What a tragic state of affairs in Canada.
The impact of the anticipated termination by the Ontario government in 2013 of a program that sent $345-million from slot-machine revenues to race tracks in 2011 is being felt in 2012. Already three of 17 race tracks have closed.
Ontario is throwing somewhat of a lifeline to the horse racing industry, offering $50 million over a three-year period. The Horse Racing Transition (HRT) panel created by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs responded that the amount is not enough to help the industry survive. The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association asked for $210 million.
This is devastating news for the industry, particularly those whose livelihoods depend on it. What about the horses?
“The whole scene is just devastating to breeders,” said Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Roger Attfield, winner of a record-tying eight Queen’s Plates, and last fall a Breeders’ Cup race in Louisville. “People don’t know whether to breed their mares again, and people who have real estate don’t know what it’s going to be worth.” — Globe and Mail
It is predicted that Thoroughbred racing is likely to survive, but Standardbred racing will be hard hit and may not.
We covered this issue earlier reporting that foals were being euthanized at birth. Broodmares are now going the same way.
BEVERLEY SMITH and KAREN HOWLETT writing for the Globe and Mail report:
Veterinarian and breeder Garth Henry is planning to inject a humane overdose of a barbiturate – tentobarbitol – into the jugular veins of five of his nine broodmares. His mares – “my girls,” he calls them – range in age from 14 to 20 and could live longer than 30 years. The drug will arrest their heartbeats in two minutes or less.
Four of these mares gave birth to colts and fillies this year and are capable of breeding for several more years. The fifth, Plus Package, is 20, and because of her successful track career and breeding career, Henry had planned to give her a home for life. But now, Henry can’t justify the cost of upkeep on his farm in Russell, Ont., because the market for their foals is drying up.
“They wouldn’t be worth hauling to the sale,” he said. “And they’ll just be purchased most likely by guys sending them to the slaughter anyway. And it’s just not in me to do that.”
Source: The Globe and Mail
This is an-depth report. Anyone requiring facts and figures on the Ontario Government’s elimination of the Slots-at-Racetracks program will find a wealth of information in this article.
— Thousands of racehorses face slaughter: Not so fast Canada; Tuesday’s Horse; Sept. 8, 2012
— Canada: Cancellation of funding program could mean 13,000 dead horses; Tuesday’s Horse; Aug. 31, 2012
— Foals euthanized in Canada as provincial funding of harness racing ends; Tuesday’s Horse; Apr. 27, 2012