matter?
When you look at the figures, it appears that the horse racing industry is a profitable and advantageous endeavor. It is customary for racing enthusiasts to bring up money as the first issue in their defense of the sport. And while money will always be a factor, it does not factor into the most crucial question: Is horse racing cruel to the horses? Horse racing has a significant impact on the economy, that is undeniable. However, it is the horses themselves that bear the brunt of the damage. In discussing the possibility of animal cruelty in sports, we should keep it as our primary point of reference.
How Horses Are Treated
It’s hard to make a blanket statement about how every single racing horse is treated since every single horse is different. Every player, from small-town rookies to the most well-known personalities in the sport, will have a mix of good and terrible moments. According to horse breeder and trainer Larry Smith, “racehorses often enjoy pleasant lives,” which he argues in justification of horseracing. He even goes so far as to claim that their lives are “idyllic,” thanks to the presence of people who care about them, well-balanced meals, and physical activity that they like.
We all know how much horse enthusiasts care for their horses, yet greed is a strong feeling.
Race horses are sometimes regarded as money-making machines rather than live beings deserving of sympathy and respect.
Several of them begin racing when they are just two years old, while their bones are still developing. When they reach the point of complete exhaustion, they are pushed beyond the boundaries of what is considered compassionate treatment of animals.
The Use of Drugs in the Horse Racing Industry
When debating whether or not horse racing is cruel, the topic of drugs has always been a major point of contention. It is routine practice for trainers and vets to inject medicines into horses in order to keep them on the track. Lasix is the name of one of the most often prescribed medications. During severe exertion, this diuretic is intended to prevent pulmonary bleeding in the lungs from occurring. Because of this, the horse is able to continue running even when their body is practically shutting down.
- However, the fact that this type of medication is required is a testament to how stressed racing horses are in reality.
- Lasix is only one of the several medications that are commonly administered into racehorses.
- In order to control and police the usage of some performance-enhancing medications, the industry has taken efforts to do so.
- However, there is a lack of enforcement, as well as reports of authorities receiving payments in order to cover up illicit activities that endanger horses.
Even before they reach the age of two years, horses must undergo a tough training regimen. A typical occurrence is horse injury, and many horses do not even make it to their first race. Nonetheless, just like with horse therapy, training will always be dependent on the individual doing the training. Some training methods are regarded appropriate and compassionate, while others are thought to be on the verge of being abusive and harsh. There is a widespread problem with cruel horse training, and it is not limited to the horse racing business.
To make matters worse, the line between abuse and successful training is often fuzzy at best.
However, there are certain practices that have been in use for centuries that are just now being recognized as abusive by the public.
It’s difficult to determine if a horse galloped quickly because he wanted to, or because he was frightened he wouldn’t be able to if he didn’t.
We can’t have a meaningful discussion about whether or not horse racing is cruel without taking into consideration the number of horses who die. It was reported in the New York Times that roughly ten racing horses died per week at American racetracks in the year 2018. That number has always been far greater than what any horse enthusiast would consider acceptable. And, as a result of the recent spike in fatalities at the world-renowned Santa Anita racecourse, the rest of the globe is taking note.
Despite the fact that it prompted an inquiry, it was not enough to put a permanent end to the races.
Horses trip and fall during races, which is an undesirable yet typical event. In the majority of these fatal events, a privacy screen is rolled onto the track and the horse is euthanized where it was struck by the privacy screen.
A Racehorse’s Future
The horse racing business is responsible for a number of deaths, not only those occurring on the track. Every year, thousands of thoroughbred horses are shipped to slaughterhouses for meat. According to Forbes, more than 10,000 racehorses are exported out of the nation each year, where they are slaughtered and sold for meat. These include yearlings that are deemed too sluggish to continue training, competitors who do not earn enough money in the form of prize money, and even retired victors. It has been reported by BloodHorse that even Kentucky Derby winners are not exempt from the slaughterhouse.
- It’s important to note that not every racehorse’s career ends in slaughter.
- Others are able to have comfortable retirements even after they have been employed as breeding stock.
- Is horse racing cruel to the horses?
- Should racing be outlawed completely, or do stricter restrictions just need to be implemented?
Is Horse Racing Cruel?
Horse racing is a very contentious issue in the equestrian and animal rights communities, and it is not without reason. Protests against the industry’s debatable methods have erupted in cities throughout the world, with many pushing for significant reforms in the way racehorses are treated. Considering that animal welfare is becoming increasingly essential in today’s world, the subject of whether horse racing is cruel has arisen. Horse racing straddles the line between being humanitarian and being cruel.
Several horse racing regulating organizations and stakeholders maintain that racehorses are treated decently and have luxury lifestyles in the sport they love.
