TAA Funding: It’s more than a start

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

Thursday’s announcement by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance that it has agreements from numerous organizations to help fund racehorse retirement and retraining charities certainly is welcome news. In fact, it’s well past time for the industry to recognize that it has not been doing nearly enough to support the equine athletes upon which all of us depend.

The challenge is enormous. Each year thousands of Thoroughbreds leave the racetrack because they are either too slow to compete or have suffered an injury that makes it impossible for them to race again. A small percentage of these horses are good enough to become stallions and broodmares. Some of them are taken care of by their owners or breeders. The vast majority falls into the category of the “unwanted horse.”

Dozens if not hundreds of retraining and retirement operations, nearly all of them operating on a shoestring budget and depending on the kindness of strangers, provide some semblance of a safety net, but it’s not nearly enough. For many years, horse slaughter was a realistic if grim option, but American slaughter plants have been closed, and an ever-increasing number of racetracks have adopted anti-slaughter policies, making it even harder for owners and trainers to dispose of the animals for shipment to rendering facilities in Canada or Mexico.

In the meantime, the American public has become far more sensitive on the issue of animal rights. The Thoroughbred industry has rightly been criticized for not caring for its athletes, and for disposing  of them unceremoniously.

That’s why the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is so important.

It all started because Thoroughbred owner Jack Wolf saw the growing problem and felt someone needed to push for institutional funding for aftercare programs. He organized a meeting in June of 2011, stressed the importance of industry-wide funding, and kept pushing. Earlier this year, the creation of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance was formally announced, and a skeleton staff was put together using seed money from The Jockey Club, Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup.

Thursday’s announcement shows how far the TAA has come, with 13 major Kentucky farms on-board, along with all of the major American Thoroughbred auction companies, The Jockey Club, and at least two of the racetracks owned by Frank Stronach.

The funding formula among those different groups means TAA will have roughly $5 million to spend on Thoroughbred aftercare, beginning in 2013. Not nearly enough to seriously address the problem, but it’s a start.

Click here to see who is participating.

The Unwanted Horse Coalition estimates each retired racehorse costs approximately $2,000 a year to care for, so $5 million will provide for about 2,500 horses for one year. The next year those same 2,500 horses will cost another $5 million, plus a whole new group of horses will be leaving the racetrack and needing someone to take care of them. Multiply that out for 10 or 15 years for the life of each of those horses, and you’ll see that a pretty significant amount of money is needed.

But just because we can’t provide for every horse doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for any of them. And the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is far from being the only funding tool in place. CARMA, the California-based funding group that has pledged to work with the TAA, raises about $400,000 a year. Other tracks, like Penn National and Parx Racing in Pennsylvania, already have programs in place, as do some horsemen’s associations.

Would it be better if every racetrack and every horsemen’s organization, along jockeys, veterinarians and others, decided to work with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance? Of course, because it would save money in administrative costs that could be better spent on caring for horses. It would show the world this industry has a unified front in dealing with a serious problem. That’s not how horse racing works in the United States, unfortunately. Too many organizations and individuals think THEY have a better idea of how to do things. That’s why we’re in the state we are in.

It would be easy for me or anyone else at this stage of the TAA’s fragile existence to single out this track, or that stallion farm, or this group of industry participants for not joining in on this extremely important cause. Considering how far we’ve come since Jack Wolf had that first meeting in New York 16 months ago, it’s far more productive to focus on the positive momentum this movement has had.

It’s more than a start. It’s an indication a growing number of people in the Thoroughbred industry understands that funding Thoroughbred aftercare is the right thing to do.

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • FourCats

    “The Thoroughbred industry has rightly been criticized for not caring for its athletes, and for disposing  of them unceremoniously.”

    I disagree (and take some offense) with this statement.  As an owner of several horses (one of which is retired), I consider myself a part (albeit a small part) of the Thoroughbred industry.  All of my horses, retired or not, are fully taken care of through my dollars entirely (and none of them have been “disposed of unceremoniously” or in any other way as well).

    The criticism doesn’t belong with the mythical entity referred to as “the Thoroughbred industry” but with the actual owners of the horses who are not willing to pay for the care and upkeep of the horse or horses who belong to them, regardless of whether or not they are retired.  Blaming the “industry”, and thus consequently everyone in it without distinction as to who is responsible and who is not, is simply wrong.

