An effort to mandate the tracking of retired racehorses in New York has now picked up support in both houses of the state Legislature.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who represents Aqueduct Racetrack, recently introduced a measure to create a seven-member Commission on Retired Racehorses to monitor the whereabouts and treatment of retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. The new Senate bill by Addabbo, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, is the same as one introduced in the Assembly earlier this year by Gary Pretlow, a Westchester County Democrat who chairs that chamber’s racing committee.
“Horses have played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States,” a bill memo accompanying the legislation states, noting that racehorses in New York have generated billions of dollars in economic activity in the state.
“Despite what they may have contributed, many horses at a young age (that) are no longer profitable or affordable for the owner, wind up in international slaughterhouses to be inhumanely slaughtered for consumption abroad where horse meat is a major delicacy,” the bill memo adds.
The bill puts reporting requirements on horse owners, requiring reports to be filed with the state within 72 hours of any ownership change of a retired racehorse, along with contact information about owners and other recordkeeping rules. The death of a former racehorse must also be reported to a state registry within 72 hours. Each violation of the measure’s provisions can be assessed a fine up to $500–if violators are a resident of New York State.
Using Jockey Club data, the NYSGC spent nearly two years compiling the whereabouts of every New York-bred Thoroughbred that raced between 2010 and 2012. Of 3,894 horses that raced in that period, the commission was able to locate 1,871 horses. Of those, 356 were deceased, three sold at auction and 1,512 were retired in some form, such as 604 retired as broodmares or 155 adopted.
Correction 1.25 pm: 7 deaths not 17. Hope this error does not turn out to some sort of dark omen.
SARATOGA, New York — Patrick Battuello of Horseracingwrongs.com reports:
In the final race of the afternoon yesterday at Saratoga, this for 4-year-old Brooklyn Major (Equibase):
“BROOKLYN MAJOR three wide at the half mile pole, was through after the half, then fatally collapsed after crossing the finish line.” Yes, another “fatal collapse” after the wire. But all is not lost: For finishing the race, Brooklyn’s connections took home $84.
To date, seven horses have died at Saratoga ’17, four in the last four days:
Lakalas, May 28, “collapsed and died after breezing”
Queen B, July 6, “fractured leg while breezing…ambulanced to clinic – euthanized”
Wanztbwicked, July 22, “suffered an injury while breezing – euthanized on the track”
Angels Seven, July 28, “pulled up, injury to LF leg – euthanized on the track”
Howard Beach, July 29, “suffered a fracture to RF leg breezing and was euthanized”
Positive Waves, July 29, “suffered a fracture to his RF leg breezing – euthanized”
Brooklyn Major, July 31, “collapsed and died after the finish of the race”
It makes you wonder how horseracing can brag that its casualties are down and they are doing better. Doing better than what? At what? All we can see them excelling at is abusing and killing horses. They are are marvelous at that. Many of their horses die at the track while training. These sad victims haven’t even made it into a race yet.
I suppose with (1) the threat of the return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil (horse racing will love that —murder and mayhem being a day-to-day part of this disgustingly cruel “sport” so called), and (2) the hotly lobbied for killing of 90,000+ American Mustangs needlessly robbed of their homes and freedom and placed into U.S. confinement camps to eke out the rest of their now tragic lives — who cares about a few dead racehorses, right?
Well we do. We care about all of them. What can we do? Protest.
The people at horseracingwrongs.com have been and continue to do so. More on that coming soon.
Protest on Twitter. Tweet reports like this one, but most importantly Patrick’s reports at @ABRLive. That America’s Best Racing’s handle that tweets endless drivel about this “great sport”. Let’s shake their audience up.
And to the gamblers who support suffering and death with their $2 bets, can’t you find something else to bet on? There are a myriad of sports played out across the world you can bet on with human athletes who choose it as a career and voluntarily take the risks associated with it.
Tweet reports like this one, especially Patrick’s to @lasvegasbetting and @vegasSB1 (for strictly sports betting). Use the phrase You Bet. They Die.
These are just a couple of ideas. Help these horses with your ideas. Email us or post them here in comments.
With U.S. horse racing we must put their feet to the fire and keep it there. No one else is going to do it. We have to, in memory of all the racehorses already maimed and destroyed by this dangerous, drug infested industry and its forthcoming victims.
What trainer was it that said this not so long ago? Can’t find it now, but it went something like this: I don’t care if they get rid of drugs in horse racing. I just hope I’m dead when they do it.
Part of the reason so many young racehorses die is because of a lack of regulation on drugs administered to the animals, according to Vivian Grant Farrell, founder and president of The Horse Fund, an organization that promotes horse welfare. Farrell said that horses are commonly given drugs to mask preexisting injuries so that they can “run through the pain,” and this compromises their safety.
“Man and animal alike love to do what they were created to. Racehorses love to run. But some even go so far as to believe that racehorses love to compete. Perhaps, but not in the way a human being does. In the instance of horse racing, too often humans project insatiable appetites for money and glory onto the performance of these magnificent animals,” Farrell told The Dodo after a young horse died at the Belmont Stakes in 2015. And little has changed since that death, and so many others.
“Horses continue to die unnecessarily on America’s racetracks,” Jane Allin, research writer for The Horse Fund, told The Dodo.
One of the most memorable deaths on the track was a horse named Eight Belles, who was euthanized at the Kentucky Derby after getting injured on May 3, 2008. “It was her tragic death that spurred a major undertaking to address the pervasive use of drugs — both therapeutic and performance-enhancing — in every division of horse racing occurring on the tracks across the U.S.,” Allin said. “Since this time, has anything really changed?”
In terms of drug use, nothing has changed, according to Allin. “Year after year, the racing industry meets to discuss and argue about developing new regulations … but the industry itself is divided and so the ideas of many well-intentioned individuals are mired in disagreement,” she said.
Allin pointed out that Saratoga, like other tracks across the nation, has a history of death. “With the rampant use of drugs in North America, unlike other jurisdictions in the world, there is certainty that horses are compromised, leading to a greater number of fatalities on the track, reported or not,” Allin said. “It seems no horse is immune to these abhorrent practices… Horse racing in North America is a sham. Until real changes [take place], racing here will continue down the ugly path of deceit and death.”
Even if better regulations pass, there are other problems that cast a dark cloud over the industry. “There are some horse racing jurisdictions that are highly praised such as Hong Kong where drug abuse is virtually nonexistent. However, gambling is the heartbeat of horse racing and it has much more to do with running ‘clean’ races, which bettors in their culture demand, than any consideration for the racehorse,” Farrell told The Dodo. For instance, it is not uncommon for ex-racehorses to be shipped to slaughter or die of neglect. “How can you make an industry humane that for decades has been dumping racehorses of no further use to them in slaughterhouses?” Farrell said.
Thanks to horse advocates like you a lot of pressure has been put on the Governor of Colorado and the State’s lawmakers, but chiefly on the Governor.
It is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who has finally responded, stating he is “supportive of some sort of new oversight”.
What? There’s more.
“When financial self-interest is involved, people might dope up horses — do things that are unacceptable for almost everyone,” Governor Hickenlooper told FOX31 during a recent on-camera interview.
“You want to get all those people together and say how can we make sure these horses are not mistreated for the lowest amount of cost and intrusion into people’s lives? We want to make the regulatory part of as minimum as possible and still guarantee the welfare of horses.”
The key words here are financial self-interest.
Chief of Racing Enforcement, Ron Hammerzell, told the FOX31 Problem Solvers he hears complaints about unsanctioned horse racing, happening at rodeo grounds like in Deer Trail, but can’t do anything about it.
Hammerzell said, “Simply, our statutory authority doesn’t really allow us to get involved there. Again, when local law enforcement calls, we assist them in any way we can.”
How about reporting it to the FBI? Isn’t this type of activity where illegal gambling is involved a federal crime, like dog fighting?
Governor Hickenlooper thinks with the help of venue operators, animal rights organizations (like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), lawmakers, and racing regulators, the state can and should start thinking about crafting some simple safety rules that bring horse match-races out of the shadows.
The ASPCA are animal welfarists and exactly who you do not want in a situation like this. It is nigh to impossible to make these horses safe in sanctioned horse racing let alone unsanctioned. Look at the horrible day-to-day drugging, abuse and death connected with sanctioned horse racing.
Sadly we see that no firm stand for what is right is going to be taken by the politically ineffective Governor of Colorado. And we are not simply talking about the horses here even though they are our main focus.
Hickenlooper asked, “How to we get to a compromise where everyone is satisfied – where we can make sure horses are not mistreated, the spectators and racers are safe and the end of every day, everything is going to be okay?”
It is never right in cases of potentially dangerous and abusive activities to try to satisfy everyone. It shouldn’t even be a consideration.
Compromise. What an ugly word in the context of this barbaric issue. For the most part, the only ones being compromised are the horses. Sound familiar?
Response from Legitimate Racing
We have been trying to get a response from legitimate horse racing in Colorado but none will give Tuesday’s Horse or The Horse Fund a statement. However, we notice no one we spoke with seemed particularly concerned. Is it because this is a way of unloading racehorses they don’t want any longer without having to go through the bothersome task of getting rid of them some other way such as via the meat man at auction?
The undercover report mentions that the unsanctioned races they investigated were run primarily by hispanics. Since there are so many hispanics working at U.S. racetracks they are in a prime position to acquire racehorses for unsanctioned races. Is this another reason those running horses at sanctioned races prefer to stay mum or don’t seem to have a problem with it? It seems they would at least be concerned about the gambling revenues they are losing. Why aren’t they? Is someone in sanctioned racing taking kickbacks?
Take action residents of Colorado.
• Find your State Legislators and call or email them. The Legislature is not in session but they are working. Tell them that you are disappointed with the Governor’s response and ask them to amend an existing statute or pass a new one that will make unsanctioned racing illegal Colorado.
Tip: Collect your thoughts. Make a note of what you want to say, rehearse it a few times until you feel you’ve “got it”. Then dial and deliver it. We all do that here so we present our views in the best possible way.