Unsanctioned horse racing flourishing in rural Colorado

DENVER, Colorado. KDVR FOX31. Chris Halsne and Chris Koeberl reporting. (May 18, 2017)  — Hidden cameras capture doping, gambling and abuse of horses as regulators, politicians, and law enforcement turn a blind eye. Go to full investigative report »

It’s Easter Sunday outside the Deer Trail Rodeo grounds.

Armed teams of private security in flak jackets set up a road block searching passengers and vehicles. What they are looking for is unclear, but alcohol and beer are allowed to pass. An Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy drove by slowly on the street outside the stadium, but did not stop.

By early afternoon, approximately 500 spectators are lined up along metal railings near a long, manicured dirt track.

They were drawn here by an online advertising push from a company calling itself Parejeras Racing USA.

A Spanish language flyer promised 10 “match-races,” with prize money in the thousands of dollars.

At first glance, the horse races looked much like the legal, sanctioned ones held at Colorado’s only licensed horse race facility, Arapahoe Park in Aurora.

Jockeys, in colorful silk, mounted muscular Quarter horses draped with matching blankets embossed with large numbers. Handlers helped guide the horses and riders to a metal starting gate.

As the horses charged down the straight-away, it became apparent, there were few rules.

Whipping of the animals was harsh and nearly nonstop.

In one race, a jockey veered his horse into another competitor. The high-speed ramming pushed the thundering beasts toward spectators standing within inches of the track, including children.

In two other races, jockeys lost their balance and went tumbling among the hoofs of other race horses.

Problem Solvers, working with knowledgeable insiders, acquired hidden camera footage of not only the races, but all the activities happening just off the track.

Audio and video recordings show plenty of cash being wagered on horses. Continue reading at source »


Image source: KDVR.
Image source: KDVR FOX31.

The drugging of the horses is rampant and potentially lethal.

Hidden camera footage revealed a brown liquid being injected into a racehorse’s neck who moments later was entered into the starting gates and raced.

The liquid in the syringe was described as “ ‘typically a cocktail of stimulants’ to ramp up the horse’s heart – to get it to run faster”.

Equine veterinarian Bruce Connelly stated, “I’ve seen match-race horses run blind. Break themselves up because of stuff that was put in ‘em that shouldn’t have been.”

Local Law Enforcement

The problem is, the report points out, is that law enforcement and the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees some 1,400 pages of racing regulations, can take action only in sanctioned horse races. Adding “it seemed impossible to FOX31 that such a large event, widely advertised and attended by so many people could go unnoticed by local politicians.”

Oh, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by local politicians or law enforcement. They have either turned a blind eye to it like that Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy who drove slowly by and didn’t stop, or profited by it, or both.

What about the Mayor?

According to state records, Deer Trail mayor, Kent Vashus is the “registered agent” of the Deer Trail Jockey Club. The Jockey Club is one of the oldest non-profits in Colorado and owner of the Rodeo grounds where the unsanctioned Easter races were held.

Vashus admitted to the FOX31 Problem Solvers he had allowed Parejares Racing USA to use the Rodeo grounds for races in the past. Records show he approved at least fourteen “Mexican Horse Races” in Deer Trail since 2015.

There is much, much more including video reports. This is an in-depth undercover report and one of the best we have seen in a very, very long time.

Take Action Colorado Residents

The Governor

Contact the Governor and register your concern using his online form.  Ask him to take immediate action against unsanctioned horse racing and the horrific abuses of the horses used for it.  Notwithstanding the horses, onlookers including children are put at risk of injury and even death. Share this shortened link to the full KDVR investigative report with him — https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

Colorado General Assembly

The Colorado General Assembly adjourned May 10, 2017 and reconvenes January 10, 2018.

(1) Contact your individual legislator stating this is an important issue to you and you wish to see it on the next Session’s agenda. Share this shortened link to the full KDVR investigative report —  https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

(2) Contact the following Colorado lawmakers urging them to place this issue on the next Session’s agenda and enact all laws necessary to make these unauthorized races illegal. Be sure to share the link to the full KDVR investigative report —  https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

• Speaker of the House, Cristanta Duran (crisanta.duran.house@state.co.us)
• House Majority Leader, K.C. Becker (kcbecker.house@state.co.us)
• House Minority Leader, Patrick Neville (tim.neville.senate@state.co.us)

• President of the Senate, Kevin Grantham (kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us)
• Senate Majority Leader, Chris Holbert (chris.holbert.senate@state.co.us)
• Senate Minority Leader, Lucia Garcia  (leroy.garcia.senate@state.co.us)

Oh, and throw that unscrupulous Mayor of yours Kent Vashus out on his ear next election Deer Trail residents.

The image of the horse looking out from under the stands was taken at the Deer Trail Rodeo Grounds and is used here for illustrative purposes only. The image was not filed with the source report.

