In a CBS8 news report on a protest on Del Mar’s final day, Joe Harper, club president, said this: “Sometimes I wonder why they’re out there carrying banners when the rest of us are actually doing something about it [the “it” being horses dying] and donating literally millions of dollars for research going to the health of the animal.”
You can’t make this stuff up. (I’ve included the video link below.) By the way, Harper’s assertion that the death number is 15 does not reconcile with his track’s stewards minutes. Going into his interview Monday, 20 had died either on Del Mar grounds or while being prepped off-site for upcoming DM races. And of course Chasing Aces – by many accounts, the most gruesome of the meet – made it 21 that very day.
I’ve long maintained that some within Racing are delusional – really, they see things that just aren’t so. Things like: lashes to the flesh don’t hurt; racehorses – isolated-and-confined-in-tiny-stalls-23-hours-a-day racehorses, drugged-and-doped-without-consent racehorses, bought-sold-traded-and-dumped racehorses – lead better lives than you and me; slaughter is an “animal rights” fantasy, or at the very least doesn’t rise to the level of serious, widespread problem; and, best of all, that what they do is a “sport,” the horses “equine athletes.”
Mr. Harper is either callous and cunning or sad and pathetic. No matter, for his comment reads the same either way. To claim that the very industry abusing and killing horses for profit is doing more for those horses than the volunteer advocates whose only goal is to end the barbarity is, in a word, obscene.
Drop our banners, Mr. Harper? Sure, but you first: Drop your whips, your syringes, your bugles; scrap your “vans”; stop your transport-trucks; shutter your betting-windows. Cease and desist. Then, we won’t be necessary. Until such time, know we’ll be out there – in increasing numbers – educating the masses, making you and your entire vile industry feel more and more uneasy with each passing day.