The horse race is a form of thoroughbred racing that is conducted on flat tracks over distances typically between 440 yards and two miles. Shorter races are known as sprints and longer ones are called routes or a stayers. A winning combination of fast acceleration and stamina is essential. Most horses are pushed to their limits and suffer from a variety of health problems, such as pulmonary bleeding (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage). Many are injected with cocktails of legal and illegal drugs that mask injuries and enhance performance.
In the earliest days of horse racing, races were limited to certain types of animals or a small number of runners and had specific eligibility rules based on age, sex, birthplace and previous performance. As the sport evolved, rules were established governing how much weight each horse was required to carry in a race. These fixed handicaps are an outright repudiation of the classic concept that the best horse should win.
Horses are not natural athletes. Despite the industry’s claims that horses are “born to run, love to compete and thrive on the intense physical stress of competition,” the reality is that this is an unnatural act for any animal. The fact is, horses’ bodies are not built for this activity and the injuries they suffer are routine, devastating and deadly.
Whether they are jockeys or breeders, people who participate in the horse racing industry need to wake up and start caring about the welfare of these incredible creatures. It is completely unacceptable that anyone can witness the brutal death of a young horse in a race or while training and then walk away with no sense of responsibility.
The day when horse lovers can sit back and watch a film of a race without feeling the gut wrenching pain of that horse’s tragic end is the day that this industry will change. The current model has no place in a modern society that values the well-being of its citizens.
One of the biggest issues in horse racing is that once a horse retires from the track, it has no system of wraparound aftercare to support its long-term care and rehabilitation. As a result, ex-racehorses end up in slaughter pipelines and often die horrifically during their journey from track to table. Only a handful of independent nonprofit rescues and individuals have the network, funding and capacity to give them the care they need. The vast majority of these former racehorses, if not saved by these tireless efforts, face an uncertain future, either in the feedlots of Mexico or Canada where they are tortured and starved for months, or at the hands of private slaughterhouses where they are sold for pet food and other uses. This is hell on earth for these beautiful and magnificent animals. The only way we can save them is to make sure this ends for good. To help us do that, we need your support. Please join our movement to end this industry-wide nightmare.