Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some "sport"

The quote of the day in last Sunday’s New York Times was, "It's hard to justify how many horses we go through. In humans you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horse racing." (Dr. Rick K. Arthur, equine medical director for the California Racing Board).

That quote should be an indication of the story content under this headline: “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys” and this subhead: “Drugs, Lax Oversight and Growing Casino Purses Exact a Nationwide Toll.”

Here are excerpts from the story, which began on page 1 and spilled to two full pages inside, including color photos of injured race horses before or after being euthanized.

The main point to be made about this situation is that the jockeys choose to ride horses for a living; the horses have no say in any of it. So, besides horse-drawn carriages and war horses, this is one more example of horses having to serve humans – or more specifically in this case, humans’ greed.

* . . . On the ground next to him, his frightened horse, leg broken and chest heaving, was minutes away from being euthanized on the track.

* On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America.

* (In 2008, after Kentucky Derby horse Eight Belles broke two ankles . . . and was euthanized, the racing industry promised to make horseracing safer.) But . . . “industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk.”

* All too often at racetracks, “trainers who illegally pump sore horses full of painkillers to mask injury – and then race them – are neither fined nor suspended and owners of those drugged horses usually keep their winnings.”

* As many as 90 percent of horses that break down had pre-existing injuries, California researchers have found.

To describe horse racing as a “sport” is a cruel joke. It is a crime.


No comments: