The latest Del Mar Minutes are in. While no dead are specifically identified (because California does not require such transparency), the “deceased” tally for the week comes in at four. This presumably includes Unusualy, Alicanto, and All the Marbles – leaving one unnamed. All told, this brings Del Mar ’16 to at least 20 dead racehorses.
week of 7/11/16-7/17/16, “Deceased: 5”
week of 7/18/16-7/24/16, “Deceased: 6”
week of 7/25/16-7/31/16, “Deceased: 1”
week of 8/1/16-8/7/16, “Deceased: 2”
week of 8/8/16-8/14/16, “Deceased: 2”
week of 8/15/16-8/21/16, “Deceased: 4”
A recent San Diego Union-Tribune article points to the various obstacles we anti-racing activists face on a daily basis. First, one from ostensibly our own. The article says that “animal advocates” met with Del Mar officials to air grievances and seek answers. Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana: “We are out here today to ask the board to investigate the reasons for these breakdowns, these injuries and these deaths.” Not only ignorant (“Investigate the reasons”? Do your homework.), but horribly misguided. By reaching out to, and working with, the industry, you validate that industry’s right to exist, making it harder to ultimately bring it down.
Next, an unwitting (or fully witting, it’s hard to say) press allowing itself to be a conduit for industry propaganda: “The board…said it’s already taking steps to prevent the injuries, including adding more personnel to inspect horses and tightening blood screening standards to make sure horses are healthy enough to race.” Look, this is all-too-familiar territory. Every time there is a surge in deaths (or at least what is perceived to be a surge – Del Mar ’15 lost at least 18), the industry responds with assurances of “we’re on this; no stone will be left unturned.” More vets, tighter testing, better surfaces. And yet somehow, the killing continues. Imagine.
Inevitably, too, in the wake of (publicized) dead horses, come execrable quotes from industry VIPs. Del Mar president Joe Harper: “I’m in this business because I love animals. I love horses and believe me when one is injured, we all feel it. And like animal rights folks, we want to find out what we can do to help prevent or at least slow down some of these injuries.”
One, Mr. Harper, you’re most certainly not in this business because you love animals; you’re in this business for business. You can love horses. You can love horseracing. But you can’t love both. Two, and this goes back to Ms. Saldana’s quote, true “animal rights folks” are not at all interested in finding ways to “prevent or at least slow down some of these injuries.” A true animal rights person is only interested in ending your vile business. No “improvements,” no reform – just an end.
Worse, though, is this summation (which I would describe as shocking if not for the fact that, at least for me, Racing’s ability to shock has long since dissipated) from Cliff Goodrich, former president of Santa Anita: “Goodness knows in society there are problems that are unsolvable; this may be one of them.” The this here – the potentially “unsolvable problem” befuddling 21st Century America: killing horses for $2 bets. Sometimes, there are simply no words.
(Due to copyright considerations, I cannot post the picture that accompanied the article. But I encourage you to take a look.)