Wirth: The racing industry needs to take a stand against slaughter

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In The Saturday Post, Jennifer Wirth takes the U.S. horse racing industry to task for its failure to take a united stance against horse slaughter. Instead, writes Wirth, while the racing industry remains silent, pro-slaughter advocate and Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis has stepped up as a representative of “horsemen” in the media.  Wallis has taken the national media spotlight, referring to horse meat as “tasty,” while issues such as bute contamination in racehorse meat are swept under the rug.

It is a sad reality that horse slaughter perpetuates more slaughter, writes Wirth. Slaughterhouses begin breeding horses for the sole purpose of slaughter as supplies of unwanted horses dwindle. Yet major players in racing have not stepped up to show their concern or offer counter approaches to slaughter.


Wirth poses some poignant questions:

“What would the ‘horse world’ look like in mainstream media if prominent trainers, high-profile owners and celebrity jockeys publicly opposed slaughter and called for the passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act?

“What if our industry began to brainstorm long-term funding initiatives to ensure the humane treatment of ‘unwanted’ horses throughout their natural lives?

“And, what kind of money could be raised to provide for ‘unwanted’ horses this year if we cancelled the races for one single day at every track in this nation and donated the scheduled purse money toward rescue efforts?”

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  • Watcher

    Agreed.

    IMO Racing Secretaries could do the industry a great service by giving weight allowances in all non-stakes races to neutered racehorses (male and female).

    Give the owners/trainers an incentive to de-sex their horses, which will have the long-term effect of reducing the number of ill-bred and unwanted horses.

  • stillriledup

    The racing industry can’t even tie their own shoes, they can’t even get post times coordinated, they can’t even get serious cheaters out of the game. Racing industry higher-ups have no backbone, why would we think that they would ever ‘stand up for whats right’ ?

  • Caroline Betts

    Agree completely that this industry should take a stand, but while organizations such as the NTRA remain officially “neutral” on horse slaughter, it appears unlikely. Unfortunately, while mandatory/institutional industry funding equal to just 1% of national handle as a shared burden among all recipients in racing could essentially eradicate the phenomenon of racehorse slaughter, more generally “rescue” is not a substitute for slaughter. Slaughter is driven by foreign demand, not by the need for some Americans to conveniently dispose of their horses. If racehorses were no longer slaughtered, someone’s horse would be in their place until the Europeans and other end consumers finally wake up and smell the coffee that is inherently toxic recreational horse meat. I think it’s time for everyone to acknowledge where the concept of the “unwanted horse” came from: its existence and the media/propaganda created to support its existence was FUNDED by big agricultural and food production interests during and since the successful fight by horse advocates to close the last few US horse slaughter plants. The same interests who you now see on Sue Wallis’s list of “supporters” of re-turning horse slaughter to the USA – because (damn it) slaughter of US animals for food production is their domain, and besides its a slippery (if irrational) slope from banning horse slaughter to eliminating the mass consumption of products from creatures that are actually food as opposed to recreational and sport animals. It has been a very successful campaign to persuade otherwise sympathetic horse owners that somehow the closure of the US plants has “caused” an increase in abandonment and neglect. That is a logically fallacious, statistically unfounded, and simply untrue argument – however it has been successful in swaying the conscience of those who matter most to the issue: good, conscientious horse people – who now incorrectly perceive slaughter as an alternative to starvation. Good luck with swaying even some of the best intentioned members of the racing industry, those who do genuinely care about racehorse retirement, from that belief. You appear to have bought the line yourself!

  • Nashua

    Following is what a leading trainer from another equine discipline (not racing) wrote on a forum like this one. My purpose in posting it is to demonstrate that people who make their living training horses don’t agree on the slaughter issue.

    “…I am relieved that the Congress has decided to return Equine Slaughter to the United States. Although certainly not something I am fond of it has proven to be a very necessary “evil” and by bringing it back to the “States”, horses can be assured of humane treatment in their transportation and euthanization under our very stringent laws governing slaughter. The unspeakable travesties that they have suffered since the 2006 ban that ended their protection and forced them to be shipped to Mexico and Canada should have never been allowed to happen and hopefully will never happen again.”

  • Caroline Betts

    And this is another example of propaganda – somehow the US industry was and will be a superior way to slaughter horses to that in Canada and Mexico. Dr Tom Lenz ( of AVMA, AAEP, and Unwanted Horse Coalition fame) had this to say about the Mexican slaughter plants killing US horses for EU consumption in 2009 – at a time when presumably it served their purpose for AVMA vets to maintain at least an export market:

    http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/mar09/090301h.asp

    Now in the wake of increased support for domestic horse slaughter the AVMA has conveniently decided that Mexico is replete with atrocities. Perhaps the same atrocities that are recorded in hundreds of pages of USDA files documenting abuse of humane laws in the United States obtained via the freedom of information act (FOIA) which you can read, should you be interested in the truth about humane conditions in this country’s slaughter industry, in the documents recorded on this webpage:

    http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/foia.htm

    And should anyone be interested in humane violations at a state of the art slaughter facility in Canada which was designed by Temple Grandin, here is a new report on captive bolt #fail in that facility:

    http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html

    Horses are not “designed” to be slaughtered as food animals. The process is inherently cruel. And the rationale is utterly bogus.

  • NY Owner

    Neutered female horses? No one spays horses as it is prohibitively expensive and unnecissary since horses don’t run around loose and reproduce indiscriminately. You can also thank the well-meaning folks who put testosterone and steroids on the list of disallowed meds as they have ensured that fewer colts are being gelded. It is time the racing industry did a better job of promoting and enforcing responsible retirement and/or reschooling of race horses. I am tired though of people who know nothing about what it actually takes to train and care for these animals making policy. They are making it harder to do the right thing, not easier.

  • http://www.liberationfarm.com Rob Whiteley

    Sorting out the issues and making responsible decisions can be very difficult when love and compassion are heightened by intense feelings of concern. When the slaughter of beloved and wonderful creatures is the topic, it is hard to cut through emotions in order to arrive at a rational position with attached goals and objectives. Nonetheless, it would be helpful to step beyond emotionally charged positions enough to see that the discussion needs to focus on humane treatment, not slaughter or slaughter houses, per se. In short, we need unity around a master plan that emphasizes humane treatment for unwanted horses.

    Over three years ago, I wrote in the Thoroughbred Times (11-22-2008) that anti-slaughter proponents needed a comprehensive plan to accompany their efforts to close down slaughter houses. I argued that the fundamental issue is not “slaughter” but humane treatment, and that simply closing down slaughter houses would create negative unintended consequences for unwanted horses greater than those being experienced at the time.

    I stated: “Every horseman on the planet worthy of the name is in favor of stopping the cruelty and suffering … and whichever side prevails, both sides can find common ground on the importance of preventing cruelty. If anti-slaughter groups win the day, they need to accomplish more than closing down slaughter houses, which is a specific act and not a solution to a growing problem. The 2007 Horse Protection Act and [subsequent] legislation fail to provide a follow-up plan for humane care and euthanasia of unwanted horses. We need a comprehensive master plan with adequate funding in place or we will unwittingly create a much larger catastrophe, especially at a time when our economy is in recession and the industry at large is in financial decline.”

    I stand by those words three years later.

    The shameful problem has been created by the entire industry and needs to be fixed by the entire industry. Simply closing down slaughter houses intensifies the problem. The gate-keeper to the production of Thoroughbreds, meaning the Jockey Club, has no greater purpose than being stewards of the product, and should fully commit its resources and leadership to addressing the problem.

    In addition, every participant in the life cycle of a horse should make a contribution toward caring for those horses. Within the Thoroughbred segment, that contribution, as stated, should start with the Jockey Club which has used many millions from its registration monopoly to develop ‘for-profit’ ventures. Half of a foal’s registration fee and all of the profits generated by the JC’s various entreprenurial activities should go into a general fund for the humane retirement or euthanasia of Thoroughbreds at the end of their “careers.” In turn, breeders, stallion owners, sales companies, buyers, agents, veterinarians, farriers, transporters, jockeys, agents, owners, and race tracks (but not bettors who already face counter- productive take-out levels) should be “taxed” each time a service is provided, a horse is sold, or a race run.

    An independent entity whose sole function would be to provide a secure future for horses over their lifespan should be established to collect the “taxes” and administer the master fund equitably and effectively.

  • House is Burning

    Agree with stillriledup. Racing isn’t animal abuse? 2.1 horses are KILLED every 1,000 starts on the track during racing. Morning training? Training centers? Real death rate has to be well north of 4 per 1,000 starts. This doesn’t include the 1,000s of horses who suffer pain daily.

    In an industry where tap, hop, block, and shock are every day terms, they what to stand on a public soap box against humane slaughter. No, let’s place them in industry rescues when many have been neglected and starved. What an industry full of hypocrites and unethical people.

  • Anne

    A few years ago I wrote to our Congressmen Gillibrand and Schumer. Gillibrand was clueless and defended horse slaughter. She has NEVER impressed me and has seemed like a pocket filler and highly ignorant. Schumer…said he would vote against horse slaughter but… seems to have forgotten his stance… mmmm pocket filler? Politics has always been this way and always will. Our President passed it becuase 70 out of 30 cast were in favor. I doubt he even read the bill. He also was probably getting his pockets filled especially with an election coming up. McCain voted against the bill. Too bad he lost the election.
    It is very sad that horses at one time were quite important to American Society. People were hung for stealing them. Now they are hung for their meat. How much of this is actually eaten and how much is wasted?Beef cattle and port meat is left on the shelves with expiration dates following the next day. What happens to this meat? Do they give it to the poor or nursing homes? Or does it go to the local dump? Do we have a society of meat overkill as it stands now? Therefore, we need horse meat, why?
    I agree that owners need to take responsibility for their breeding but many feel once in the claiming ranks,their repsonsiblity is over. Look at the ones that have been rescued. Many have made their various owners and trainers pretty wealthy but are now in horse slaughter pens. We owe them a responsibility toward their future. It is hard to not get emotional over this issue. I for one have a hard time euthanizing the family dog. The difference is: I gave them a good life and they tell me when it is time, I go with them and stay until the ugly deed is over. It is all done with a human touch not some stuffed horse pen where they are whipped and hearded into submission. These are the same ones we bet on, cheered for, and watched owners take into the winners circle when they were wanted to show off. NOW they can show off by doing the right thing for their past performers. Many of us have donated to the cause and it is now their turn to do the same.

  • Janice Palmer

    Rob Whitely,
    Beautifully stated and well thought out — couldn’t agree with you more! Man has created the problem and it is up to man and the racing industry to fix it, not cover it up with further inhumane treatment. There is NOTHING humane about the treatment of the equine at slaughterhouses — abroad or in the USA! The alternatives are doable if everyone making a living off these animals in the thoroughbred industry make themselves accountable and contribute. Euthanasia is the lesser evil, not slaughter, and everyone within the industry should be taking necessary action to make that possibility a reality. Such an undertaking needs organization and never has there been a more shining example of why this sport so badly needs a central governing body! However, guess that’s an argument for another day!
    Obviously I agree totally with the article, having made similar comments in an earlier post attached to a different column. The horse racing industry CAN NOT afford to remain silent on this issue and needs to vocally as well as through their actions show humane support of this animal they make their living off of. Anything short of coming up with humane alternatives, backing it financially, and a movement honored throughout the entire industry, is unacceptable! Horses have meant so much to our country and anyone whose livelihood is dependent on them OWES them their support throughout their natural lives. Sitting on your hands, remaining silent, or leaving it up to others to decide is churking YOUR responsibility and a disgrace to your sport, as well as to the animal that makes horse racing possible. So, get off your couch, get organized with others in your area of work, and take action to help the thoroughbred NOW!

  • bookiebuster1

    the fundamental issue is not “slaughter” but humane treatment, and that simply closing down slaughter houses would create negative unintended consequences for unwanted horses greater than those being experienced at the time. ”

    100% on point and that is exactly what has happenned.

  • Matthew Martini

    This is a racing forum, of course, and the issue of slaughter extends beyond that (e.g., horses owned by ranchers and farmers). I’m from Oregon, and a couple of months ago contacted one of my Senators (Merkley D-OR) in support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966). He was kind enough to respond, and expressed concern about the economy and costs of disposing of horses. I did not agree with him, but I knew where he stood at the time. I hope he keeps studying the issue.

    It is just my opinion, but people need to be accountable for their animals. Horse slaughter is not the answer. Humane euthanasia is. Horse slaughter is a business of which the US should not take part. If we cater to the most crass instincts of the human psyche and spirit, we create a culture of barbarism that degrades us all.

