I’m watching the TODAY show this morning and the Kentucky Derby is being heavily promoted, as this network and others do every year at this time.
A reporter visited a breeding farm where a handler bragged about how many mares one of the champion stallions breeds with on a regular basis. I didn’t expect a discussion about the underbelly of horse racing and I didn’t expect a discussion of how many ex-racing horses end up dying a horrible death in slaughterhouses each year. How many of the ponies that one horse sires will end up dying, in pursuit of champion racers?
NBC televises the race so I guess they would never consider reporting facts such as this in the lead up to the event. That’s a really sad fact. Profit drives the coverage and hides the inconvenient information behind the cameras.
The International Fund for Horses estimates 65,000 horses, including racehorses, workhorses, wild horses and family horses, are slaughtered each year in the United States. For me, this shows an incredible lack of personal responsibility among the individuals responsible for each of these 65,000 animals.
Whether it’s a racehorse, workhorse or family pet, there is a level of responsibility that comes with them. If these people wanted to relinquish this responsibility prior to the point of the animals’ natural deaths, they had one compassionate option – adopt the horses out to someone else.
Otherwise, they should maintain responsibility for the horses until they pass away from old age or illness. For those in racing – with horses or greyhounds – who can’t assume this lifetime of responsibility, I suggest they get out of the “business.”
In reality, horse and greyhound racing need to be shut down. From the injuries to the deaths to the suffering – the history and the evidence is too extreme.
But the media should take on some of the responsibility and stop promoting horse racing as a legitimate “sport.” As I always note, it would only be a sport if the horses rode on the backs of the jockeys.