Horse protection advocates meet with Congressman Wednesday on soring rule

Stacked shoes of a sored Tennessee Walking Horse. HSUS image.

WASHINGDON, DC (Mar. 26, 2017) — Early on Sunday evening, Clant Seay, founder of Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty (CCABLAC), released a short video in which he affirmed an event scheduled for Wednesday in Washington, DC and an appearance with a congressman.

The group had previously scheduled the presentation of its petition containing 100,000 signatures to the White House and a subsequent press conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday, March 29.

Standing at the location of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Seay said that in addition to presenting the petition and holding the presser, the group will be meeting with Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida’s third congressional district, who is a large-animal veterinarian and former businessman.

The group will speak in the Edward R. Murrow Room at the National Press Club at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  The address is 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20045.

The change.org petition, posted several months ago, is showing 99,744 signatures as of press time and asks OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, as-yet-unconfirmed USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue, President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump to publish a federal rule supportive of the Horse Protection Act of 1970 which would ban “pads and chains” used on Tennessee Walking Horses during horse shows.

In his announcement on Sunday, Seay said that Yoho plans to “reintroduce the PAST Act,” a proposal first raised in 2013 with bipartisan support which encountered a number of obstacles and did not become law.  “PAST” stands for “Prevent All Soring Tactics” and is intended to eliminate soring by assigning inspections only to those without a conflict of interest.  Continue reading »

The Post and Mail »

Change.org »

Stacked shoes of a sored Tennessee Walking Horse. HSUS image.

Entrepreneurial lessons to be learned from thinking like a horse

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — We share a quick story before we resume our work here for March Against Horse Slaughter. We have a lot coming up, so stay tuned. Be ready to take part.

In the meantime check this out. The story, “3 Entrepreneurial Lessons I Learned from Raising Horses” caught our attention. And kept it.

Here’s a quick sketch of what these three lessons are. Go here to read the full story »

1. Pedigree doesn’t determine success. That’s self-explanatory.

2. Don’t Be a Reactionary: “. . . horses have two sides of their brain, a thinking side and a reactionary side, and the key is getting the horse to use the thinking side. . . Nine times out of 10, the thinking response is better”.

3. It’s never too late. The example they give is a lady who dreamed her whole life of learning to ride a horse. “She didn’t stop dreaming, though, and at the age of 67, she started riding.”

Sound Advice for the Entrepreneur and Advocate

Isn’t all of the above good, sound, workable advice concerning what we do as horse advocates?

How often does it look like it is a thankless, endless task to end the myriad abuses inflicted on horses like horse slaughter? That we can only dream about getting rid of it?

The definition of an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Everything is possible. It’s a question of risk, initiative, hard work and sticking with it — that’s the entrepreneurial spirit!

And like the lady who began riding horses at the age of 67, it is never too late to start.

Bureau of Land Management

Trump Administration removing animal abuse records from USDA website including soring

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections, part of an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.

The beginning of the end of animal protection and welfare under Trump warned about by many is appearing.

Here are three sources on the Trump Administration’s recent move to hide the records of animal abusers by removing them from the USDA website. This is supposedly being done to protect the abusers’ rights as individuals. Not surprisingly you will see that the Horse Protection Act which outlaws horse soring is at the center of it along with the Animal Welfare Act.

Mercy for Animals report (citing the New York Times):

“As of Friday morning, the USDA has removed information relating to the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act from its site.

“This includes animal welfare inspections and records about the enforcement of these laws. They’ve even removed lists of regulated facilities, all without any advance notice.

“The department is claiming that this is about privacy. However, the reports already remove the locations of facilities and other sensitive information could have easily been redacted so that this information would still be accessible to the public.” Continue reading »

Science Magazine report:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act.

“Henceforth, those wanting access to the information will need to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

“The same goes for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show.” [emphasis added]  Continue reading »

The Associated Press reports:

“WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department has removed animal welfare inspection reports, enforcement records and other information about the treatment of animals from its website, citing privacy and other laws.

“Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the information was removed from the site around 11 a.m. Friday. She would not say if the removal was temporary or permanent in the new Trump administration.

“The information is used by advocacy groups and other members of the public to look up information on commercial dog and horse breeders, some of whom have had a history of abuse. The reports included lists of animal welfare violations at those facilities and also at animal testing labs, and whether those violations have been corrected.

“In place of the online database is a new message from the department saying it is “implementing actions to remove documents” related to the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act that contain personal information.

“The records have been removed “based on our commitment to being transparent, remaining responsive to our stakeholders’ informational needs, and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals,” the online message says.  Continue reading »

A famous quote, often attributed to Mohandas Gandhi, states, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

The United States is clearly going backwards under the current regime. It does not bode well for America’s future.