Why we call for an end to U.S. horse racing

Racehorse in red hood. The Horse magazine online.

We call for an end to U.S. horse racing because it is past reforming. The horse has bolted.

Additionally, there appears to be no one in American horse racing genuinely interested in, or knowledgeable and capable of, reforming it. If we are wrong then show us who they are, what they purport to do and when they are going to start doing it.

In the meantime horse racing apologists, please do not trot out that piece of feeble legislation, The Horse Racing Integrity Act, as an example. It will not remedy the problems it is chiefly designed for in the long term. Once the drug authority comes in and sets it all up, it puts U.S. horse racing back in charge. The Horse Racing Integrity Act is a fox guarding the henhouse piece of legislation. It is a smoke and mirrors tactic designed to give the appearance of reform.

Then there is the breeding aspect of horse racing where all of this really begins.

Modern American racehorses are bred to breakdown, and as a result are constantly breaking down. They will continue to do so until the American racehorse has been bred to restore balance and durability. Trying to get and keep racehorses on the racecourse the way they are bred now is the major contributing factor for the drugging, doping and debilitating “therapies” practiced on them.

How about the tens of thousands of racehorses who are sent to a grisly and terrifying death by slaughter. What about them? And what about the persistent rumors of horse racing employed lobbyists buying off politicians in Washington DC to keep the SAFE Act banning horse slaughter from passing.

How does American horse racing stay in business? Gambling, baby, gambling. Oh, and let’s not forget those tasty millions of State governmental subsidies. Your tax dollars at work.

We conclude with this. The only way to protect racehorses from the cruel and fatal practices of American horse racing is to end horse racing. What else is there?

We didn’t invite ourselves to this day. Horse racing has brought us here.

“The horse has bolted” is an English expression which means someone trying to prevent something from happening, but have done so too late to prevent damage from being done.

Horse Racing — Injury, death and slaughter fueled by gambling

Dead racehorse. Source: Pinterest.

What the Raced to Death video report by Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel does not mention is what fuels the so-called “sport” of horse racing. In a word — gambling. It is the people who gamble on horse racing who sponsor racehorse abuse, doping, breakdowns and death on the track, and thousands of racehorses at the slaughterhouse.

Without gambling horse racing would not exist. History points to this truth. By the end of 1910 virtually all gambling was outlawed in the United States. Horse racing collapsed.

Then came the Depression. In 1933 the gambling prohibition is repealed, and horse racing returns to the United States. This is when Seabiscuit becomes the hero of a depressed nation that had little to nothing to cheer about. And horse racing begins to thrive once again.

As horse racing escalated in the 1940’s and 50’s almost all states change their laws to allow parimutuel betting on horses which significantly increased the “handle” or how much was bet by the public.


Every wager placed at a racetrack, whether live or simulcast, trickles down from the gambler’s pocketbook to the track and the horsemen involved. Generally, a track’s purse structure comes directly from the projected amount of handle (the total amount bet by the public). A percentage of each race’s total purse is awarded to the highest finishers.

Trainers of course also make money via training fees paid for by the horse’s owner and there’s prize money of course. But this would barely keep them in business, if at all.

So it is “the take” that they train for — a percentage of the multi-million dollar gambling revenues generated by horse racing.

Without gambling horse racing would not be in business, the business of doping, maiming and destroying racehorses on the track and at the slaughterhouse.

If you haven’t seen Raced to Death by HBO’s Real Sports with Brian Gumbel, go here.


Australian racehorse slaughter allegations prompt investigation

An undercover investigation by ABC's 7.30 programme allegedly found hundreds of racehorses being slaughtered in Australia every year after retiring. ( ABC 7.30 )An undercover investigation by ABC's 7.30 programme allegedly found hundreds of racehorses being slaughtered in Australia every year after retiring. ( ABC 7.30 )

THE BBC reports:

Australian authorities have launched an investigation into suspected animal cruelty after a TV report revealed the alleged mass slaughter of racehorses. Footage of horses allegedly being mistreated at an abattoir in Queensland caused widespread anger when it was aired on broadcaster ABC on Thursday.

On Friday, Queensland authorities sent inspectors to one of the abattoirs named by ABC’s 7.30 programme. The report alleged that 300 racehorses were killed there over a 22-day period.

It also broadcast covertly taken footage which appeared to show horses being beaten and mistreated in other ways.

The slaughter of racehorses is legal in Australia, but industry rules in some states require horses to be “rehomed”. State government officials described the allegations — aired ahead of the main spring racing season — as “abhorrent”.

Just the Beginning

This is just the beginning of the coverage. Here’s more:

The Standard AU reports:

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Australian health racehorses are reportedly being sent to the slaughterhouse each year, contradicting industry claims the number was only 34.

Racing Australia’s official data shows around 34 horses every year end up at slaughterhouses – a figure amounting to less than one per cent of retiring racehorses.

But ABC’s 7.30 program has reported the number is much, much higher.So while racing’s peak body has rules requiring the registration and tracking of horses from their birth to their retirement, many are still being killed in slaughterhouses on a weekly basis.

Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V'landys has been put under the microscope.
Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys has been put under the microscope.

Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys said he was not aware of any NSW racehorses being sent to slaughterhouses.

Hey Racing NSW. You might want to find yourself another CEO.


News.com.AU reports:

A devastated jockey has shared how she tried desperately to save her horse only to see him tortured and slaughtered on national television. Laura Cheshire was watching television last night when she saw the horse she rode for a year — a thoroughbred she loved and rehomed four times — beaten, kicked and slaughtered.

