The Wrongs

Horseracing Wrongs

The Pounding of Unformed Bodies: The typical horse does not reach full musculoskeletal maturity till around six; the typical racehorse begins “training” at 18 months and is raced at two – or the rough equivalent of a kindergartner.

The Extreme Confinement: Most active racehorses are kept isolated in small stalls 23 hours a day, making a mockery of the industry claim that their horses are born to run, love to run. No affection, no stimulation – just an existence.

The Commodification: Most racehorses are bought and sold several times over during the course of their “careers” – traded and treated like common Amazon products.

The Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are injected with various drugs – some legal, some not – with a singular goal: to keep them running, even through pain and injury.

The Whipping: What happens openly at the track would qualify as animal cruelty if done to our pets. What’s more, in what other sport do lashes provide the motivation?

The Killing: Horseracing Wrongs estimates that upwards of 2,000 horses die while racing or training on American racetracks annually.

The Slaughtering: Although the industry downplays the extent of the problem, the prevailing wisdom is that most “retired” American racehorses are bled-out and butchered in foreign abattoirs. One final profit on their heads.

– Patrick Battuello


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  1. And let’s not forget another byproduct of breeding for the horse racing industry. If not rescued, nurse mare foals are killed or sold for meat.. Torn from their mother right after birth so mom can nurse a high money foal instead of her own. Check this rescue, New Beginnings, and their informatioal video, a work in progress…

    • “nurse mares” and “nurse mare foals” is nothing but poppycock and marketing to sell foals. The people that I’ve personally known that have had their mares die during foaling have had to search high & low to find a nurse mare for the surviving foal. There certainly aren’t hundreds of them as you are led to believe and no one in their right mind would want a “nurse mare” just to nurse their “high dollar foal” so that their “high dollar mare” can go back to the breeding shed. My mares have gone to the breeding shed with their foals right by their sides to some of the best breeding farms in Kentucky and New York. The foals are only left for a few minutes in a stall with a person or two.

      • Actually Kathryn I had a friend in lexington who breeds these mares, it is a thriving industry, and the foals are raised as orphans,many go to slaughter.

      • I own a nurse mare orphan. Snatched from his mother at 2 days old and left to die so his mother could raise a Thorobred mares foal so she could be sent off to be rebred. The Jockey Club requires a live cover in order to register.

      • Lynn Saucier: You are correct that the Jockey Club requires live cover in order to register the resulting foal, I have yet to meet a breeder of Thoroughbreds that doesn’t leave the foal alone for an hour or two while the mare is rebred. You want the foal to pick up the qualities of the dam. Why do you think the breeders care so much about the pedigree of the dams? the second dams? the third and fourth dams? And then let some other mare raise the baby who has her own quirks and behaviors? That makes absolutely no sense. I don’t doubt that you own a “nurse mare orphan”; a foal raised “snatched” from it’s mother so that it’s owner could separate you from your purse strings or a foal that’s mother died. But a foal that was separated permanently from it’s mother so that it’s mother could be sent off to be rebred because the Jockey Club requires a live cover? That just isn’t true. And the Thoroughbred breeding farms, especially in Kentucky have an open door policy to prove it.

  2. Thanks for all the good work. Some day, we can only hope the horse rescue folks will join with those who work to ban OTHER horse-abusive activities–rodeos, horse tripping, even bull fighting where often a horse is gored as someone who needs an ego boost puts his (or the horse he’s borrowed/rented) in harm’s way. We MUST join our ranks to stop horse abuse at all levels.

    • Who is this friend, Valerie Buck? I find this interesting since one of my friends living in Lexington couldn’t find a “nurse mare”. Thankfully, she finally found a mare that had lost her foal. She leased the mare & ultimately bought her. I would be interested to know who actually uses these mares? Most of the big breeding farms in Kentucky have opened their doors to prove that they DON’T use “nurse mares” to raise their foals.

  3. You left out cruelly taken to slaughter.
    It’s always cruelty. There is nothing but cruelty when they leave with these killers.
    It makes me so angry to think that these horses are pampered and beautifully presented-always-untill they send it to slaughter.

