I recently upbraided the HSUS for their position on horseracing (it’s a sport; it’s worth saving) and took some criticism for doing so. But, fortunately, I am not alone. The following comes from renowned advocate (and author of “Saving Baby – How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption”) Jo Anne Normile:
In response to the recent HSUS blog post on horse racing: This disingenuous drivel has so many errors in it, it’s difficult to know where to start.
“The horse-racing industry is plagued with dozens of poorly run and regulated tracks . . .” Are you kidding me? The inference is that they do not want this “plague,” yet they have fought any change in the status quo for over 40 years. Just who do you think brought this “plague” upon these horses? The people in this gambling industry that daily abuse and sacrifice the life and limbs of thousands of sentient beings who cannot even give a whimper to indicate when they are in pain and if they show any signs of not wanting to run faster, they are whipped. How many years of morning training has the HSUS attended? More horses are on the track every morning than on any race-day and there are no rules – any whip goes and they don’t even have to count their injured or dead! Some tracks do not even have a vet on premises, so when a horse breaks a leg training it lies there in agony until a vet can be found.
Drugs? Why are they given the majority of drugs in the first place? Do I have to spell it out? Racing in and of itself is maiming horses, and then ALL tracks, not just the ones cited, continue to race unsound horses until they have to resort to steroid injections into fractured joints, torn tendons and ligaments and painkilling drugs – which then increase the breakdown rate. There’s no chicken or egg theory here. RACING a healthy horse is abusive in and of itself and that’s what causes death or injuries – drugs come after.
Sport? Referring to racing as a sport? Really? True sports do not routinely see their athletes snapping a leg off or lying dead in the dirt, yet it happens in horse racing all the time. And when their careers are over, human athletes are not slaughtered. Yet the HSUS believes racing is a sport? How can that be? Horse racing is a form of gambling, pure and simple. Take away the gambling component and the whole thing collapses. Horse racing has been on the decline for decades. People were so disinterested in attending every-day races that they had to have a federal law passed allowing simulcast gambling across state lines – the only gambling entity allowed to do this. Despite these offsite wagers now comprising 90% of their intake, they began whining about state lotteries and casinos, so then they were allowed to inflate purses with “racino” (mostly slot machines) revenue.
The HSUS should be “putting the horse first.” If they have followed horse racing, then that phrase should sound quite familiar. This very industry they are striving to save made that promise back in 2008 after Eight Belles crossed the finish line in the Kentucky Derby and promptly shattered both front ankles. Millions watched as she pitifully attempted to rise with her nose slammed into the dirt until a screen hid the view. This industry did not keep its promises and the death, destruction and slaughter of these horses has galloped on.
Racing is not a sport. It is a gambling business that uses live animals instead of cards or dice. If the HSUS cared about “putting the horse first,” they would be supporting the “Teller All Gone Horseracing Deregulation Act of 2015″/”Coronado Heights Horseracing Deregulation Act of 2015,” and they would strive to take away slot machines and casino subsidies (that could be going to much-needed education or infrastructure improvements instead of propping up gambling on horses!!). Then, if successful, horse racing will die a slow death – just like so many of its horses currently do.