Horse Racing..."The Sport of Kings" ....now the shame of a nation
Magnificent, delicate yet powerful adolescent animals forced to endure on-going and developing injuries at any given time - a perpetual assault to their physiology.
In the Melbourne Cup this year, 1998, "Three Crowns" did not make the finish line, instead he collapsed after breaking his left leg and desperately attempting to stand on the flailing, snapped limb. And as was so accurately described in a letter to the paper... " after the race, they threw out the disposable champagne flutes, the plastic plates and the horse that didnÕt make the grade". Three Crowns was shot dead at the track.
Just before the 1997 Melbourne Cup, Three Crowns broke down and could not race. But they pushed him to the very end. Now the crack into the dark, miserable world of the horse racing industry is widening and the indictment of this brutal "sport" is apparent.
Here are just a few basic facts about horse racing which even the industry would not deny:
- Many horses are rigorously trained and raced at the age of two when they are just very young adolescents. They are emotionally immature and would, as herd animals, much prefer to be playing and enjoying the companionship of their own. Many develop acute lameness and break a leg in the race. This is because their skeletal and muscular systems have not fully developed leading to shin soreness which is as a consequence of the cartilage plate in the shaft of the leg bone undergoing too much strain which causes a tear in the periosteum layer around the bone leading to haemorrhage, acute lameness and scar tissue.
90% have lung bleeds due to the excessive exertion demanded of them in the rigorous training and the race. If they bleed as far as the nostrils more than once, they are sent to the knackery or, if worth the sale, sent to the USA to endure more races.
- Even though horses are herd animals with strong social behavioural needs, they have little actual contact with fellow horses but, apart from the minimal exercise in the morning and the race, are kept in dark, dingy stables, stalled separate from each other. They develop neurotic stereotypic behaviours, similar to those seen in factory farmed and circus animals:
- WIND-SUCKING - is where the horse grips the edge of a post or stable with the teeth and suck in wind and bloat up with air.
- WEAVING - constant, repetitive "weaving" of the head.
- During the race there is the use of the whip. This, along with the jockeys' screaming and yelling, particularly when approaching the finish, sends the horse into a state of fright and frenzy. And the operators will tell you "they love the race".
- The unwanted, rejected and "failed" horses: Most, and we are referring to millions, are sent to the knackery for glue, pet food and fertiliser. Very few find a good home, though some are sent to Korea, USA, Japan and other countries where racing "standards" are lower. But they will almost certainly be killed long before their natural day.
Written by Animal Liberation
Monday, 01 September 2008
- Updated Thursday, 05 March 2009