Monday, March 26, 2012

Did You See This?

I have to post a link to this incredible article in the New York Times about the shocking number of deaths of horses in the sport of horse-racing. Having just reminisced about my memories of going to the races with my dad when I was young, this article is particularly painful for me to read. It all comes down to greed and money, where the horses are simple objects that can be disposed of without any consideration for their well-being. It's really tragic and I hope that this, along with the recent deaths of the horses on the set of the HBO show, "Luck", will cause enough of an uproar to do stop this type of abuse.

For some reason, Blogger won't let this link appear - so please take a minute and paste it into your browser. The article is called "Death and Diarray at America's Racetracks" by WALT BOGDANICH, JOE DRAPE, DARA L. MILES and GRIFFIN PALMER, published on 3/25/12. It is well worth reading, and I"m sorry that I can't link you to it directly.


detroit dog said...

Hi Victoria,

This is sad. I know that this has been going on in Greyhound racing since time immemorial, but it's only recently that we've been hearing in the media about these same issues in horse racing, with a particular interest in the breeding.

You are right that this all comes down to greed and money and the treatment of animals as disposable objects.

Thanks for sharing this article.

As we in greyhound rescue say: Race Cars, Not Dogs! Sounds like it might be appropriate nowadays for horses, too. :-(

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've read it and agree with you about the abuse. Greed and egos are a big part of the racing industry. Did a post on this myself not too long ago. Hopefully, the public will become more aware of what goes on behind the scenes and something can be done to stop it.

Wolfie said...

There is a local, well-respected dog rescue that I used to support. I would do walk-a-thons, publicize their work and donate money. A few years ago, they decided to replace the walk-a-thons with a “day at the races” fundraiser. The supporters watch horse races and enjoy a buffet lunch/dinner and the rescue gets a percentage of the door or whatever. Easier on the rescue staff to coordinate and if the weather was iffy, the participants wouldn’t get wet; the races went on rain or shine. I stopped supporting the rescue group when they made this change. I am not a fan of racing and fundraising on the backs of other animals is distasteful to me.

Perhaps I missed it in the article, but what I find unbelievable is that jockeys don’t refuse to ride and as a group try to make change. Mr. Zamora knew that something wasn’t right with Sinful Heart yet rode anyway and was injured. That poor horse went on to other races, unsound and eventually collapsed and died. Mr. Zamora says because of the injuries he sustained riding Sinful Heart, he rides quality over quantity now. Did he speak for any of the sore horses he has ridden in the past? No. Has he helped change the way racing is? No. Personally, I have a hard time feeling sympathetic for jockeys. It’s all about the money for them, too.

Sorry for being long winded! Stuff like this drives me crazy. :-)

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks to all of you for pasting the article into your browser and taking the time to read it - I'm sorry I couldn't make the direct link work.
Wolfie, I so agree with you- What's wrong with these jockeys? They usually say that they do this job because they love horses, but you've got to wonder - Maybe they know that if they speak up, they'll never ride a good horse again? The jockey association as a whole should stand up for the rights of the horses. It's all really shocking.

juliette said...

Hi Victoria,

I didn't read the article or try to go to the link. It is all too painful. I am raw with sadness for horses and dogs who are forced to race. I haven't watched a horse race since 1975 when I witnessed the Ruffian tragedy on TV - I can't remember if I saw it happen live or on the news repeat, but I was only 8 years old and it left a scar.

Friends can't believe that I never watch horse racing even though I own three retired racehorses. I just can't watch. We held a tree seedling planting party on our farm during the Kentucky Derby last year. I know everyone thought I was strange because I didn't watch the race or join any race based festivities. I stayed outside with my horses and planted trees. Big races like the Derby are bad, but they aren't the real culprit. The smaller, rinky-dink tracks are where the most harm to animals occurs.

I read your post about you and your dad and I didn't comment then. I loved your story and your memory of that time with your father. Thank you for taking the time to post this information today. You have a beautiful perspective and an ability to really understand the whole picture which not many people can do.

Victoria Cummings said...

Juliette - Thanks for your heartfelt comment. I don't watch the Kentucky Derby anymore either. It was hard for me to even read this NYT article, but it is a brilliant, much needed piece of journalism. I think they are doing a series of articles on horse racing and it will help the rest of the world understand the need to protect these remarkable animals.

Oak in the Seed said...

A dear friend of mine used to work in the barns at the racetrack and told me horror stories of what happens behind the scenes. I had never been to a racetrack and vowed I never would, a promise I have kept to this day. The abuse of horses at the track is my number one soapbox speech to anyone who will listen.