  4. This is so sad. We use the word human and humane all the time. I was born in Canada on P.E.I. They are so famous for their horse racing. Canada also kills the baby seals by hitting them on their heads by the thousands. I think they should all stop using the term “humane treatment’. We puts our elders in the hands of others because we care only for what we need. Most people don’t think about what doesn’t touch them personally or for some gain. I’m not overly religious but as I age I often wonder ARE WE LIVING A TEST HERE ON EARTH. If this is a test, I feel NOT MANY OF US WILL PASS . WE WON’T KNOW WHAT our mayor is or if we get a passing grade. WE WILL GO TOO TIL IT MAY BE TOO LATE. Life may be the school and graduation is not a given. You could go on and on how we treat all living things. If there is a God will he really forgive us for constantly doing what we know is so truly wrong. gail

    • There are plenty of abusive things in this country that are legal simply because they bring in money. This truly is animal abuse and yet most people don’t think of it that way. It is easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of going to the tracks during the summer. Day drinking with your friends isn’t as fun once everyone becomes aware that they’ve just witnessed a murder in broad daylight, so these death reports tend to fall on deaf ears. The best thing we can do is create awareness (in a positive or neutral way- people stop listening if you get too angry), and support the rescue organizations, and of course boycott the races!

    • Because it makes money for government, which makes it no different to alcohol or cigarettes making money for government

    • Are you serious? What a stupid statement. Abuse IS illegal – but the system won’t follow through with fines and jail sentences most of the time. Besides this abuse is well hidden until another horse dies violently on the track. Then people get in an up roar and are horrified at the scene but they are right there again at the next race spending their $$ on bets. Too bad there isn’t even half as much $$ donated to clean up this “sport” but then, it’s only a horse, right?

  5. There are a lot of upper dressage horses and competition event horses that aren’t turned out every day either. They live in their stalls 23 out of 24 hours a day as well. A great many race horses, dressage horses and competition race horses live very well; better lives than we do. Pampered, groomed and loved.

      • We are all entitled to our opinions. It’s not necessary to insult some one because they don’t agree with you.

      • Kathryn,

        You aren’t delusional, this site is the blind leading the blind, or people with an ax to grind, it’s unfortunate but this is the world we live in…

      • Thank you Charles. I personally know of several trainers, grooms, and breeders that love their horses; don’t use drugs and when it comes time to retire, the horses find wonderful homes. There are indeed bad apples in every sport. I don’t know why they don’t applaud the good ones but instead focus only on the bad.

  6. Who cares who eats meat or fish? I certainly don’t care. People’s diet is their own business and not eating or eating red meat is not a disgrace….whether you think so or not. And if one thinks because they are vegetarians because of the meat industry…guess what, it means nothing. If it did things would have changed in that industry. Besides there is plenty of way to obtain good clean meat without buying industry meat. One way is growing it yourself. Quit trying to make people feel bad because they eat meat, oh, and guess what many people are disgusted by those who are vegetarians…not because they are vegetarians but because they generally act superior than those who do eat meat.

    And before any one makes a typical rude comment, I rarely eat meat but do from time to time.

  7. Horseracing.. the mustangs of the west being rounded up and kept in hot. dry pens.. in summer and suffer with the cold winds of winter,, or sold at auction the premarin mares that are tied up and urine collected for womens medication for menopause and the babies of these mares killed because they are not necessary.. what of the show horses. in every area of horses there are those that do not make the cut and go to mexico or canada to be served on someones dinner plate.. so let us all try to save those as well. and remember 150,000 went that route last year.

  8. You are right. I worked with standardbreds- we went to track a 5 years, to get them used to the chaotic experience, and t- breds who went to trainer at 1 year. We never used drugs. They were loved, and fed like the athletes they were. Do you know what it is like to go to an unheated barn 7 days a week a several years? ask me anything. I loved the work. I worked with mares and foals.
    I hate racing.

  9. Patrick, I asked what you think should be done with the hundred thousand plus thoroughbreds if racing shuts down…your answer was “take care of them” and end breeding….I was kind of hoping for a little less generic answer than that….really, for as educated and knowledgeable as you are, thats all you could come up with?? Lol!! ..your opposed to show jumping, polo, dressage, breeding…these are all second careers for thoroughbreds. you want to eliminate what most racehorses do after racing?? So basically euthanasia is your answer…..

    • “take care of them” and end breeding.” is a perfectly reasonable response.
      Few horses care about the “second careers”.
      They would have opted out of their first careers had anyone explained the risks.
      Putting someone at terrible risk to win a bet is not sporting.
      It’s a 1% move.
      No one’s suggesting euthanasia (I hope) but we do have to break the cycle.
      “take care of them” and end breeding.” is a perfectly reasonable response.

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