The general public, animal welfare organizations, and scientists, on the other hand, are strongly opposed to almost all elements of horse racing.
PETA stresses the high mortality toll of horses in horse racing in their campaign against cruelty, as well as the fact that the animals are sometimes compelled to race even when they are physically or psychologically unable to do so.
Do Racehorses Suffer?
It seems like every day, new articles and viewpoints are published on the quality of life that racehorses lead. In the opinion of many specialists who are involved in their breeding and training, such asLarry Smith, the horses often lead happy lives. Others claim that racehorses are pushed to their limits, abused, and used for profit on a daily basis in the name of profit. However, while not all racehorses are harmed, episodes of suffering are unavoidable in the horse racing industry. Galloping at high speeds is a strenuous exercise that entails a significant risk of damage, trauma, and death because to the high speeds involved.
- This is done in order to prepare the horses for racing as two-year-olds the following year, which will take place in the spring.
- Shutterstock.com user gabriel12 contributed this image.
- According to a research published in the Practical Anatomy and Propaedeutic of the Horse, while this is true for the horse’s height, the horse’s skeleton will not be fully develop until the horse is 6 to 9 years old, depending on the breed.
- A research done in Victoria, Australia, according to World Animal Protection’s horse racing article, revealed a horse death rate of one horse for every 1,000 horses who competed in the race.
The Dark Side Of Horse Racing
Horse racing has a darker side that is rarely discussed in the media, hidden under the glitz and glam that we see on the surface of the sport. It is critical to promote public awareness of horse welfare concerns in order to bring about change in the near future.
In horse racing, doping is the use of forbidden medicines to improve the performance of horses during a competition. It is unjust to the other competitors, and it poses considerable threats to the horse’s overall health and well-being. Doping in horse racing has been a problem for many years, and some trainers continue to use illicit substances despite the fact that they are subject to severe fines. Numerous medications function by temporarily masking pain in order to keep the horse working, hence removing the body’s natural defense against harm.
In spite of the fact that random drug testing is now routinely performed at every racing track, tighter restrictions and punishments are required to prevent the usage of illicit narcotics on the track.
For example, furosemide (Lasix), which is administered 4 hours before a race to reduce pulmonary hemorrhage, is an excellent illustration.
Due to the fact that this artificially permits horses suffering from EIPH (Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) to race, most countries throughout the world prohibit this practice.
Unnatural Living Conditions
The life of a racehorse in a high-end training facility may look opulent at first glance, but this is far from the truth. Horses in the wild wander wide-open expanses as part of a herd and graze for 16 to 18 hours a day, depending on the season. Racehorses, on the other hand, are kept in isolated stables with limited access to fields owing to the risk of harming themselves. Photograph by Mick Atkins / Shutterstock.com Naturally, there are always outliers, but this is standard procedure throughout the racing industry as a general rule.
These are aberrant, recurrent actions that result from stress and irritation and can be detrimental to the horse’s health and well-being.
Because their normal diet consists primarily on high-fiber forage, ingesting an excessive amount of concentrate causes stomach ulcers to form.
Racing of Immature Horses
According to the previous paragraph, racehorses begin training under saddle when they are just a year old. The unfortunate reality is that yearlings are not yet mature enough to handle such intense training, and many will not make it to their first race. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, scientific data shows that flat racing significantly increases the risk of damage and lameness in young race horses. An alternative opinion is that juvenile bones require conditioning to lessen the danger of damage later in the horse’s life, but that conditioning should be limited to mild labor in order to avoid overtraining.
It is not uncommon for fatal injuries to occur during horse racing, which is a demanding activity. The New York Times estimated in 2018 that around ten racehorses perished each week at US racetracks throughout the course of the year. While flat racing is perilous enough, the mortality toll associated with jump racing is far higher than that of flat racing. Unfortunately, it is normal for horses to trip or fall while competing in a racing event. A misstep may have fatal implications for both the horse and the jockey when traveling at high speeds.
Photograph by Mick Atkins / Shutterstock.com Heart failure or EIPH can also cause racehorses to collapse abruptly during a race, which can be fatal.
The fate of ex-racehorses
According to the RSPCApointed, in order to enhance the likelihood of obtaining a winner, breeders must raise a large number of racehorses each year. Nevertheless, only a small percentage of them will go on to have racing careers, since children who are too sluggish to compete are discarded as “wastage.” Forbes estimates that approximately 10,000 racehorses are exported from the United States each year to be slaughtered for meat consumption. This devasting statistic comprises yearlings, failed runners, and even winners who do not make it as a breeding animal in the racing industry.
Take, for example, Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner who went on to earn the Horse of the Year award in 1987.
Having said that, some racehorses are fortunate enough to be adopted by loving families after their racing careers have come to an end.