    By the way, my cost for my retired horse is slightly less than $8,000 per year.  Perhaps I am vastly overpaying (certainly possible), but I would be interested to know what quality of care can be done for less than $6/day including day rates, vet care/inoculations, etc. (using the $2,000 per horse number in the article divided by 365).

    • RayPaulick

      Many individuals have been supporting racehorse retirement, either taking care of their own horses or supporting existing programs. But there has been no institutional funding until now.

      • FourCats

        The implication that I infer from your article and reply is that you think that the “industry” should be criticized because there has been no institutional funding.  But I believe that the funding is not the “industry’s” job or responsibility but the job and personal responsibility of the owners of the horses.  (I do understand that that is a quaint and unrealistic notion in today’s world where for many, individual personal responsibility is a foreign concept.)

        I applaud the groups like TAA that are trying to help the situation as I applaud all charities that try to help.  But the criticism for the situation belongs to the irresponsible owners, not to the “industry”.

        • Barbara

          The owners and breeders and trainers ARE the industry. But without the horse, there is NO industry. This collective and organized effort is long overdue. And in a nod to Ray, I will wait an appropriate amount of time before taking a shot at the half dozen major stallion farms that didn’t sign on;-)

        • Opalisa2505

          I could not agree more.  It is the responsibility of the owners to look after their horses when they get old and infirm but how many do that?  I would suspect only a handful.  I have 4 old broodmares at home and one of my foals I rescued out of the United States.  However, this means I can’t retire because I could not afford to look after them without my job.  I thinnk it costs a lot more than 2000 a year to look after a horse properly.  I would put it at at least 3500.

          • nu-fan

            I would think that veterinary care could increase that estimate by a lot.

        • Larry Ensor

          I beg to differ. It certainly is the Industries responsibility! It is the responsibility of EVERY single person, business, that either draws a check directly or indirectly from the racing, breeding and sale of Thoroughbreds. Not just the last person holding the bag. Everyone needs to pitch in! This is the number 1 issue that needs to be addressed and cleaned up. With the advent of the internet and social media we can no longer hide our dirty little secrets. My apologies to those who have had to keep reading my repeated comments/rant on the subject over the years here on the PR and other forums.

          • nu-fan

            Larry:  I always look forward to your comments.  They are reasonable, intelligent, and socially responsible.  You owe no one any apologies!  Those who criticize may not realize that the world has gotten so much smaller and a lot of that is due to technology.  Information that may have been more easily hidden, in the past, no longer can do so.  Social media has exploded that wall that separated people and their acts.  And, there is an old saying from the 60s:  “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  I believe in that still.  Everyone in the horseracing industry needs to accept their share of responsibility in what is going on in the horseracing industry–even fans, since we are the ones who fuel that industry with our money.

    • Larry Ensor

      It cost us around $1,500+ for each retired pasture pet at our farm. The last time I ran the numbers. On average they get 6 lbs of sweet feed per day, 15lbs of hay each per day in the winter, trimmed about every 6 weeks. We order vaccinations in bulk and give ourselves which saves over $80 per horse from what a Vet charges. They pretty much live out 24-7 except in extremely bad weather and are blanketed when needed. They are in good flesh and coats. In short they live a natural horse’s life. Obviously a major medical issue could bump that up considerably. However this does not take into account the cost of field/pasture maintenance, and other associated farm costs. Hopefully these costs will be carried by our “income” producing horses. These horses are retired broodmares and horses that had too many “issues” to be deemed worthy of re-schooling for other uses. We also bale our own hay. Our feed comes from an excellent family owned mill at a cost of around $20 per 100 lbs verses “national” brands that charge around $18+ per 50 lbs. “Field” board for those that do not have their own farm cost around $250-400 in this area of SE Pennsylvania.

  • FourCats

    “The Thoroughbred industry has rightly been criticized for not caring for its athletes, and for disposing  of them unceremoniously.”

