Thoroughbred aftercare: a new legacy for Barbaro

Ray Paulick writes the following in a post for the Paulick Report:

On Friday, I suggested that time is running out for the industry to act on the long-neglected issue of Thoroughbred aftercare. On almost a weekly basis, our industry is being smeared, deservedly or not, by heartless cruelty to horses by what I can only say are evil people.

The new world of instant communications and social networking spreads these stories like a fast-moving virus, and whether or not the Thoroughbred industry is at fault, all of us are cast in a shadow. Thoroughbred racing is, like it or not, a poster child for the equine world. The lack of response to animal welfare crises from the Thoroughbred industry, borne out of resistance to collaboration or centralization, only makes these matters worse. Our image is getting killed, because people everywhere love horses, and the message we are sending them is, “We don’t really care.”

Paulick is the one who broke the story that went viral about Kelsey Lefever, the Pennsylvania woman who reportedly sent Thoroughbred racehorses to slaughter instead of rehoming them as she promised their owners she would do.

He adds:

Barbaro Profile

Can Thoroughbred industry leaders stop the abuse of horses or provide for every unwanted equine for the rest of its life? Of course not. But it would be reassuring for the industry to have a program that says, “We are doing everything we can.”

Now that would be a great legacy for Barbaro.

Ray Paulick is that rare racing man who speaks out against racehorse abuse and slaughter, and we are grateful for his voice.

A big reason the public feel negatively about the Thoroughbred industry is highlighted by the very story that Paulick broke.

Where were the spokespersons for the major horse racing organizations, of which there are so many who make money off the backs of these horses, stating their outrage and denouncing what Lefever did? There were none to be heard that we came across.

The reason for this appears to us — and most likely to quite a few others — that it is because these organizations are well aware that Thoroughbreds are routinely sent to slaughter, backhanded or otherwise, and simply condone it.

In my opinion, central to it all is the way the horse racing industry generally thinks about the racehorse. To breeders, agents, owners, trainers and more than a few jockeys, the horses are seen as a commodity, an ego booster, but more than anything else, a money spinner.

In countries where the treatment of Thoroughbreds is at least taken into some sort of consideration, horse racing is doing more than just managing to stay afloat in challenging economic times, it is actually growing.

Read full post at the Paulick Report >>

8 thoughts on “Thoroughbred aftercare: a new legacy for Barbaro”

  1. It’s my belief Barbaro’s life could have been saved if Dr. Richardson (?) had not sought to be a hero! As portrayed on the internet, studs (with similar injuries) have undergone amputation at the hock and replaced with a prosthesis. Not only did they go on to continue to live a contented life, they also retained the ability to cover a mare while standing on this prosthetic hind leg.

    I am irate when I think about the fact neither Barbaro’s owners, nor this vet, ever obtained a second opinion. It will forever haunt me Barbaro’s insurance money was the primary reason.

    Just my thoughts…..


  2. Excessive breeding despite the recession, breeding incentives and tax write-offs offered by the US government = market saturation.

    Market saturation then needs something to clean it up. Enter horse slaughter.

    And this is only the tip of the iceberg in the corrupt industry of horse racing. There are so many wrongs about it can they ever make it right??? Doubtful.

    And they say there are “good” people in racing. Well, given the number of cast-offs that end up in the slaughter pipeline or who are literally trained and worked to death under the influence of pain numbing drugs there seem to be a lot more of the bad variety.

    Greed in its most despicable form…at the expense of the innocent.



  3. Let us not ever forget the tragedy of EIGHT Bells, Ferdinand and who knows how many more The Horse Racing Industry needs to man up on aftercare for thoroughbreds , they must take notice of the TRAGIC End that the thoroughbred is destined for without some great huge changes , there are many ways to correct this, Racing cannot survive on the i dont care attitude, right now we can say that Racing is truly doomed without making some much needed changes in their structure , people are now in the know of whats going on , you cannot in all fairness to the Horse for all he does at the Track for his OWNERS, BUT PROVIDE FOR HIM AFTER HIS CAREER HAS ENDED……………………… Must we force them to take the responsibility????????


    1. There are many fallen Arlene, as you say, that made headlines we must never forget. But there are thousands unknown, unheralded and not written about, whose names we will never know, who have gone the brutal and terrifying slaughter route that we must never forget about. Although many excellent suggestions have been made by rescuers and advocates, it is really up to horse racing to find a solution, after all it is their industry not ours, and who to know better than they what programs are relevant and how they should be implemented.


      1. Yes , who would know better then the Industry itself ???? Again I must say that Horse Racing houses cares for and feeds thousands of Horses , where would they all be if not for Racing, I have visited many times Thistledown Barns, what I have found was not the best , but i can say that 90 per cent LOVE the horses they Race , they need to provide also protection for them………. after Racing is no longer for them……………………. The is a site that shows every fallen race horse s name and what happened to them, and the Track they were at Racehorse Memorial Wall
        W O R L D W I D E

        Remembering the valiant horses who have perished
        in service to the Sport of Kings

        Since August 2005


        1. But if they didn’t breed so many then there wouldn’t be as many to begin with….thousands of horses that no one would have to worry about since they wouldn’t exist.


          1. LETS GET THE REAL HANDLE ON WHO IS THE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER BREEDING Here are the real culprits of over breeding AQHA, THEY ARE INFAMOUS FOR BREEDING AND ONLY KEEPING 1 OUT OF A HUNDRED , WHERE DO THE REST GO , PERFECTLY WONDERFUL HORSES IN EVERYWAY , YOU GUESSED IT SLAUGHTER, HORSE RACING over breeding does not hold a candle to AQHA….. The AQHA slaughter horses left and right you stop them and the problem is almost nill,


            1. Agreed Arlene, they are definitely the most notorious but the racing industry is guilty as well. That’s all I am saying.


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