Jockey Laura Cheshire broke down in tears watching her former racehorse get beaten and brutally killed, in an ABC investigation into abattoir mass killings.
Jockey Laura Cheshire broke down in tears watching her former racehorse get beaten and brutally killed, in an ABC investigation into abattoir mass killings.

The heartbroken 35-year-old Queensland jockey was beside herself as War Ends, a horse that won its owners more than $400,000 over an illustrious career, was treated with absolute disdain by workers at an abattoir in Queensland.

The footage, shot with hidden cameras as part of 7.30’s investigation into the mistreatment of racehorses, made her sick.

Through tears on the track at Ipswich this morning, she told news.com.au she was disgusted because the horse’s last owner had promised her “he won’t be dogged”. “Next thing I know he’s on TV getting a bolt in his head,” Cheshire said. “It was horrific. It was unbearable to watch.”

Racing Queensland said the inhumane treatment of horses was a “national issue” and the industry had a “collective responsibility for the safety and wellbeing,” of the animals.

This morning the respected jockey sent a message to War Ends’ last owner, a woman who told her she had to give him away despite promising him a “forever home”. “I sent her the video of him being tortured,” she said. “I said, ‘What the f*** is wrong with you? You were supposed to be a responsible home for this horse.’”

The woman has since gone to ground and deleted her Facebook page. She has not responded to Cheshire’s texts. Read more  »

Elio Celotto of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses. ABC News AU.
Elio Celetto of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses. ABC News AU.

Elio Celetto from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses told the broadcaster about 4000 racehorses had been killed in one abattoir alone. Animal welfare and behaviour scientist Professor Paul McGreevy said there was no way the racing industry could defend the behaviour. “This is a clear breach of everything the industry has told us,” he said.

The investigation also aired accusations of multiple instances of animal cruelty at the slaughterhouses racehorses are being sent to.

Gross Cruelties

Seen in the video:

  • The covert cameras record horses being beaten and abused, bolted to the brain repeatedly and ineffectively killed.
  • Others are kicked and suffer electric shocks while confined in the kill box.
  • One worker can be seen repeatedly slamming a gate into a group of horses, another beats the horses with a hose.

The Meat

Celetto states that, “[The meat] goes to various countries in Europe, it goes to Japan, and Russia’s a big importer as well.”

Last Word with Tom Reilly

We are going to end with an excerpt from a piece written by Tom Reilly entitled, “We care for our racehorses, but our industry must confront this mistreatment“, and published by the Sydney Morning Herald, the paper where he was once a senior journalist.

Tom Reilly is CEO of Aushorse and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

“This isn’t to shift the blame and point the finger at those who are outside the thoroughbred industry, but no animal, whether it is a thoroughbred horse, a cow or a sheep, should be mistreated in the way the horses were in Caro Meldrum-Hanna’s investigation. Any animal that is being processed at an abattoir should be treated humanely and with dignity.”

We accept that Reilly is a reasonably intelligent man. He can read and write anyway. So we take it he is sporting with our intelligence.

There is no way to slaughter any sentient being humanely. With dignity? In a slaughterhouse?

And don’t try to fob us off with your jargon. No, they are not “processed” — they are slaughtered. Their dead bodies then turned into  meat.

Merriam Webster defines slaughter:

the act of killing specifically : the butchering of livestock for market.

If that weren’t enough, Reilly also refers to the egregious pain and suffering endured during horse slaughter as “mistreatment”.


There’s links to the video footage throughout the post, but here it is again. Warning: It is graphic. How could it be anything but?

Gamblers to Blame

Without gambling the business of horse racing would collapse. History has proven it so, in the U.S. anyway.

So, hey, gamblers. This is on your plate. You bet. They die.

Racing — A sport that lost track of its main asset

Seen bleeding from the nose a filly awaits death along with her travelling companion. They died a brutal and terrifying death, thanks to horse racing. Source: DEADSPIN.

Hello horse lovers and welcome.

An article entitled, “A sport that lost track of its main asset,” by Raj Tawney and published by Newsday caught our imagination. It is beautifully written and states the obvious, unless you work in or gamble on horse racing.

We excerpt it below. Quotation Mark Left (Arimo Gray)

.  .  .  . organized racing didn’t begin until after the Civil War in 1868, when The American Stud Book was founded, followed by the formation of The Jockey Club in New York in 1894.

By the turn of the century, more than 300 racetracks existed in the United States as the focus became less about prestige and more about legalized gambling. All but a few annual races, including the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, held on to sporting traditions. Horses were now treated as commodities instead of elite athletes. If and when they no longer produced results, they were sent to “the glue factory.”

Horse racing may have historical origins but the sport has lost sight of its most important contributor: the horse itself. If this precious animal is treated only as a disposable product — a means to a dividend — how is this “sport” any different from the meat industry?

Quotation Mark Right Arimo Gray

Read full article here »

By the way, in the same article, PETA is quoted that “the Thoroughbred-racing industry sends an estimated 10,000 horses to slaughter annually.” Add to that the ones they kill on the racetrack, and you see what a chillingly deadly industry it is.

Why would anyone with half a heart or an ounce of integrity want to “save” horseracing? Or gamble on it?

That last quote by the article’s writer is a showstopper — how is this “sport” any different from the meat industry?

Answers anyone?