    With the potential reopening of slaughter houses in the US, racing should take a stance to demonstrate leadership in caring for horses, by developing an adequate retirement plan for its participants, and implementing severe penalties to owners/trainers who sell horses to “kill buyers.” Will they do it? I’m not holding my breath.

  • Joe

    Rob, Janice, Caroline thank you!

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    WE ALL NO WALDROP & NTRA HAVE NO BACKBONE…WHERE IS THE SO CALLED JOCKEY CLUB ON ALL THIS???…SPCA MODEL ONLY WAY TO GO…PERIOD…FIGURE THIS OUT & THEN GET OFF YOU A$$E$ & DUE IT!!!…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    ps…YOUR A$$E$…

  • Garrett Redmond

    A first impression is nobody can argue against Rob’s call for unity that emphasizes humane treatment.

    On second thought, there is surely a group emphatically opposed to any avenue leading to death of a horse other than by natural causes – regardless of how painful and long that may be. Starvation is slow and painful. “Consequences should always trump intentions, no matter how benign” (Irving Kristol). That observation would seem to apply to the group.

    One consequence of the “no death” attitude must ultimately be thousands of horses for which there is not enough room in the entire country. That is apart from the question of who will feed them.

    Rob lays the problem at the feet of “the entire industry”. I hope that encompassing term includes more than the Thoroughbred industry. A glance at the number of T’breds born each year versus the number of horses shipped out of the country indicates we are less than 20% contributors to the problem. So, any idea the T’bred industry alone should find/fund solutions would be very unfair.

    I disagree with Rob’s view The Jockey Club is “gate-keeper to the production of Thoroughbreds”. I’m glad it is not. If TJC had that role, I suggest it would try to boost production because every registration is gross income to it. (That is another great reason to bust that monopoly, but that is another subject.)

    There should not be any opposition to TJC committing it’s financial resources to solve the problem as it relates to T’breds. TJC cannot offer leadership to a solution; it has never had any leaders. Otherwise we would not have all the problems killing the industry.

    Without doubt TJC has accumulated vast financial resources from seed money skimmed from the exorbitant registration fees. So Rob’s proposal to repossess all that loot to benefit T’breds should be supported by all in the business.

    Rob’s suggestion for a “tax”, should not be considered. Breeders would be hit with double taxation: first by paying $100 to the ‘Fund’ via registration fees, then again with the sales tax. It might be fair to apply it to “all others”, but there is a downside to that. The scheme would require establishment of a big bureaucracy. That alone would consume most of the income, making the remaining balance a questionable value versus the oppression of yet another taxgatherer.

    Also, bear in mind, bureaucracy is the conversion of energy into solid waste. We already have loads of that.

  • Buglet

    Garrett, I always enjoy reading your comments. Truthful and astute, in many instances.

  • Caroline Betts

    I’d like to ask you people that “buy” the starvation or slaughter alternative argument that has been sold by big ag interests via an organized campaign of deception since the closure of the plants the following question.

    Since the same number of horses are slaughtered now as were prior to the closure of US plants, nobody can argue the option of selling or gifting your horse for slaughter is no longer available. The GAO report argues that auction PRICES have fallen since the plant closure (never mind the methodological flaws of that study): roughly, auction prices of slaughter horses have fallen by about $20 they argue as a result of the closures. Answer me: who in their right mind would fail to send their horse to slaughter for just $20 less than prior to the closures rather than risk being prosecuted for animal neglect and cruelty? That is the argument in a nutshell, per the GAO.

    People who starve their horses have done so NOT because they have lost the option of slaughter – I’ve been at low end horse auctions for five years watching that fallacy at work, and the official numbers tell you otherwise: American horses are being slaughtered at the same rate. These are not the people who SELL their horses for slaughter. Argue all you want about solutions to animal cruelty and neglect in the horse owning population – it’s a separate problem which is utterly IRRELEVANT to the availability of slaughter, domestically or otherwise.

  • Joe

    Garrett R said: “Rob’s suggestion for a “tax”, should not be considered. Breeders would be hit with double taxation: first by paying $100 to the ‘Fund’ via registration fees, then again with the sales tax.”

    The word “tax” could be replaced with “user fee” or “Thoroughbred Social Security”. It wouldn’t have to become a giant, wasteful, corrupted bureaucracy. Some organizations are very well run and this one could be and must be. It could be run mostly or entirely by volunteers with all luxurious dinners and junkets, lavish trips and perks exclusively for and to be enjoyed by the “unwanted” Thoroughbreds.

