Why horse racing should be banned
Horses are among the most magnificent animals on Earth. They are very strong, loyal, and sensible creatures. Horses have been a huge help to mankind through transportation.
It seems only natural that their speed is among their greatest attributes, so why should horse racing be banned? Well, though they are very strong and resilient, running until their breaking point may actually kill them(1).
A horse will sacrifice its life without thinking for its mission and purpose, and nowadays, that mission seems to be racing since they aren’t so much needed in transportation anymore.
Racehorses are the victims of a multi-billion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, endless injuries of all sorts, and race fixing, and many horses’ careers end at the slaughterhouse at the end(2).
Horses begin their training or are already racing when their skeletal systems are still growing and thus they are unprepared to handle the pressures of competition, racing on a hard track at high speeds.
One study on injuries at racetracks concluded that one horse in every 22 races will suffer an injury that will prevent them from finishing a race, while another estimated that 3 thoroughbreds die every day in North America because of catastrophic injuries during the race.
Drugs and Deception
Both trainers and veterinarians keep injured horses racing when they should be recovering by providing them a variety of legal drugs to mask pain and control inflammation.
This inevitably leads to breakdowns because horses can continue running when, without the drugs, they wouldn’t even attempt to run due to the unimaginable pain.
These drugs allow horses to run faster and power through the pain. For example, the drug furosemide, popularly known as Lasix, is a performance-enhancing drug cloaked as a therapeutic medication.
For instance, in March 2019, bipartisan U.S. lawmakers introduced a federal bill, the Horseracing Integrity Act – that would create a uniform national standard for drug testing racehorses. The horse racing industry is currently regulated by the states.
Horses get Depressed
Horses are meant to live in herds. In the wild, they run around into large groups. Racehorses, on the other hand, usually live alone in small stalls and only get to go outside for training and races(3).
This means that they never actually get to be free and experience what it’s like to have no strings attached. Most racehorses get depressed after a while and start to refuse to do what they’re told. Most of the time, they will get replaced and most get put down.
For a human, a broken leg is easily treatable, for a racehorse, it is often a death sentence. This is because horses have so little soft tissue in their legs, leaving the bone to tear through the skin or cut off circulation to the rest of the limb, leaving them prone to infection.
In severe cases, the bone shatters, making it nearly impossible to reassemble. Even if the horse’s bone could be set, it wouldn’t be able to support weight for several weeks.
When horses cannot distribute their weight properly, they risk laminitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of tissue inside the hoof. In general, if a horse can’t stand on all four legs on its own, it won’t survive and thus it will be euthanized.
When a horse falls, its jockey is often hurt as well. A 2013 analysis of about five years of California horse racing data showed that 184 jockey injuries were present in 360 reported falls.
Most of the falls occurred during races and were the result of a “catastrophic injury or sudden death of the horse”, the study found.
Even the “Winners” Lose
When horses stop winning races or become injured, few of them are retired to pastures, mainly because owners don’t want to pay for a horse who doesn’t bring in any money(4).
Many of these horses, regardless of their winnings, will eventually end up in slaughterhouses in Canada, Mexico, or Japan, where they are turned into dog food or glue.
Their flesh is also exported to countries such as France and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.
These horses endure days of transport in cramped trailers with no access to water or food, injuries are also common. The slaughter method is the same as in the case of cows.
However, since horses are not accustomed to being herded, once together, they tend to thrash about to avoid being shot by the captive-bolt gun, which is supposed to render them unconscious before their throats are cut.
Did you know?
– Around 24 horses die every week on US racetracks due to injuries.
– Even though horses can live up to 30 years, some of them are sent to slaughterhouses by the age of 5 or 6, just because they lost in the races.
– One racehorse dies less than every 3 days in Australia.