New York State lawmakers interested in tracking retired racehorses

Thoroughbred racehorse. Unattributed image.
Thoroughbred racehorse. Unattributed image.

HORSE RACING (via the Blood-Horse online). By Tom Precious, October 26, 2017.

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.

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A young horse just died at this Racetrack — and no one’s talking about it

His was the third death in just two months.

Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.
Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.

THE DODO | BY SARAH V. SCHWEIG | JULY 26, 2017 | Link to Article

A 3-year-old thoroughbred horse named Wanztbwicked was euthanized on the Saratoga racetrack on Saturday after breaking down during training — he’s the third horse to die at the New York track in just two months — and no one’s really even talking about it.

That’s because casualties like this are the norm for horse racing. Hundreds of horses die on tracks in the U.S. every year.

In just New York state so far this year, over 50 horses have died at racetracks and many more have been injured. Last year, at Saratoga alone, 17 horses died from racing-related injuries.

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?”

Eight Belles falls to her chest as she fractures both front legs after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
Eight Belles falls to her chest as she fractures both front legs after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

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.

Read full article »

Additional Reading

Horse Racing Special Reports, Jane Allin »
Horseracing Wrongs, Patrick Battuello »
Racehorses Killed in 2017, Patrick Battuello »

Featured Image

Horses jump out of the starting gate at Saratoga racecourse. Saratoga.com.

Animal rights activists encourage Central Park horse drawn carriage riders to get out and not pay

Cross-posted from WABC Ch. 7 Manhattan

Caslon Quote Left BlackTHE debate over the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park has taken another turn. Animal rights activists with the ‘Empty the Carriage’ campaign are encouraging riders to get out, but some are calling this move harassment.

“They’ll try to tell customers that the animals are abused, or that the horses are working 14 hours a day, or that they’re not fed…all sorts of things,” says horse carriage driver Gareth Smith.

“So when they tell that customer ‘get out, and don’t pay’, they’re not volunteering money to keep up the horse,” added Craig Shelton of Friends of NYC Carriage Horse.

‘Empty the Carriage’ defends the practice, in a written statement, saying,

“Empty the Carriages is having great success with our tactics of educating tourists about the cruelties and danger inhered in NYC’s reckless carriage horse industry. The carriage drivers falsely accuse us of ‘harassing’ these tourists when it is clear they were eager to get off the carriage.”

“The children were looking at the horses, and we were making sure that they had water…it’s very visible that they weren’t stressed,” said tourist Diana Heffernan.

A debate comes at the time of the year when tourists line up along Central Park for hours to mark the iconic New York experience off of their bucket list.

The group is planning another rally on Sunday, where they plan to form a ‘human chain’ near the entrance to the Park to support animal rights.


Hmmm, what do you think about Empty the Carriage’s tactic?

FEATURED IMAGE
A carriage horse is led down the ramp at the West Side Stables in New York City. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

Desert Trial makes 14 dead racehorses at Saratoga

Cross-posted from Horse Racing Wrongs

by PATRICK BATTUELLO

Desert Trial, a 2-year-old colt, is dead from a “suspected cardiovascular collapse” (Gaming Commission) while training at Saratoga yesterday morning. Again, two – on the maturation chart, the rough equivalent of a first-grader. “Cardiovascular collapse.”

Desert Trial was raced once, a month ago at that same track. His line (Equibase): “DESERT TRIAL…moved out in upper stretch then came under a right-handed whip, switched to a left-handed whip…and finished with good courage for the last spot in the superfecta.” Whipped with both hands – “finished with good courage.”

How profoundly sad.

The Saratoga ’16 Dead

Hadeed Fi Hadeed, May 30, training
Squire Creek, July 16, training
Zamjara, July 23, race 1
Rootformejustin, July 23, race 5
Indian Nobility, July 27, race 3
Domestic Warrior, August 1, race 4
Lebowski, August 2, “found dead outside stall”
Jonrah, August 3, training
Midnight Visitor, August 4, prior to race 4
Prince Corredor, August 20, training
Elusive Neko, August 24, training
Bob Le Beau, August 25, race 1
Ring of Truth, August 25, race 10
Desert Trial, August 28, training

MORE BY PATRICK BATTUELLO

The Inevitability of Dead Racehorses »

The Wrongs »


BY JANE ALLIN

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