Harness Racing Canada

Foals euthanized in Canada as provincial funding of harness racing ends

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From QMI via SimcoReformer.ca

Just born Standardbred foal.
QMI Agency spoke to a number of sources who say breeders are now are euthanizing their foals moments after birth because they fear financial ruin if they have to raise the horses with no chance of recouping their investment. This means heartbroken mares and foals like this one who will never know but a few moments of life.

The decision to end provincial funding for Ontario’s harness racing may kill more than the industry – it’s resulting in the death of an unknown number of this year’s crop of new foals.

QMI Agency spoke to a number of sources who say breeders are now are euthanizing their foals moments after birth because they fear financial ruin if they have to raise the horses with no chance of recouping their investment.

The practice is happening because of the cost of raising horses, which can approach $10,000 — not including stud fees which range between $2,500 and $20,000.

Standardbred Canada Registrar Pat Kennedy said her organization’s figures show 130 stallions bred nearly 4,000 mares in Ontario. The number of foals resulting is estimated to be in the 70% range, meaning 3,000 births this year.

She said the crisis means owners may not breed mares, nor register them.

A local horse owner who asked not to be identified, said euthanizing healthy foals began at the start of the birthing season — about a month ago. Continue reading >>

Photo Source: Google image via Tumblr. Not filed with original story.


Follow the cash, follow the blood: Horse racing in Canada“, by Cynthia D’Errico >>

24 thoughts on “Foals euthanized in Canada as provincial funding of harness racing ends”

  1. Relative to The Toronto Sun article:How can that breeder suggest that ‘he never saw this coming’? The same thing happened in 2008 and 2009 when harness racing fell apart in QC due to Attractions’ Hippiques (owned by Senator Paul Massicotte) greed, SONACC’s reneging on its deal with horse owners, and the government also refusing to help (although it had been financially buttressing the Senator’s company for some years). Hundreds of young Standardbreds went to slaughter. Could this Ontario breeder not see the writing on the wall and act to protect his horses accordingly? I don’t doubt that many horse breeders care for their horses, but whenever one makes their living from an animal–whether it be a show dog or otherwise–the moral dilemma is inherent in the activity. I’m saying this badly, but it’s not like being a furniture salesman, is it?


  2. An article came out Saturday called “Horse breeders reject foal killing” but there is nothing in the article that says they are not, or calling for them not to be killed. There is this quote though:

    “I can’t place blame on the breeder, it’s not like they want to kill their horses,” Dr. Sztybel said, noting that horse breeders would have a close connection to their horses. “This is a matter of both animal and human rights together.”

    Read the whole article here http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/28/horse-breeders-reject-foal-killing


  3. There is no verification any foals are being put down, it could well be a manipulative media ploy while the racing industry sheds crocodile tears. Why was there no mention of any request for assistance to place foals, hm? I’m certain many people would step up, but nooooo, “we’re going to pull the drama card, threaten or in fact murder the newborn victims we created and point fingers and cry foul all over the news….”


  4. I hope they are really going to HUNANELY euthanize these foals and not just ship to slaughter. Foal meat is highly desirable in the horsemeat industry, as it is similar to veal


  5. This is no different than what is done to the Nurse Mare foals. The foals are born for just one reason and that is for its mother to take over the care and feeding of the expensive TB foal. Nobody cares what happens to the Nurse Mares foal it’s either left outside to starve or its bought to be turned into pony skin which is leather for high priced shoes. If you don’t know what it is look it up.


    1. I have never heard of Nurse Mare foals and I have been in the industry my whole life (I’m not saying it’s untrue-it very well could be) but there is a difference. These horses were bred with a purpose. To race. The Government decided to pull the plug on our entire industry with no more than a moment’s notice. The gestation of a horse is 11 months and we, the horsemen, found out in March of this year. As mentioned above, right smack dab in the middle of the breeding season. It’s a shame really that people are feeling this desperate but as I mentioned earlier, what’s the alternative? Starvation. I know I speak on behalf of the majority of the industry when I say we don’t want it to come to this.