    I disagree (and take some offense) with this statement.  As an owner of several horses (one of which is retired), I consider myself a part (albeit a small part) of the Thoroughbred industry.  All of my horses, retired or not, are fully taken care of through my dollars entirely (and none of them have been “disposed of unceremoniously” or in any other way as well).

    The criticism doesn’t belong with the mythical entity referred to as “the Thoroughbred industry” but with the actual owners of the horses who are not willing to pay for the care and upkeep of the horse or horses who belong to them, regardless of whether or not they are retired.  Blaming the “industry”, and thus consequently everyone in it without distinction as to who is responsible and who is not, is simply wrong.

    By the way, my cost for my retired horse is slightly less than $8,000 per year.  Perhaps I am vastly overpaying (certainly possible), but I would be interested to know what quality of care can be done for less than $6/day including day rates, vet care/inoculations, etc. (using the $2,000 per horse number in the article divided by 365).

  • http://twitter.com/BarrettsEquine Barretts Equine Ltd.

    Ray, read your own webiste.  Thoroughbred auction companies ARE supporting this.

    • RayPaulick

      The erroneous inclusion of auction companies as holdouts was inadvertent and has been corrected. Thank you to Barretts, Fasig-Tipton, OBS and Keeneland for participation in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

  • http://twitter.com/BarrettsEquine Barretts Equine Ltd.

    Ray, read your own webiste.  Thoroughbred auction companies ARE supporting this.

  • RayPaulick

    The erroneous inclusion of auction companies as holdouts was inadvertent and has been corrected. Thank you to Barretts, Fasig-Tipton, OBS and Keeneland for participation in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

  • RayPaulick

    Many individuals have been supporting racehorse retirement, either taking care of their own horses or supporting existing programs. But there has been no institutional funding until now.

  • FourCats

    The implication that I infer from your article and reply is that you think that the “industry” should be criticized because there has been no institutional funding.  But I believe that the funding is not the “industry’s” job or responsibility but the job and personal responsibility of the owners of the horses.  (I do understand that that is a quaint and unrealistic notion in today’s world where for many, individual personal responsibility is a foreign concept.)

    I applaud the groups like TAA that are trying to help the situation as I applaud all charities that try to help.  But the criticism for the situation belongs to the irresponsible owners, not to the “industry”.

  • Beachy

    I would ask that anyone who loves this sport give some, at least, $$ every year to support thoroughbred “rehab”, rescue and retirement.  Even $10.00 once in a while will buy a bale of hay and help feed a couple of “guys” for a day.  Thanks, and kudos to all who are helping, especially people like FourCats below who are RESPONSIBLE owners.  All prayers, too… 

  • Beachy

    I would ask that anyone who loves this sport give some, at least, $$ every year to support thoroughbred “rehab”, rescue and retirement.  Even $10.00 once in a while will buy a bale of hay and help feed a couple of “guys” for a day.  Thanks, and kudos to all who are helping, especially people like FourCats below who are RESPONSIBLE owners.  All prayers, too… 

  • Barbara

    The owners and breeders and trainers ARE the industry. But without the horse, there is NO industry. This collective and organized effort is long overdue. And in a nod to Ray, I will wait an appropriate amount of time before taking a shot at the half dozen major stallion farms that didn’t sign on;-)

  • nu-fan

    Mr. Paulick:  This is, indeed, very good news.  No doubt about it.  I do have to wonder, however, what took the industry so long to figure out what their responsibilities are in the care of horses after their racing careers had ended.  Regardless, I’m very thankful that the decisions that they’ve made are coming to fruition.  But, you commented on the concern about how far the money will go with the continuing arrival of more retired racehorses each year.  So, my question is: Are these horses being overbred?  I have never seen this addressed on your website.

    • Princessspiro

      Nu-fan;
      I have read all of your comments and you just hit the nail on the head for each one. And you are very polite, I enjoy reading them  and Mr Ensor’s as well. It is good to see people involved and caring about the sport they love, and that includes Mr paulick providing the forum in which to do so. In fact I must comment that this website  has extremely educated and caring responders, I am very impressed.