  • Joe

    The industry should track all horses in training, in particular the sick, injured, vet-listed, steward listed, pulled-up, vanned-off and all horses leaving tracks and training centers for whatever reasons to prevent neglect, abuse, illegal match races, tripping and slaughter.

    The industry should create and financially support way stations at or near all tracks and training centers to accept, examine, medically attend and triage all owner-relinquished race horses that have no safe place to go. They would be turned in legally along with their papers stamped with a: “Do Not Race”. Ideally, owners of “unwanted” horses would pay a relinquishing fee to the way station.

    Tracking of all horses + way stations to relinquish unwanted ones, would assure that all injured and sick “unwanted” horses would receive proper medical attention which is not always the case when horses are claimed injured, become injured or sick and are being dumped. By tracking horses, unethical owners and trainers who give spent and injured horses to grooms as bonuses to make them disappear would be found, exposed and pay substantial fines to their nearest way stations.

    Private veterinarians especially those familiar with particular relinquished horses could donate time and expertise to examine, evaluate and treat them as charitable donations or at a discount. Simple surgical procedures which could make horses comfortable, sound, useful and adoptable would be part of the way-station program. Vet-schools could be involved in several ways including by providing interns and other valuable support. Regulatory vets could help examine, screen and treat those horses.

    Feed, barn, medical and other supplies and equipment could be donated as charitable donations to way stations and/or purchased in bulk at the state or national level to benefit way stations, retirement, rehab and retraining facilities and adopters.

    The non-profit organization(s) in charge of way stations and/or C.A.N.T.E.R. would network to safely place privately and at accredited retirement facilities as many horses as possible in a timely manner then track them and check on them for at least one year. Humane, vet-assisted euthanasia would be part of the program as needed.

  • Cris

    There is not a horse in this country that is safe to eat for human, dog, or cat. So why kill the horse for meat? Race tracks can take retired horses and build a shedrow for those most at risk have them retrained at the track and have an effective adoption program. Breeders should pay a fee for their horse at birth no matter if they register them or not. The fee would cover E/D expenses and a central fund would pay the expenses from these fees. No horse should go to death for meat.

    As for the folks that want to go on about horses getting hurt on the track. Yes, it is dangerous. No one is going to stop racing because you don’t like it. We can fix what really is wrong and turn it around. Go watch you football, NASCAR, or some other event that has its own list of risks. People have been racing horses since they starting riding them. Show horses and pleasure horses take up far more space at the house of death than the racehorse does. Controls need to be in place for all horses and racing needs to take the lead on this.

  • Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D.

    “……and that simply closing down slaughter houses would create negative unintended consequences for unwanted horses greater than those being experienced at the time. ”

    This is completely wrong. The number of horses slaughtered since the plants closed is the same as when the plants were open in the United States. It isn’t the closure of the plants that led to the increase in abuse and neglect, it’s the ECONOMY.

    Here is the what the former Chief USDA vet had to say about horse slaughter when the plants were operating in the US:

    “Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia for the horse. “The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”

    ~ Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector ~

    Horses are fight or flight animals and they just don’t sit in the kill box and keep their head still while an unskilled worker fires the captive bolt. They hear the screams of other horses, smell the blood and do everything they can to fight and flight. Horse slaughter will never be humane.

    Nashua” post is total propaganda as the FOIA taken by a USDA vet showed the horrendous injuries horses suffered being transported to the slaughter plant in Texas. Dr. Betts is totally correct about the FOIA photos. They show a horse’s eye dangling, horses without legs etc. Horse slaughter was INHUMANE when it was carried out in the United States. And, there are no government laws to make horse slaughter humane as evidenced by the FOIA. Nashua is just posting the same ole same ole propaganda from the pro-slaughter camp who want money for any horse they sell to the kill buyer. Horse slaughter is a predatory business and as John Hettinger said so eloquently: “horse slaughter caters to the lowest common denominator.”

    Dr. Betts is an Associate Professor of Economics at a prestigious university in California and she is an expert on the economics of horse meat and she is absolutely correct when she says that it is the demand for horse meat that is driving this greedy and cruel business.

