Many people are swept away by the glamour of horse racing, and maybe that’s what keeps them from doing what is right.
I’m referring to those who attended the Kentucky Derby, famous athletes, movie stars, musicians, and captains of industry. So many people turning a blind eye to an industry that destroys the lives of such a majestic animal —the horse.
“As the recent tragedies at race tracks like Santa Anita, CA have illustrated, thoroughbred horse racing in the United States is at a crossroads,” the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita and Pimlico in Baltimore, among other tracks, said in a statement. “The fact that horses running in America are five times more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury than horses running in international venues is unacceptable and must immediately change.”
There were 23 horses who died in recent months at the famous Santa Anita Race Track, but reforms at one track likely won’t be enough to fix the sport’s systemic problems. Did you know that last year, 493 horses died or were euthanized within 72 hours of sustaining a catastrophic race injury? That’s about 10 horses each week. In the last ten years, a total of 6,134 horses have died. That tally doesn’t include deaths from training. Not to mention what happens to these majestic horses once they are done racing…not making money any longer.
Thoroughbreds are freakish athletes with huge, muscular bodies atop thin, sinewy legs and a massive heart that pumps 10 gallons of blood through it all. The average adult human has between a gallon and a half of blood. Susan Stover, a professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said despite the heavy-on-top appearance “thoroughbred racehorses are not inherently weak or highly susceptible to injuries under normal circumstances.” “Just like any other elite athlete that performs an activity at an intense level repetitively, racehorses can incur injuries,” she wrote in an email response to questions. “Racehorses become susceptible to injuries when the intensity of training exceeds the ability of the skeleton to recover from training-induced damage between bouts of exercise.”
It’s sad, just awful
Race-day drugs and the jockey’s whip are horse racing staples receiving new scrutiny. Both are used to drive thoroughbreds — sometimes beyond their physical capabilities — to win. After the 22nd horse death, the Stronach Group announced a unilateral ban on certain drugs and cut in half the allowable day-of-race dosage of Lasix, a diuretic and anti-bleeding medication that also can be used to mask the presence of performance-enhancing drugs. The company also announced limits on whipping, a regulation on hold until the state board adopts similar rules for tracks statewide.
Horses like George and Matt are sent to slaughter after they are no longer racing and making money from this sport. Many more like these two suffer great abuse after being forced to race from a very young age. This is the other side of horse racing no one is really talking about. They need too!
It’s because of people like you we can care for these loving and majestic horses…horses like Matt and George. Ex race horses who were sent to slaughter and suffered by the hand of man for so long. They are now safe, and well cared for each day. George is actually in his mid-thirties and has lived well beyond what anyone had expected.
We love our sweet horses and hope one day others like them won’t have to suffer for a sport that is made out of man making money and pushing their limits well beyond what’s safe and natural.
Consider making a gift today in honor of Matt and George.