    • L Hartley2

      i appreciate your answer bringing up the question of overbreeding. that seems to be the elephant in the room. we wouldn’t have so many unwanted horses leaving the track without the thousands that are entering the track per year. what is the average number of foals born this year? 22,000 to 34,000? i understand not all of those are race-worthy, so this also begs the question how many foals are being destroyed because they don’t have the attributes to be a good race horse?

      does every horse that won a million dollars need to be retired to stud? does every filly need to become a broodmare?

      how can standards be set to cope with the sheer number of foals born every year? who determines what horse should be bred and which ones should not?

      • Princessspiro

        Thank you.

  • nu-fan

    Mr. Paulick:  This is, indeed, very good news.  No doubt about it.  I do have to wonder, however, what took the industry so long to figure out what their responsibilities are in the care of horses after their racing careers had ended.  Regardless, I’m very thankful that the decisions that they’ve made are coming to fruition.  But, you commented on the concern about how far the money will go with the continuing arrival of more retired racehorses each year.  So, my question is: Are these horses being overbred?  I have never seen this addressed on your website.

  • Keywestnorth

    The funding is great!!! However, I do hope that the Aftercare facilities will be required to complete some type of verification process similar to the GFAS (Global Federaion of Animal Sanctuary) requirements achieved by equine and other rescues across the world. This is like a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” sadly necessary today because some equine organizations that call themselves “aftercare” and “rescues” are not properly utilizing the funds for the care of the animals. Providing a certification (which evaluates books, barns, vets, etc) will provide these great orgs ( that have stepped up so very generously) with the confidence that these programs will provide the horses with aftercare and retraining.

    • RayPaulick

      TAA is in the process of verifications. It’s a big project, and GFAS certainly is one option.

  • Keywestnorth

    The funding is great!!! However, I do hope that the Aftercare facilities will be required to complete some type of verification process similar to the GFAS (Global Federaion of Animal Sanctuary) requirements achieved by equine and other rescues across the world. This is like a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” sadly necessary today because some equine organizations that call themselves “aftercare” and “rescues” are not properly utilizing the funds for the care of the animals. Providing a certification (which evaluates books, barns, vets, etc) will provide these great orgs ( that have stepped up so very generously) with the confidence that these programs will provide the horses with aftercare and retraining.

  • Opalisa2505

    I could not agree more.  It is the responsibility of the owners to look after their horses when they get old and infirm but how many do that?  I would suspect only a handful.  I have 4 old broodmares at home and one of my foals I rescued out of the United States.  However, this means I can’t retire because I could not afford to look after them without my job.  I thinnk it costs a lot more than 2000 a year to look after a horse properly.  I would put it at at least 3500.

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    I also think that euthanization must be part of the plan for those that can not go into second careers if there are no retirement homes available. Change is necessary in the Thoroughbred industry because the public will no longer accept these athletes being thrown away like thrash to a kill buyer at the end of their careers. 
    Something MUST be put in place so trainers are not burdened with this huge responsibility when horses fall into lower level races and no one wants their horses when they are finished. At the end of the day, constant attacks on the racing industry will not solve the problem. Having trainers banned will not fix the problem and it is simply causing them to become enemies to the horses and those that love them. Instead we MUST be to empower them with possible solutions. 

    I think this is a wonderful beginning to that solution but I am still doubtful that it will reach out to the horses and help those that are MOST in need. We need to remember that many horses that leave racing are not eligible for second careers and not pasture sound. They are the ones that we see every single day going off to slaughter. 

    • RayPaulick

      It’s my understanding that an acceptable euthanasia policy will be mandatory for any retirement/retraining organization to receive TAA funding.

      • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

        That is wonderful Ray… absolutely the best thing for many horses that are facing slaughter 

    • Princessspiro

      Mary; You seem to offer the choice of death or death. You cannot empower the owners with the choice of euthanasia without oversight, that is no different than them sending the horses to slaughter auctions with no oversight. Who determines and by what standard do you evaluate whether a horse is”not eligible for second careers and not pasture sound”, I am assuming not pasture sound means they cannot be left out 24/7, I don’t believe that is what a reliable retirement home does, is it? I certainly don’t agree that the owners/trainers should be able to continue to make arbitrary decisions without accountability, or standards for “irredeemable” horses. Quite frankly, your suggestion would afford them to continue to race their horse into the ground and then claim they cannot be retrained or are too lame to be pasture sound so they can euthanize them.  And there are trainers that should be banned, you cannot just offer carrots without the stick. I am certain your heart is in the right place, but your logic is not. And Mr Paulick’s reply to you is a diplomatic way of saying the same thing.

