Equine Rescue

Moral Progress Cannot Be Stopped

Patrick Battuello, Horseracings Wrongs

I want to be crystal clear on the change we seek (and perhaps aid in the planning of future “horse racing industry symposiums”). There is no “middle ground” to be had. We are not looking for a mere seat at the table or to “change the face of the sport,” we want the table gone, the “sport” erased. No compromise, no reform – an end to horseracing, pure and simple…

Sensibilities in regard to animals are changing: Ringling has retired its elephants; SeaWorld is phasing-out its orcas; “vegan” is no longer an alien word. Is it so hard, then, to imagine a world where horses are no longer beaten, maimed, and killed for $2 bets? I think not.

horse racingRacing is set to hold the latest in what feels like an endless stream of take-stock-of-our-industry conferences this December in Arizona.

The “Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming” will feature the usual fare – “cultivating customer loyalty,” finding “new wagering products” to help “grow the sport,” improving “medication and substance integrity,” etc. – but one item on the docket stands out as not just atypical for events like this but downright game-changing.

On the final day, comes this:

The Animal Rights Agenda: An Issue That Can No Longer Be Ignored

Animal rights protesters were found in large numbers outside racing’s two most iconic tracks this summer, Saratoga and Del Mar, and they aren’t going away. Is there any middle ground racing can find with these groups? Panelists with years of experience dealing with these types of groups will enlighten the audience of tactics these organizations use, some successful campaigns used against them as well as the animal rights groups successes that have fundamentally changed the way a number of animal industries operate. Now is the time for racing to seriously consider how the actions of these groups may forever change the face of the sport.

Remarkable. Truly remarkable. First, the obvious: We’re winning; the above is proof-positive. By our numbers, which we plan on growing exponentially next summer, through unrelenting exposure, we have compelled them to confront us – to put us on the agenda. (And, not so gently nudged the media: Because our protests practically demanded coverage, for the first time in 150 years the killing at “iconic” Saratoga received more than a mere glossing over.) From here, as any student of the great social-justice movements can tell you, the writing is on the wall. You see, these things don’t just fade away; they get stronger and stronger and stronger, until – change.

Here, though, I want to be crystal clear on the change we seek (and perhaps aid in the planning of future “symposiums”). There is no “middle ground” to be had. We are not looking for a mere seat at the table or to “change the face of the sport”; we want the table gone, the “sport” erased. No compromise, no reform – an end to horseracing, pure and simple. And I can save them even more time. Our “tactics” are neither elaborate nor, for that matter, even plural. In this fight, we wield but one, simple tool: education. Impart knowledge; let compassion and conscience take it from there.

Finally, I almost find it astounding that they would make public their plan to identify “campaigns” to use against us. Insulting, really, as if we’re not sophisticated enough to do anything more than hold placards, incapable of monitoring their activities. Or maybe they just don’t care. Maybe the threat we pose, though they concede as real, does not rise to some requisite level of seriousness that would warrant more secrecy. No matter, the upshot remains the same. Attempts to discredit, to smear, to muddle our message, to repackage their century-old lie of a message – horseracing is a sport, the horses “athletes” – will not work, for we are smart; we are organized; but above all, we have the facts – the truth – on our side. And truth, folks, is irrepressible.

Yes, sensibilities in regard to animals are changing: Ringling has retired its elephants; SeaWorld is phasing-out its orcas; “vegan” is no longer an alien word. Is it so hard, then, to imagine a world where horses are no longer beaten, maimed, and killed for $2 bets? I think not. And judging by the above, I believe the racing people can see it, too.


10 replies »

  1. Why don’t people ever go after the QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION? I always hear about the thoroughbreds but hardy ever anything about the quarter horses. And why Saratoga and Del Mar? Have they not worked with us in getting the anti slaughter thing going? If you’re going to go after the industry why not the notorious Mountaineer? You are not going to stop racing and by continually kicking the ones who are trying to make positive changes these people are coming off as fanatics. Maybe go for changes give the horses time to grow up and develop to maturity before being raced would help with injuries. Limiting the back to back races would help cut back on the injuries. Stopping injured horse from racing would also help. The courses are hard avid gay. The others and trainers are greedy and put money before welfare of the horse. Horse racing is not likely going to end. Why not Go back to basics of NO HORSE SLAUGHTER.


