BY VIVIAN FARRELL
I am not posting the followup I talked about yesterday. I will publish it next Tuesday. Today’s post, however, is still about U.S. horse racing.
Why the suffering and death of one particular racehorse has haunted me since I read about it I am unsure. I read reports like these almost daily. They are all horrific, stomach churning, heartbreaking.
It is established fact that a significant number of just-off-the-track horses require euthanasia shortly after landing at a rescue. They do because their beaten-down bodies make a pain-free life all but impossible. Unfortunately, however, these horses are mostly out of my reach, dying in anonymity to all but their final caretakers. Still, every once in a while, I learn of one.
Catchumdenae was a 6-year-old mare who was raced 36 times, the final six for Rodney Moyers. Her last race – in which she was “For Sale” at the bargain-basement price of $4,000 prior to – was March 2 at Mahoning. She finished second-to-last, some 22 lengths back (“stayed back throughout”).
Shortly thereafter, she was simply given to someone who intended to retire her. Sweet relief appeared at hand. But, it wasn’t to be. Turns out, this poor animal had a slab fracture in her right knee and a broken splint bone in her left leg; she was euthanized Tuesday. Says the attending vet: “She must have had a lot of heart running with those injuries.”
A lot of heart.
The problems with U.S. horse racing are huge, overwhelmingly huge.
The crimes perpetrated against the racehorse is exhaustive, a catalogue of abuses resulting in egregious suffering and death — from the two-year old who breaks down and dies while training to the claiming horse who has been raced 51 times until he literally drops dead.
Or the racehorse they can’t squeeze anything else out of, or is too expensive to ‘fix’ and loaded up on the slaughter truck.
Then there are the racehorses who escape and find sanctuary only to be put down, an estimated 30% according to Mr. Battuello’s article.
And what about the rash of racehorse deaths at Santa Anita? That are still happening?
‘That’s racing’, they say. ‘It’s a real shame’, they say. ‘We feel pretty bad about it’, they say. And so on and so forth.
In actuality, no one in American horse racing — no matter who it is — could care less about the racehorse. No one. If they did, they couldn’t stomach to be in it. Harsh? Unfair? Volatility for volatility’s sake? Perhaps.
So answer me this. Why hasn’t there been a movement within U.S. horse racing to do something, anything? And I don’t mean things like useless meetings before the Kentucky Derby where the spotlight of the world is on their ‘sport’ and all they do is wring their hands and moan.
The harsh reality is there is no one to stand up for the racehorse but the horse advocate. But who do we appeal to? And therein lies the rub.
No Governing Body
Where human athletes are concerned, they have representation, protection. They all have a voice within their own profession, individually or collectively.
American horse racing has no central governing body like other ‘sports’.
U.S. horse racing is a law unto itself and can do anything it likes with absolutely no accountability whatsoever. It is that total lack of accountability that attracts and supports abuse because perpetrators know nothing will ever be done. Nothing.
Business as Usual
So who do we appeal to stop the daily mayhem perpetrated upon the American racehorse?
We, and many others, have exposed a laundry list of cruelties and death connected with horse racing, yet not a single, solitary measure with even a lingering hope in hell of doing any good has been put forward, let alone done to protect the racehorse by the people who use them. It continues to be ‘business as usual’. The usual business of dealing out abuse and death.
The only answer we see is this, and it is has taken us way too long to get here. So we beg the forgiveness of the already broken and dead, and those suffering right now and about to die somewhere on a track today.
We must end American horse racing on behalf of the tortured, broken bodies and souls of the horses it so callously destroys. It cannot be reformed. It must go away. We will and can find a way.
Say American horse racing miraculously rallied together and seriously began trying the fix it? It’s too late.
Horse racing in America is already doomed. But it will take too long to self destruct. See you on Tuesday for the reason why.