      • nu-fan

        Princessspiro:  First, thank you for you kind words in a reply later on this page.  The “reply” and “like” links are not working under all of the comments, especially those toward the end of the comment list.  Now, in my reply to your comments here is that I have to agree with you.  I sometimes wonder if some horses are euthanized because it is the easier and more convenient route to go for some owners.  And, some of these owners may not have high ethics or standards.  I would have some serious hesitations in allowing just any individual to make this determination.

        • L Hartley2

          i still think a drastic reduction in the number of thoroughbred and quarter horse foals has to happen. no matter how many retirement, retraining facilities there are, there are not enough to take in all the horses that become “unwanted” each year. i am anti-slaughter, but have no answers, only questions.

          • nu-fan

            L Hartley2:  Of course.  The core problem seems to be too many horses in the first place. 

    • Liz O’Connell

      The overwhelming majority of thoroughbreds going to slaughter are not old, crippled, infirm or rogue.Those have been the excuses all these years, but the evidence of the horses pulled daily from kill-pens tells another story. They are sound, they are biddable. They are there because of predators looking to make a quick buck off of them rather than make an effort to place or rehome them.

  • Larry Ensor

    It cost us around $1,500+ for each retired pasture pet at our farm. The last time I ran the numbers. On average they get 6 lbs of sweet feed per day, 15lbs of hay each per day in the winter, trimmed about every 6 weeks. We order vaccinations in bulk and give ourselves which saves over $80 per horse from what a Vet charges. They pretty much live out 24-7 except in extremely bad weather and are blanketed when needed. They are in good flesh and coats. In short they live a natural horse’s life. Obviously a major medical issue could bump that up considerably. However this does not take into account the cost of field/pasture maintenance, and other associated farm costs. Hopefully these costs will be carried by our “income” producing horses. These horses are retired broodmares and horses that had too many “issues” to be deemed worthy of re-schooling for other uses. We also bale our own hay. Our feed comes from an excellent family owned mill at a cost of around $20 per 100 lbs verses “national” brands that charge around $18+ per 50 lbs. “Field” board for those that do not have their own farm cost around $250-400 in this area of SE Pennsylvania.

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    I also think that euthanization must be part of the plan for those that can not go into second careers if there are no retirement homes available. Change is necessary in the Thoroughbred industry because the public will no longer accept these athletes being thrown away like thrash to a kill buyer at the end of their careers. 
    Something MUST be put in place so trainers are not burdened with this huge responsibility when horses fall into lower level races and no one wants their horses when they are finished. At the end of the day, constant attacks on the racing industry will not solve the problem. Having trainers banned will not fix the problem and it is simply causing them to become enemies to the horses and those that love them. Instead we MUST be to empower them with possible solutions. 

    I think this is a wonderful beginning to that solution but I am still doubtful that it will reach out to the horses and help those that are MOST in need. We need to remember that many horses that leave racing are not eligible for second careers and not pasture sound. They are the ones that we see every single day going off to slaughter. 

  • Larry Ensor

    I beg to differ. It certainly is the Industries responsibility! It is the responsibility of EVERY single person, business, that either draws a check directly or indirectly from the racing, breeding and sale of Thoroughbreds. Not just the last person holding the bag. Everyone needs to pitch in! This is the number 1 issue that needs to be addressed and cleaned up. With the advent of the internet and social media we can no longer hide our dirty little secrets. My apologies to those who have had to keep reading my repeated comments/rant on the subject over the years here on the PR and other forums.

  • RayPaulick

    It’s my understanding that an acceptable euthanasia policy will be mandatory for any retirement/retraining organization to receive TAA funding.

  • RayPaulick

    TAA is in the process of verifications. It’s a big project, and GFAS certainly is one option.

