Archive for September, 2014

How They Die

September 17, 2014

Horseracing Wrongs

Paul McCartney once famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Not everyone, of course, but you get the point. For the record, all animal slaughter is horrific. All of it. And the animals we routinely raise (in the cruelest of conditions), slaughter, butcher, and eat are just as intelligent and every bit as sentient as horses. But, consistent with this site, the focus here is on horse slaughter, perhaps the worst of racing’s wrongs.

Last year, 59,812 American horses were slaughtered in Canada. Thanks to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, we know, more or less, how they died. The following comes from a 2010 undercover investigation at two of the country’s four equine slaughterhouses: Bouvry and Viandes Richelieu.

Three veterinarians reviewed the footage:

Dr. Debi Zimmerman:
“As a prey species, horses are naturally fearful and suspicious of anything they have not been conditioned to accept…

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Horseracing’s Broken Bodies, 9/1/14-9/7/14

September 8, 2014

This industry needs to stop racing babies & make the tracks safer…

Horseracing Wrongs

Virtually without exception, “broke down” is racing-speak for dead; “vanned off” translates to a better-than-even chance of dead.

Broke Down:
Florida Bull, Sep 3, Thistledown 8
Ligety, Sep 5, Los Alamitos (T) 3
Ifyougotthenotion, Sep 6, Parx 8

Vanned Off:
Imperial Lad, Sep 1, Arlington 3
High Wire Act, Sep 1, Delaware 5
Point Finish, Sep 1, Ellis 8
Perusethenews, Sep 1, Emerald 8
Maddie Moo, Sep 1, Golden Gate 4
Feeling Naughty, Sep 1, Mountaineer 5
Jm Miracle, Sep 1, Ruidoso 11
Back’em Down, Sep 2, Fairmount 4
Goodforyourheart, Sep 2, Presque Isle 6
Sebastian’s Run, Sep 3, Charles Town 3
Manis, Sep 3, Mountaineer 2
Shadowrun, Sep 4, Delaware 8
Sequoia Skyline, Sep 4, Louisiana 4
Mop, Sep 5, Arlington 2
Risky Asset, Sep 5, Churchill 6
Tros, Sep 5, Emerald 5
Mi Salvacion, Sep 5, Los Alamitos (T) 2
Miss Etta, Sep 5, Penn 7
Jess My…

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16 Dead Horses at Del Mar: Just a “Strange, Weird Thing”

September 5, 2014

It is weird that the powers to beare doing nothing about changing these horrific stats…

Horseracing Wrongs

In a recent U-T San Diego article, the president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California called the Del Mar summer a “Murphy’s Law meet.” And Joe Harper of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club described it as “a strange thing, weird.” They were, of course, referring primarily to a stack of dead horses. (By the way, it’s likely the deaths slowed because of amped-up diligence after the initial rash. Harper: “I also think that more people are aware of the damage that the publicity [from horse deaths] can do to you. I think more people are being more cautious on sending horses out.” Which begs the question: Why wasn’t extra care taken in the first place?)

4-year-old Corlett Drive, July 13, training
4-year-old Kokaltash, July 17, race 5
2-year-old Mont Saint Michel, July 24th, found dead in stall
3-year-old Dance With Fate, July 24, training
4-year-old Yes She’s Unusual

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More Compassionate Whipping at Santa Anita

September 4, 2014

It is about time…

Horseracing Wrongs

Santa Anita has announced a new whipping rule for its upcoming Fall meet – no more than three consecutive strikes, then wait for a “response” before whipping can resume. Santa Anita’s president says (DRF, 9/2/14), “It’s good for the horse, and it’s good for public perception.” Darrell Haire of the Jockeys’ Guild adds, “It’s perception more than anything, but perception is reality.” Exactly.


With this summer’s spate of deaths at Del Mar (16), California racing is reeling – and the Breeders’ Cup beckons. So, a show of “commitment to equine welfare” was needed. But like NYRA’s “thorough investigation” into The Saratoga 12, this kinder, gentler brand of jockeying is nothing more than a marketing ploy. As an aside, if the whip were truly the harmless, painless guide some insist – “more about sound than feel,” “barely registers on a half-ton animal” – wouldn’t regulating its use be…

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