After conducting what it calls a “thorough investigation,” the Delaware Racing Commission has cleared the man who repeatedly (four times) punched a horse in the head prior to a race at Delaware Park to return to work, saying “no disciplinary action will be taken.” The Commission claims it conducted interviews with “individuals who are knowledgeable regarding the standard protocols of handling a fractious horse in the starting gate when a horse becomes a danger to the jockey and/or the assistant starter.” In addition, according to DelawareOnline, the Department of Agriculture’s animal-cruelty investigator has also granted full absolution. So, this man will continue working with animals after doing this:
As I’ve oft written, the racehorse is chattel – a piece of movable property. As such, he does not, cannot, have any rights, at least not in any meaningful way. Even when it appears to be egregious abuse (above), the law – in this case, the Racing Commission and Dept of Agriculture – almost invariably defers to “common industry practice.” So what they are saying here is that punching a horse in the head is perfectly acceptable – meets “standard protocols,” is common industry practice – if a human decides said horse is a danger to humans. Further evidence that you can’t fix this vile business. If you truly care about horses, there is only one position to take: Horseracing has to go.