  • Michael

    Ray, Great piece  Thank you so much to Jack Wolf, Mike Ziegler and everyone at NTRA. They should be congratulated for putting these pieces in place We’ve been trying to do something like this for years and never got very far. It took diligence, intelligence and diplomacy to accomplish this great effort It will also draw new owners into this great sport because we’re finally making a coordinated effort to provide social security for our spectacular athletes Thanks again

  • Michael

    Ray, Great piece  Thank you so much to Jack Wolf, Mike Ziegler and everyone at NTRA. They should be congratulated for putting these pieces in place We’ve been trying to do something like this for years and never got very far. It took diligence, intelligence and diplomacy to accomplish this great effort It will also draw new owners into this great sport because we’re finally making a coordinated effort to provide social security for our spectacular athletes Thanks again

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    That is wonderful Ray… absolutely the best thing for many horses that are facing slaughter 

  • nu-fan

    Larry:  I always look forward to your comments.  They are reasonable, intelligent, and socially responsible.  You owe no one any apologies!  Those who criticize may not realize that the world has gotten so much smaller and a lot of that is due to technology.  Information that may have been more easily hidden, in the past, no longer can do so.  Social media has exploded that wall that separated people and their acts.  And, there is an old saying from the 60s:  “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  I believe in that still.  Everyone in the horseracing industry needs to accept their share of responsibility in what is going on in the horseracing industry–even fans, since we are the ones who fuel that industry with our money.

  • nu-fan

    I would think that veterinary care could increase that estimate by a lot.

  • Princessspiro

    Mary; You seem to offer the choice of death or death. You cannot empower the owners with the choice of euthanasia without oversight, that is no different than them sending the horses to slaughter auctions with no oversight. Who determines and by what standard do you evaluate whether a horse is”not eligible for second careers and not pasture sound”, I am assuming not pasture sound means they cannot be left out 24/7, I don’t believe that is what a reliable retirement home does, is it? I certainly don’t agree that the owners/trainers should be able to continue to make arbitrary decisions without accountability, or standards for “irredeemable” horses. Quite frankly, your suggestion would afford them to continue to race their horse into the ground and then claim they cannot be retrained or are too lame to be pasture sound so they can euthanize them.  And there are trainers that should be banned, you cannot just offer carrots without the stick. I am certain your heart is in the right place, but your logic is not. And Mr Paulick’s reply to you is a diplomatic way of saying the same thing.

  • Princessspiro

    Nu-fan;
    I have read all of your comments and you just hit the nail on the head for each one. And you are very polite, I enjoy reading them  and Mr Ensor’s as well. It is good to see people involved and caring about the sport they love, and that includes Mr paulick providing the forum in which to do so. In fact I must comment that this website  has extremely educated and caring responders, I am very impressed.

  • Jen OUT of Control

    I love this! My friend and I do our own part by finding homes for TBs from a nearby IL track.  Some of these guys are pasture pets and others we retrain and then find homes.  We eat the expenses because we love these guys.  We have other horses that are just are own.  And yes we dont spend 8000 a year supporting one.  We are hands on, feed good feed from a mill and hay from local farmers.  We do it to make a difference one horse at a time.  So this is great news.  Maybe we wont get 15 phone calls a week for horses who need homes that have a “knee” or an “ankle and are hard to place.  These guys will have a place to go.  We will do it til we cant afford it anymore or one of them kills us.  Until then, if more people would do this maybe we Can save them all. :)

  • Jen OUT of Control

    I love this! My friend and I do our own part by finding homes for TBs from a nearby IL track.  Some of these guys are pasture pets and others we retrain and then find homes.  We eat the expenses because we love these guys.  We have other horses that are just are own.  And yes we dont spend 8000 a year supporting one.  We are hands on, feed good feed from a mill and hay from local farmers.  We do it to make a difference one horse at a time.  So this is great news.  Maybe we wont get 15 phone calls a week for horses who need homes that have a “knee” or an “ankle and are hard to place.  These guys will have a place to go.  We will do it til we cant afford it anymore or one of them kills us.  Until then, if more people would do this maybe we Can save them all. :)

  • L Hartley2

    i appreciate your answer bringing up the question of overbreeding. that seems to be the elephant in the room. we wouldn’t have so many unwanted horses leaving the track without the thousands that are entering the track per year. what is the average number of foals born this year? 22,000 to 34,000? i understand not all of those are race-worthy, so this also begs the question how many foals are being destroyed because they don’t have the attributes to be a good race horse?

    does every horse that won a million dollars need to be retired to stud? does every filly need to become a broodmare?

    how can standards be set to cope with the sheer number of foals born every year? who determines what horse should be bred and which ones should not?

