Cruelty Abounds in Horse Racing
In The Journal News:
(Original publication: May 15, 2004)
Though the Kentucky Derby is still a popular draw,
questions are finally being asked about this archaic event, and about horse
racing in general. A recent New York Times article, "Down the stretch they
go, carrying a controversial tool," discussed at length the practice of
whipping horses during a race. I wish it had gone further.
According to an article by Michael Korda in Reader's
Digest, ". . . horse racing is a cutthroat business. The thoroughbred
industry breeds far more animals than it needs, and the only thing that
matters is winning races. That means pushing horses hard when they're still
young, with soft bones, and sometimes continuing to race them even when
they're injured. When animals develop crippling leg problems . . . they can
be sold for between $350 and $500 to the slaughterhouse industry and then
processed into meat." (Oct. 2003)
Trainer Nick Zito says, "They go 45 miles per hour,
weigh 1,000 pounds and have ankles as big as yours and mine." Agrees New
York Daily News racing columnist Bill Finley, "The thoroughbred racehorse is
a genetic mistake. It runs too fast, its frame is too large, and its legs
are far too small. As long as mankind demands that it run at high speeds
under stressful conditions, horses will die at racetracks."
The Bronx Bar Association has sponsored a "Day at the
Races" at Belmont for the last three years; it is currently seriously re-
thinking this sponsorship, having been presented with evidence of the abuses
involved in this cruel and exploitative endeavor.
When profit is involved, the animals always lose.
Kiley Blackman, Yonkers
The writer is spokesperson, Animal Defenders of Westchester.
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