Published in The Journal News
- 15 May 2004
Letter to the Editor
The Kentucky Derby has come and gone. Though it is
still a popular draw, questions are finally being asked about this archaic
event, and about horseracing in general.
A recent NY Times article entitled DOWN THE STRETCH
THEY GO, CARRYING A CONTROVERSIAL TOOL, discussed at length the practice of
whipping horses during a race. This article basically talked about excessive
use of a whip during a race, and laws that have been enacted in other
countries that address overuse. 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 aren't always put out in
rolling green pastures to recuperate - they can be sold for between $350 and
$500 to the slaughterhouse industry and then processed into meat." (Oct.
Trainer Nick Zito says, "They go 45 miles per hour,
weigh 1000 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.
Tapit trainer Micheal Dickinson admits in the article,
"It's time we came up with a more humane way of doing this." The fact is,
there is no 'more humane way' to force horses or any animals to race each
other; the entire concept should be examined by decent, caring people
everywhere, as something to leave behind us in our evolution as humans. We
should be aghast at the notion of hitting any sentient being in order to
make a buck.
When profit is involved, the animals always lose;
Kiley Blackman, Spokesperson
Animal Defenders of Westchester