Columnist takes slippery-slope argument to the extreme

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In writing in support of horse and greyhound racing, Les Muir out of Australia, goes all in on the slippery-slope routine. In his Daily Advertiser column, Muir seems to really believe that if horse racing was banned, bans on all sports would follow.

It’s stunning. I hope he was actually doing some sort of double-reverse tongue-and-cheek.

 

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Yes – Horse racing isn’t fair – to the horses

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So California Chrome’s owner said horse racing’s triple crown system isn’t fair to the horses. And he said the other owners who don’t put their charges in all three races are cowards. Then he sort of apologized to the industry.

Yes – horse racing is not fair – but not in the way this guy suggested.

Horse racing isn’t fair to the thousands of race horses that die every year. It isn’t fair to the horses who have been drugged over the years. It isn’t fair to the horses that are the result of poor breeding practices.

Horse racing isn’t fair to the horses that suffer when they are no longer deemed valuable to the industry and it isn’t fair to the horses that end up being shot in the head by captive bolts in a slaughterhouse somewhere.

 

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The promotion of horse racing is disgusting

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This time year, with the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness coming up, some networks are busy promoting horse racing. Of course, NBC is worst offender, as it televises this nonsense every year.

Thankfully, we are seeing actual news coverage of horse racing. We just action in response to these stories.

Credit goes to the New York Times for being one of the news outlets actually engaging in journalism on this topic. Back on March 24, a story ran under the headline – “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys.”

The subhead read – “The new economics of horse racing are making an always-dangerous game even more so, as lax oversight puts animal and rider at risk.”

The article reports an extremely troubling statistics. An average of 24 horses die at tracks across the US – EACH WEEK!

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ESPN Preakness article is disgustingly typical

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While letting the dogs out to pee this morning, I checked my smart phone for the morning news. On the ESPN website, there was a headline preview for the Preakness horse race.

It seems California Chrome has an illness – turns out to be a blister in his throat. So I clicked on a link to read more. The link took me to a blog post about the so-called Hot List of favorites to win the Preakness.

The writer bemoaned California Chrome’s “dismal time” in Kentucky Derby, but called the rest of the horses a “mediocre bunch at best.” And he casually notes the horse lost 35 pounds in the Derby.

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PETA’s video report on the abuses in horse racing

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PETA released the following report this week, with undercover video concerning the horrors of horse racing. The New York Times focused on the news as well.

When profit motives are mixed with animals – most notably here with animal racing – the outcome is routinely horrible for the animals.

Now is the time to ban horse racing and greyhound racing. For every day that passes, horses and dogs are dying at alarming rates, while countless more are suffering.

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Greyhound and horse breeders mad about proposed cut in subsidies

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Breeders of race horses and greyhounds are mad that they won’t get as much free taxpayer money from the West Virginia lottery, under a new bill. I wonder if putting more of the funds into programs where they should go – for education or mental health programs, etc – seems unfair to these breeders.

The breeders would get 15 percent less in subsidies under the plan. And make no mistake that this is taxpayer funds we’re talking about, even though it’s a voluntary tax through the lottery. State lottery profits should go to programs that benefit people and animals.

The WV Gazette article includes the following:

Racing industry representatives contend the cut would be the final blow to horse and dog racing at the state’s four racetrack casinos.

So the industry can’t exist without the subsidies, funneled away from other programs. And even a 15 percent cut would mean an end to both racing industries; this from the industry insiders.

What does this really mean? It means the general population gets it and fewer and fewer people are gambling on animal races, as they understand the history of abuse. They know race horses have ended up in slaughterhouses and have been found to have been drugged. And they know untold numbers of greyhounds never made it out alive.

If an industry’s business is so bad that it cannot survive without subsidies, it’s time for it to go away. Why would two industries with a history of animal exploitation somehow get this level of government protection? I’m sure other struggling businesses would love to have the government ensure they never fail.

The WV Gazette article notes the racing industry received 87.6 million in Lottery subsidies last year.

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Editorial covers a lot of ground on animal welfare

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An editorial by Peter Fricker, projects and communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society, ran September 8 on the Vancouver Sun website.