    Horses are not raised for food and our work showed that all 18 Thoroughbred race horses bought for slaughter were given the banned drug phenylbutazone (bute). Bute is banned in all food producing animals, including horses. Yet, these horses were bought for slaughter and given the banned drug. Bute causes idiosyncratic reactions including bone marrow depression and death, hypersensitivity syndromes and death, and a serum sickness-like disorder. Bute is also carcinogenic. This is why the FDA bans the drug in food animals. And, bute is not the only banned drug given to horses. Yet, horses given banned drugs are NOT removed from the slaughter pipeline. Therefore, American horses must not be transported anywhere for slaughter for human consumption.

  • Nina

    The “industry” is self destroying as people won’t attend race tracks because of slaughter.Tons of articles about OTTB at auctions bought by killer buyers.

  • Caroline

    Dr Marini and Cris are absolutely correct of course: we don’t feed our toxic recreational horse products to PETS in this country anymore. Why would any representative of the people with a social conscience – or socially conscious individual – promote HUMAN consumption of the stuff? But listen up: the racing industry has been given the perfect “out” for ignoring the need for funding of humane thoroughbred retirement – the good old US government says its okay not to worry, we’ll take care of that problem for you “humanely”. Never has the fight for industry funded humane retirement for thoroughbreds been tougher…

    And listen up PETA: your self serving “360″ program – you just blew it out of the beautiful blue tuna and dolphin swimming water for the same reason. How utterly selfish. Exactly who is paying your bills these days?

  • http://Bellwether4u.com Bellwether

    SPCA MODEL!!!…WHY R humans SO BLIND???…

  • Jo Anne Normile

    I’m supportive of Jennifer Wirth’s article but must comment on the error of this remark: “What would the ‘horse world’ look like in mainstream media if prominent trainers, high-profile owners and celebrity jockeys publicly opposed slaughter and called for the passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act?”

    Ms. Wirth, this has already happened and maybe you are new to following the horse slaughter issue in horseracing?

    Big name owners, trainers and jockeys have taken a stand against slaughter only to be ignored and ridiculed. They have gone to Washington, written editorials (including having their letters published right here in The Paulick Report with all their names for public view if anyone remembers). They have paid lobbyists and tried to push the alphabet soup organizations to take a stand to no avail. Not one of the leading industry organizations has taken a strong stand to protect the horse despite claims of “putting the horse first”. First where? In the slaughter pipeline?

    Ms. Wirth, please, direct more wrath at these alphabet soup organizations with their CEO’s earning from six figures to millions a year in salaries and benefits. Everyone making a dime because their income is derived from the backs and broken legs of these horses needs to contribute and that means their organization AND themselves individually.

    And let’s talk about the racetracks that grab PR and tout no slaughter policies but expect non-race individuals to enforce the tracks’ policies because they certainly are not watching. When questioned as to the operational details on how Churchill Downs’ no slaughter policy actually works, they were unable to give me a response to my many questions other than “I guess we have a lot to figure out”.

    The racetracks security gates could strictly enforce identification of horses leaving their premises and record the precise destination and contact numbers of where the horses are going so follow up can begin immediately and excuses cannot be fabricated by trainers after they are caught. If the “aftercare programs” the NTRA and tracks like to publicize truly exist, why are trainers not leaving their injured or slow horses at the tracks for their aftercare programs to pick up? Instead, we find them at feed lots and in auctions or sold by private sale to meat buyers. It is also unconscionable that the racetracks and industry organizations allow known kill buyers to have trainer licenses and stalls at racetracks! Stable to table made so very easy.

    We know the racing secretary is aware which horses are repeatedly entered although previously were beaten 20, 40, 50, 60, 70 and yes, even by 90 lengths and where do these “no slaughter policy” track employees think these maimed horses eventually end up?

    There’s no such thing as an “unwanted horse”. I agree with John Hettinger’s train of thought. The owner wanted him when he bought him. He should assume responsibility for him now especially after he was used and abused with drugs and whips as they trickle down to low end claiming races at end of the line tracks with scavenger trainers.

    Millions of dollars are raised each year for rescue…but that is the problem ~ the individuals have to “rescue” the horse. “Rescue” from what? Himself?

    WITHOUT slaughter, WITHOUT race day drugs that force the injured to race, and WITH strict animal welfare enforcement including proper prerace lameness exams, there would not be a problem. If people knew that they had to actually take care of their horses, they would think twice about breeding or buying one.

    You own a horse, then take care of him! You earn a living in racing, give back to the horses that give you the luxury of a job.

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