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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Racing from Another Perspective: Experts' Statements about Racing by Jennifer Hack


"Running comes naturally to horses. It is part of their genetic makeup to flee from what they fear, and for some, it is also a form of play. I donít know anyone who doesnít love to watch a herd of horses running across a field. However, when economic incentives enter the scene, an entertaining sport for horses turns into a cruel activity in which the human turns the horse into a systematically maltreated commodity.

"In the U.S., the 'sport' of horse racing sends thousands of horses who are not fast enough to make the grade to the slaughterhouse. Those who do make it to the track are raced when they are too young, before the growth plates in their joints have closed. This causes injuries and lameness rarely seen in riding horses, especially at such a young age.

"Riding horses are started at 3-4 years of age. Race horses, by comparison, are often started as young as 1.5 years. Riding horses are brought along slowly and with as little stress to their still maturing joints as possible, while race horses are forced to run beyond their limits, stressing their legs and pounding their still developing joints into the ground. The average riding horse is considered 'old' at 18-20 and Thoroughbreds can live to 25, while the average race horse lives only 5-7 years. When the riding horse is just entering his prime, the race horse is ending his career, and possibly his life.

"The fate of thousands of racing horses who have finished their career is one of the major problems of the U.S. equestrian community. There are not enough homes for them all."

Jennifer Hack is Director of Investigations for the United States Equine Rescue League, supervising the investigation and prosecution of cases of cruelty to horses. She has been a riding clinician and judge for nine years, and an equine instructor and trainer for 18 years. As a student, she worked for a member of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team (Lendon Gray). She is an H-A graduate of the United States Pony Club, the highest rating given for teaching, training, and stable management.

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