Fricker covers a lot of territory on animal-welfare topics, from endangered species to habitat loss to horse racing to factory farming to fur farms to bull fighting. He offers one quote indicating that unlike the extinction of animals over the past history of the Earth, human activity is almost entirely to blame for the current extinction crisis.

Among the terrible statistics he cited is this:

More than 10,000 U.S. thoroughbred horses are shipped annually to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Most of these are young, healthy horses — their racing careers can end at three years old but they can live to 30.

This is a stunning number that outpaces the horrors of the awful greyhound racing industry. The convenient excuse is to claim we have to inflict suffering on animals in vast ways, for financial reasons – or for the jobs the suffering supports.

Is our society still so greedy or in other ways so apathetic that we’re supposed to support cruelty and torture as long as it supplies jobs? We should be at a point – in 2013 – where we’ve advanced beyond this point. But we are not there yet.

I think most people care. But there exist enough greed and apathy and cruelty around us to maintain these industries and entities and to maintain the protection the government is offering them. So horse racing, dog racing, puppy mills and other horrors still exist because too many politicians refuse to put compassion above profit margins.

 

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Two articles – two typical quotes from industry insiders

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One of the common themes from Big Oil and industries that exploit animals are the typical quotes spewed by the insiders when the time comes to defend cases where animals are harmed or die.

After the recent rupture of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas the company put out a written statement concerning the impact of the estimated 84,000 gallons of crude spilled into the area.

One sentence from the statement read –

“The majority of the impacted wildlife has been reptiles, primarily venomous snakes.”

This obviously is wrong, as the oil cannot pick and choose the animals it swamps – and the quote relates to the live animals found. And of course, the statement is meant as propaganda, as if no one would care if snakes were the primary victims. And what? – Were non-venomous snakes somehow spared?

In the UK, horse racing defenders are taking a page out of the greyhound racing industry. Prior to a horse dying after a Grand National race, a jockey was quoted by the Cambridge News as saying the race horses receive better treatment than “many children.”

Animal Aid reports the horse was the 23rd to die during the Grand National since 2000. In the Fox Hunters’ Chase, several horses reported pulled up or fell, described as being “potentially injured.”

So are “many children” forced to race in events such as this. And would a civilized society allow an event go on where 23 kids died over this same time frame, with many more injured?

 

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Oklahoma Governor lifts ban on horse slaughter

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed new legislation Friday to lift the ban on horse slaughter in the state. And the quotes in an Associated Press article show Fallin has a complete lack understanding about this issue and a complete lack of knowledge where animal welfare is concerned.

The Governor is quoted as saying –

“Those of us who care about the wellbeing of horses – and we all should – cannot be satisfied with a status quo that encourages abuse and neglect, or that rewards the potentially inhumane slaughter of animals in foreign countries.”

To suggest that the wellbeing of horses and a change in the status quo should include an inhumane death is wrong on its face. The change should come from those responsible for creating the problem. We should force, for example, the horse racing industry to care from the animals it breeds, until the time of their natural deaths.

We should not allow inhumane slaughter – here or in foreign countries. Yes, horses are suffering and need help, but the solution should not be more suffering.

Once again, we have a politician who desperately wants to let the offenders off the hook, to the detriment of the innocent.

Horse rescue groups might be able to handle the cases where horses become homeless for more legitimate reasons, if not for the numbers who are constantly discarded by entities such as the racing industry.

Horse slaughter does not help horses, it merely adds another layer of profit for a select few – more profit from the suffering of horses.

 

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HBO sued concerning treatment of horses during the filming of the series “Luck”

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Isn’t it bad enough that horses are abused in horse racing? Did a series about horse racing have to go this route – allegedly at least?

A lawsuit charges a number of horses were drugged, underweight and sick during the production of the show. And the Guardian reports this – “” Barbara Casey’s suit filed Monday says she was wrongfully fired from her post at the American Humane Association after complaining about the conditions horses faced on the show … “” And it is claimed that four horses died during the filming.

Maybe we need movie based on the treatment of horses in the racing industry.

The New York Times ArtsBeat blog also has a post about this news.