The Dark Side of Horse Racing: We Must End Horse SlaughterPublished May 3, 2010
Calvin Borel Winning on Super Saver: Morry Gash, A.P.
Calvin Borel set a record, winning his third Kentucky Derby in four years by putting down an exciting trip aboard Super Saver. We can only hope that this win may ultimately lead to the end of the elusive Triple Crown "draught" should this talented horse win the upcoming Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
And while Super Saver's connections are still celebrating his win, and folks who watched the race are still enjoying the afterglow of a stunning event, it is important to realize that the racing business has a horrendous dark side: horse slaughter.
Major changes are needed in the way many owners, trainers and dealers view the racing industry, which often results in many horses being exploited when they no longer live up to their expectations. For any true animal lover, these dirty horse slaughter facts are heart-wrenching.
So what often happens to these magnificent thoroughbreds once they stop winning or are seriously injured? Are they all retired to lush green pastures where they may happily live out the remainder of their lives in contentment, given thanks for what they have already contributed to their connections? Sadly the answer is "no!"
And while some of these racehorses are fortunate enough to be saved, rehabilitated and rehomed to loving people through the good graces of caring rescue groups, thousands of racehorses end their lives unceremoniously in horse slaughter houses after horrific transport to Canada and Mexico.
After thousands of miles of shipping provided no food or water, some even are dead upon arrival at the horse slaughter plants. These beautiful horses once purchased from dealers for hefty prices are now sold off, priced by the pound to killer-buyers. Once slaughtered and butchered, their meat is shipped off to Europe and Asia where the "product" is consumed as a delicacy at gourmet restaurants and fancy dinner parties.
Tens of thousands of horses are transported from the United States to horse slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, according to the Humane Society of the United States. And no matter how you feel about HSUS, this agency genuinely cares about the welfare of these horses and works hard to spread the word about this "dirty little secret" to which many folks are not aware.
Since the horse racing industry "breeds for perfection", thoroughbreds that may appear to be "winners" in are often bred in hopes of their offspring achieving victory. But sadly to say, many of their colts and fillies are not destined to reach the winner's circle. So over breeding in the racing industry causes severe horse overpopulation.
It is high time that the horse racing industry does the right thing and takes responsibility for their "cast-offs" and protects them. While some caring, responsible breeders are already contributing, we need more of them to establish retirement homes for these "unwanted" horses.
Several years ago horse lovers won a huge victory when the foreign-owned horse slaughter houses in America were shut down, but a loophole remained where transport of horses to Mexico and Canada remained legal. Proponents of horse slaughter continue to campaign to re-open these plants. Additionally, the Horse Slaughter Prevention bill, H.R.503) which bans the shipping, moving, transporting, delivering, receiving, purchasing, possessing, selling or donating horses and other equines for the purpose of slaughter for meat for human consumption, passed the House of Representatives in 2006, but remains stalled in the Senate. This is outrageous!
If you care for the welfare of all horses, contact your representative to share how you feel about the importance and necessity for them to finally demand passage of this final legislation. They must once-and-for all end the wanton act of horse slaughter with its passage. While transporting horses for slaughter remains legal, no horse is safe from this brutal practice.
So maybe, in some small way, Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver's name carries a message in itself. He may be telling us something which is extremely important.
Will you take action? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
For an update on horse slaughter legislation read, Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted.