Eight Belles — racing 10 years on

Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.

by JANE ALLIN

The Kentucky Derby this Saturday marks the tenth anniversary of the catastrophic breakdown of Eight Belles. Racing with the boys, she crossed the wire 4 ¾ lengths behind Big Brown, finishing second – the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby — only to collapse with two shattered ankles and be euthanized on the track.

Memories of Barbaro’s anguishing ordeal, fresh in the minds of racing fans and the death of another horse on Kentucky Oaks day, cast a pall over North America’s most celebrated racing event and raised questions about the safety of horse racing.

Immediately the racing industry responded with the notion that more uniform regulations regarding equine health standards and drug use should be a top priority.

Ten long years and what has improved? Nothing.

Year after year, the industry holds conference after conference claiming that they are moving towards improved safety standards. Sadly, the efforts of the few that do care and want change, are lost to the greed of the rest.

These innocent souls are sacrificed to casino profits, allowance races, graded and graded stakes races and when they fail, relegated to claiming races and the slaughterhouse. It is estimated that 20% of slaughtered horses in North America are thoroughbreds — some picked up by the meat man at the track and sold by unscrupulous trainers and owners after a bad race, without a hope of finding a home. Disposed as garbage. Just throw-away items.

In fact, it seems the opposite to what the racing industry claims has happened.

The transparency, if there ever was any, is gone.

The doping continues, the trainers and veterinarians are one step ahead of the newest drug testing, the records available about trainer infractions are incomplete where serious penalties are hidden from the public, statistics only report deaths if a horse dies during a race, and horses, despite what the industry claims, continue to die in record numbers, all hidden from the public’s view.

All of this is a cover up, blatant lies, to attempt to convince everyone that the industry is above board.

Horse racing is a cruel, predatory business. You bet, they die.


QUOTES

Eight Belles

“She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles.” Blaming the breeders and investors, sports writer Sally Jenkins claimed,”thoroughbred racing is in a moral crisis, and everyone now knows it.”

Thoroughbred Racehorses

“Our horses are sick. Our thoroughbreds are thoroughly inbred. They are locomotives sitting atop toothpicks. They are fragile and friable, designed to run but not to recover from running. And each time they break down or wear out, we chalk it up to an individual horse’s shortcomings, rather than the decades-long decline of the entire breeding industry”.  — Barry Petchesky (Deadspin)

Insightful Perspective

“What he liked about horse racing was the minimal investment and the high returns. He didn’t mind horses at all; they were easy on the eyes and exciting to watch.”

“The horse industry in general was a zero-waste proposition: this was one animal you could take from birth, exploit all its qualities – speed, strength, tractability – through breeding, racing, eventing, caléche or companion service, and then profit from its flesh when it had outlived its usefulness.”

From the Book, GROUND MANNERS, A NOVEL, by Cynthia D’Errico »

Related Reading

More by Jane Allin including the groundbreaking The Chemical Horse »

Racehorse Memorial Wall Worldwide, began 2005 »

Horse Racing Wrongs, began 2014 »

©The Horse Fund

How one snapped, dangling leg changed a heart forever

Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Horse Racing) — It’s Derby Day, Louisville’s biggest event of the year, even bigger than Christmas and most likely generates more revenue than that blessed event ever will.

There is nothing blessed about horse racing, especially the drug and death riddled variety put on in the USofA.

An example of whereof we speak was published yesterday by Horse Racing Wrongs by Patrick Battuello who catalogs the day to day death and disarray that is horse racing American style.

Here’s an excerpt or go there now.

As the horses were crossing the finish line, I noticed one stopped very abruptly and the little man on his back fell off onto the ground. The horse that had stopped was Mariano. As the other horses passed him, it became clear to me what the issue was. One of his front legs had completely snapped in half and was now dangling, held on by nothing more than the horse’s thin skin. I looked around and there were a few startled faces, but the vast majority just looked the other way or simply said to me “that’s just part of horse racing… it happens.” I knew right away that Mariano would be killed shortly after breaking his leg and that the races would continue on as if nothing happened. So I left, never to return.

There was something off about him breaking his leg. He didn’t trip. He didn’t fall. He didn’t run into any other horses. I know because I was standing RIGHT there. He was just a few feet away from me. He was just running. And then he wasn’t anymore.

Read the full story »

U.S. horse racing earlier this year patted itself on the back saying that fatalities were down again for another year.

We could be wrong but we suspect they are cooking the books or racetracks are under reporting, or possibly both. Reporting is purely voluntary and some breakdowns and deaths are not reported, so the public never has any true idea of what goes on. That’s how they like it. That’s how they want it. That’s how it’s going to be.

This is typical of a deadly, destructive industry living in a world according to its own order. Who is to hold them accountable. Horse racing has no Commissioner like other “sports”.  No one in particular is “in charge”. Millions and millions are bet on it. Don’t you find this odd?

Racehorses are the innocent victims of this ongoing barbarity. Will they ever be free? When will it all end?

READ MORE

If you think we are exaggerating, check out “10 Dark Secrets From the World of Horse Racing” from Listverse.com.

QUOTE

We leave you with this quote by Barry Petchesky, “Our Racehorses are broken America”, Deadspin.

“Our horses are sick. Our thoroughbreds are thoroughly inbred. They are locomotives sitting atop toothpicks. They are fragile and friable, designed to run but not to recover from running. And each time they break down or wear out, we chalk it up to an individual horse’s shortcomings, rather than the decades-long decline of the entire breeding industry”.

—-

FEATURED IMAGE
Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.

 

Petition to Ban the Use of Horses in Bullfighting

It is shocking that in the modern world the barbaric sport of bullfighting is still considered “entertainment.”

Thankfully, many people no longer see it that way and as a result the industry is slowly dying. Yet worldwide approximately 250,000 bulls are killed every year in bullfights.

Last year, Madrid dealt a huge blow to the industry by ending the $66,000 subsidy that fueled a matador school, Marical Lalanda Academy.

More recently, Colombia moved to bring back bullfighting for the first time in four years, but thanks to massive protests it was decided that the sport may violate laws regarding the mistreatment of animals.

Animal activists lie on the ground during a protest against bullfighting in Colombia. © India Today.
Animal activists lie on the ground during a protest against bullfighting in Colombia. © India Today.

Unfortunately, even though the times are changing bullfighting still happens, and although most understand the suffering a bull endures in this cruel gladiatorial sport, many are unaware of what the horses go through.

Horses in bullfights are often older animals who are sold to the industry after serving their whole lives, either as racehorses or in other industries.

Although horses are given protective covering known as a “peto,” which resembles a poncho, it does little to guard them from being gored by bulls.

When the bullfight starts, horses are blindfolded and have their nose and ears stuffed with cotton and Vaseline to deprive them of their senses so that they cannot scream in fear when the bulls approach them, or when they suffer pain. So the public does not even realize when these animals suffer. To take the cruelty a step further, some horses even have their vocal cords removed or severed so they cannot cry out in fear or pain.

The following series of images shows a terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal.

As the bull charged, the matador tried to stab it in the back with a spear but the bull continued its run, dropped its head and hit it in the barrel. The matador tried to hang on to his horse as the animal fell onto his side. The horse reared up, and was struck a second and a third time by the bull which had to be lured away from the scene.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

This is the terrible moment in Valencia, Spain when a horse was seriously injured during a bullfight after he was gored by the rampaging animal. Reported by the Daily Mail.

Even if his injuries were not life threatening, the horse was most likely destroyed or taken to the local abattoir, being of no further use.

Although bullfighting is considered to be part of tradition in many cultures, the fact that something has been done for hundreds of years says nothing about whether or not it is ethical.

Not only does bullfighting end tragically for bulls who are killed at the end of the fight, the horses in the industry are never given the opportunity to live the life of peace they deserve.

Imagine this.

If 250,000 bulls are killed every year in bullfights, that means at least a quarter of a million horses are exposed to this dangerous and terrifying ordeal annually.

If all this appalls you, it is time to make your voice heard. Sign this petition to end the use of horses in bullfighting and share it so that others can learn about this little-known part of the industry.

Thank you.

SOURCES

Content:
One Green Planet; The Millenial Report; The India Times; The Daily Mail.

Images: Protesters, © India Today. Bullfight in Valencia, Spain, Splash News.

Thank you Horseracing Wrongs and Friends who protested at Saratoga Racecourse today

Protesters against horse racing wrongs at Saratoga racecourse, July 23, 2016.

What rocking racehorse advocates these are. All of us feel swelled up with gratitude for these wonderful people taking a stand against the cruelty and death that goes hand in hand with horse racing American style.

Go to Nicole Arciello’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/letthembe1) to see more photos of today’s awesome protest at Saratoga. And say thank you.