  • Princessspiro

    Thank you.

  • Liz O’Connell

    The overwhelming majority of thoroughbreds going to slaughter are not old, crippled, infirm or rogue.Those have been the excuses all these years, but the evidence of the horses pulled daily from kill-pens tells another story. They are sound, they are biddable. They are there because of predators looking to make a quick buck off of them rather than make an effort to place or rehome them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Norman/100000151556184 Lisa Norman

    “unceremoniously disposed of” really? I guess being vivisected while still conscious is rather unceremonious. Unwanted Horse Coalition is Sue Wallis pro-slaughter proponent so of course UHC is going to discourage any re-homing for equine athletes. UHC would rather sell meat not safe for human consumption to foreigners than address the problem of over-breeding. Obscene amounts of money are made at the racetracks and all those who profit from the horses (owners, breeders, jockeys, trainers, fans, etc.) should contribute to the retirement of these athletes whether through a tax, entry fee, etc. with breeders contributing the lion’s share as they are the root of the problem.
    Also thoroughbreds are started way too young when their bones are not fully mature, if this problem was eliminated, maybe horses could have longer careers and not be so “disposable”. 

    • nu-fan

      Lisa Norman:  If owners were able to race their horses for a longer period of time, I wonder if that would slow the process of these owners buying so many yearlings each year?  Perhaps, the retirement age would slowly creep back up.  Also, I believe that the National Humane Society has come out, some time ago, with their stand that horses should not be run until the age of 4 for the very reason that you stated.  With so many injuries this year sustained by 3-year olds–and, being retired–I often wonder if the reason for these injuries might not be because of the fact that immature and undeveloped bones are taking such a beating.  And, if they continued their racing careers, would these horses be reducing the numbers that need to be retired?   

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Norman/100000151556184 Lisa Norman

    “unceremoniously disposed of” really? I guess being vivisected while still conscious is rather unceremonious. Unwanted Horse Coalition is Sue Wallis pro-slaughter proponent so of course UHC is going to discourage any re-homing for equine athletes. UHC would rather sell meat not safe for human consumption to foreigners than address the problem of over-breeding. Obscene amounts of money are made at the racetracks and all those who profit from the horses (owners, breeders, jockeys, trainers, fans, etc.) should contribute to the retirement of these athletes whether through a tax, entry fee, etc. with breeders contributing the lion’s share as they are the root of the problem.
    Also thoroughbreds are started way too young when their bones are not fully mature, if this problem was eliminated, maybe horses could have longer careers and not be so “disposable”. 

  • nu-fan

    Princessspiro:  First, thank you for you kind words in a reply later on this page.  The “reply” and “like” links are not working under all of the comments, especially those toward the end of the comment list.  Now, in my reply to your comments here is that I have to agree with you.  I sometimes wonder if some horses are euthanized because it is the easier and more convenient route to go for some owners.  And, some of these owners may not have high ethics or standards.  I would have some serious hesitations in allowing just any individual to make this determination.

  • L Hartley2

    i still think a drastic reduction in the number of thoroughbred and quarter horse foals has to happen. no matter how many retirement, retraining facilities there are, there are not enough to take in all the horses that become “unwanted” each year. i am anti-slaughter, but have no answers, only questions.

  • nu-fan

    Lisa Norman:  If owners were able to race their horses for a longer period of time, I wonder if that would slow the process of these owners buying so many yearlings each year?  Perhaps, the retirement age would slowly creep back up.  Also, I believe that the National Humane Society has come out, some time ago, with their stand that horses should not be run until the age of 4 for the very reason that you stated.  With so many injuries this year sustained by 3-year olds–and, being retired–I often wonder if the reason for these injuries might not be because of the fact that immature and undeveloped bones are taking such a beating.  And, if they continued their racing careers, would these horses be reducing the numbers that need to be retired?   

  • nu-fan

    L Hartley2:  Of course.  The core problem seems to be too many horses in the first place. 

Twitter