      1. Christine A. find it hard to believe that you are unaware of nurse mare farms, however if you are involved in the race horse industry then you are fully aware that most of these horses if allowed to live and race will end up at slaughter anyway later in their life. Racing is about making money not about the horse and you can tell me how much the horses are loved, but money will always trump the life of the horse. The industry has been suffering for years! but it is not acknowledging the fact that racing is not the draw that it used to be. Times change, but racing does not want to accept change and so they keep breeding hoping for the million dollar horse. However even a lot of the high cash winners still are sent to slaughter at the end of their careers. Racing treats the horse and the human with little regard to their health and safety. Here is an article addressing just that aspect of this industry.


        1. So true Theresa.

          Unless a racehorse is breeding quality, they end up at the slaughterhouse it seems. A horse with a lifespan of 25 to 30 years is served up as dinner for foreign interests at the age of 7 or younger.

          Even then, as much as it may seem to be the revered “next career” for the stars in racing, breeding is a life-time relegated to constant pregnancy and spent Stallions covering, for the so-called “cream of the crop”, upwards of 200 mares a year in the most extreme case.

          How can anyone say there isn’t something wrong with this picture?

          Breeding is totally “out of control”. Why is it that these beautiful and intelligent creatures are disposable? Especially in North America which claims to pride itself on empathy and compassion for those without a voice.

          Hardly, it is all a sham and very sickening to say the least.


  6. The solution to ending this is to stop using horses for profit. Even if every foal is allowed to live over 70 percent will end up at slaughter. Racing is all about death and money!


  7. This kind of action, is a disgrace, to humanity, have we evolved into this???/ One would think with all of the availiable knowledge we would have better answers than this……………… When we start using this kind of answer, I really dont believe that there is any hope for us………………… I am truely ashamed of this ……………………. I do not have all the answers , but i am sure killing a foal at birth would not be one of them……………… All the problems the horse faces is man induced !!!!!!!!


    1. That’s the harsh reality sadly :'( Instead of us, the horsemen, being given a choice, we’re being forced to choose.


      1. I don’t think anyone blames the horsemen, but instead the Government which cares little for either the industry or the horses involved. They do not see beyond their own agendas. Government officials, politicians and the lot are responsible for these deaths. Citizens need to vote these people O U T!


  8. I don’t know who I’m more disgusted with – the breeders for their blithe, unthinking dependence on the government to finance their profession or the government for pulling funding during foaling season.

    What kind of world has this become when you believe all your financial woes can be solved by killing a perfect, healthy little creature before it’s even had a chance to live.

    (Might be a good time for a meteor impact…)


    1. Agree Lisa.

      I am ashamed to live in this province, This has spurned hatred amoung many. As much as some may distain the horse racing industry, this measure is the final blow to horse lovers far and wide.

      The greed and narrow thinking of this government (and they are not the only ones) is despicable.I cannot fathom what this world has descended to. God forbid that any creature other than the human is respected and revered.

      Life is not life anymore, it is a vacuum filled with inexplicable cruelty. Vacuums are empty, just as the tenets of those in power dictate.


    2. You’re partially right, they pulled the plug smack dab in the middle of breeding season but the horse industry isn’t Government funded. The monies received are slot revenue only. For every dollar put in a slot machine, 75% goes to the Government, 10% to the track, 10% to the horsemen and 5% to the host municipalities for health care and education. This agreement was put in place so the Government could utilize our facilities for their machines. I don’t condone the alleged actions of the breeder but the alternative will ultimately be starvation as we won’t be able to feed ourselves let alone our horses. I’m not sure the lesser of the two evils.


      1. Yes, I realize the horse racing industry is not government funded. That is not what I meant, only that the Liberals have created a nasty situation for the racing industry that could have been avoided.


    1. I’m not saying I’m condoning the alleged actions but what is the alternative? Starvation?? Which do you think is the lesser of the two evils? I don’t think people are quite grasping the level of desperation we, the horse racing industry, are facing.


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