However, because these shelters rely on contributions to preserve horses, they are unable to provide a happy ending to every racehorse that comes into their care.
Painful Racing Aids
Whips are already a contentious topic in horse racing, but there are other racing aids that may cause agony to animals as well as whips. A tongue tie is used by some trainers to keep their horses’ tongues from placing their mouth over the bit or choking on it during a race. These are often nylon or elastic straps that are used to secure the tongue to the lower jaw in order to maintain it in position. The use of tongue ties to improve a horse’s performance is a frequent and uncontrolled technique that has become increasingly popular.
courtesy of Dziurek / Shutterstock.com The use of spurs is also permitted in horse racing, however riders seldom do so because their heels make little contact with the horse’s side.
Despite the fact that it is illegal, some jockeys continue to utilize the “jigger” to force their horses out of the starting gate.
Do Horses Like Racing?
Although certain horse racing procedures may be dubious, horses appear to enjoy the actual act of racing themselves. Many trainers and jockeys assert that they do, citing the fact that it is a natural activity and that racehorses frequently continue to gallop even when not ridden. It’s probable that some horses enjoy competing and winning in races. As with people, horses have personalities, and some are more competitive than others, just as with people. If a horse does not want to race, according to the British Horse Racing Association, it will not do so.
On the other hand, it is true that many handlers are sometimes required to pull a horse into the starting gate, which shows that the animal is being forced to compete against its will.
Is Horse Riding a Vegan Activity?
Do They Whip Horses In Racing?
When horses are racing, jockeys whip them in order to promote greater performance and boost their chances of winning. There are rules in several nations about how many times a jockey can whip a horse during a race, including the United States. Horse racing whips are now a heated subject, with numerous groups advocating for their full abolition from all forms of competition. According to the RPCA, the influence of whips on a horse’s performance is negligible when compared to the effects of genetics, training, and the jockey’s skill on the animal.
Kirrilly Thompson and Paul McGreevy.
The researchers compared races with and without whips and discovered that there was no difference in race timings or rider safety. Should the use of whips in horse racing be prohibited on a permanent basis? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
How Many Times Are Jockeys Allowed To Whip?
In Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Germany, there is a restriction to the number of times a jockey is permitted to whip a horse throughout the course of a race. In the United Kingdom, jockeys are allowed to whip a horse seven times with their hands off the reins in a flat race and eight times in a jump race with their hands off the reins. In horse racing, on the other hand, there is no restriction to the number of times a horse’s shoulder can be struck. The majority of the United States has not yet implemented a clear limit on the number of whips that can be used.
6 Ways Horse Racing Could Improve
Horse racing is not always a hopeless endeavor. There are a variety of methods in which the industry may develop and make the sport more acceptable to the general public.
1. Regulation by an independent body
In accordance with the RSPCA’s definition, horse racing has always established its own standards, defining what is acceptable and what is not. This might create difficulties in terms of properly monitoring and enforcing the regulations. Independent inspectors are urgently required to discover instances in which the wellbeing of the horses is being jeopardized, according to the World Horse Welfare Organization.
2. Ban on the use of harmful devices and medication
In addition to enhancing the welfare of racehorses, prohibiting the use of whips, spurs, tongue ties, and other painful equipment would be a significant step forward. Veterinary professionals must also be on board with the practice of not giving pain-masking medications to horses.
3. Ban on two-year-old races
It should go without saying that racing young horses is inappropriate and should be prohibited from the racing business altogether. Increased working life for racehorses and a considerable reduction in suffering might be achieved by allowing them an additional year to develop. Additionally, veterinary checkups should be made essential prior to the beginning of a young horse’s training.
4. Legal welfare standards
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA), there are no official horse care regulations in the racing business. In contrast, other sectors where horses are used, such as farming and research, are subject to strict animal care standards that must be followed. Legal welfare criteria for racehorses must be established by the government in order to put an end to detrimental behaviors.
5. A clearly outlined path for retired racehorses
The horrible situation that most ex-racehorses are doomed to endure is just intolerable. The racing business must accept responsibility and provide an alternate livelihood for horses that are deemed unsuitable to compete in races. In order to improve animal welfare in the racing business, it is also necessary to minimize the number of racehorses that are bred each year.
Earlier last year, the RSPCA urged for greater general openness in the racing business.
Injury and mortality statistics, as well as information on the life cycle of each racehorse, must be gathered and made publicly available. This would encourage the racing business to make improvements to the welfare of its horses as a result.
Advantages of Horse Racing
The RSPCA has advocated for greater general openness in the racing business in its recent statement. Injury and mortality statistics, as well as information on the life cycle of each racehorse, must be compiled and made available to the public. In order to enhance the wellbeing of its horses, this would motivate the racing business.