    • Terri, good questions. I dropped my AQHA membership over the slaughter issue. They have not responded other than to keep reminding me my membership need renewing, go figure. As I recall the AQHA is the largest breed registry in the world, and I have always thought they had more racing than the TB industry. The quarter horse tracks are everywhere (legal and illegal) but the TB races are fewer and higher value, so they get more press. I’ve also seen a lot of TBs rehabbed into good horses once their careers end through organizations set up for just this purpose. The industry also funds retirements for jockeys and horses to some extent. Again, I don’t think this is true of the quarter horse folks.

      One interim step which might be worth considering is to make racing any horses younger than age 6 illegal, since it is biological fact their bones are not done growing until that age. Anything younger is textbook abusive, no matter how much care is given. In an era when we are seriously examining concussions in grown human athletes, racing 2 and 3 year old horses is the equivalent of putting ninth graders into the NFL, with predictable results.


      • Additionally to QH racing – there are the two & three year old “futurities” that probably are responsible for many throw-aways. Agree that racing 2 & 3 year old babies as well as showing them (and the training that starts BEFORE 2) accounts for the large quantity of quarter horses sent to Mexico & Canada. And then there are the “medications” that are used and “procedures” to keep them going. And the list goes on….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The animal abuse problem is global. Yes, America should stop all animal abuse. However Japan rounds-up dolphins slaughters some and SELLS many, many dolphins to places like marine parks in many other countries. Sea World will stop abuse in America but they opened a giant sea world in china and china has NO humane laws at all. Russia captures live Orcas, and dolphins and small whales. Russia has an industry to sell these animals to anyone with cash. What about trotters and pacer racing? most all of those go direct to Amish or slaughter houses. That reminds me, if America would stop allowing transport of horses to any slaughter situation, not allow horses to cross any border in truckloads ALL American horses would be much safer from theft. If people didn’t have to fear the horse auctions will sell there pets to slaughter, more people could use a horse auction.

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  3. Whoa. If racing ends publicly the brutal blackmarket racing still occurs. The Industry provides jobs to people and animals. What needs to happen are abusers and people with bad histories need removed. Its like soring stop the soring but keep the Good healthy Industry of Walkers and their followers going. Yes we can make change but An Article stating removal of all animals from racing isnt Animal Rights its Destructive. Were supposed benefit animals not erradicate them. What next show ju.ping and barrel racing. Our Industry requires working with people. 90 percent are already doing the right thing. 10 percent are proslaughter and do anything but the right thinv. Lets handle this correctly not go crazy. What about horses that have no injuries and are excellent horses that wind up in other sports or homes. Yes save the abusex and make change but not Demolish Everything. Ringling retired elephants bc elephants were attacking people. Big difference. Sea World dod away with their show animals bc they were attacking people and Killing them. Huge difference. I dont condone ANY ABUSE IN ANY WAY yet I think we need to use caution decimating these avenues horses are involved in. Search inside and see what drives u to want to close an entire Industry because the answer may shock you. I am advocating for Horses and people to work healthy together no more separating them out. Decades ago injures were less frequent so we need to return to what worked best instead of destroying it all. Horses had better breeding with more solid muscle and bones as well as larger hooves to handle the racing. Correct the problems. Look at it this way. You eliminate all the reasons a horse can be owned and it ends up in a slaughter truck anyway. Its called blackmarket. So lets back up and reasses. I am going off of feedback from many sources above and along side me. I have alot of expirience in the downside of closing an industry. I know the devastation it causes. So breathe and listen. Its not the race its not the horses its the people that need to change and sometimes its even Animal Rights that needs to change a little to save more. Now this story is terrifying and urgent. These horses foals are being slaughtered due to extreme snowfalls they are killing foals. Please help me fid someone to help this Country save its horses and put our own words into action! http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/n0799-exceptional-snow-falls-in-yakutia-lead-to-fears-for-children-and-horses/


    • I have to agree – the idea of simply (?) shutting down the entire racing industry is a little far-fetched. Making some changes? Yeah – preventing the racing of 2 & 3 year olds – and certainly breeding for more muscle & bone rather than ONLY for speed – what should matter is an animal that is strong & healthy enough to do more than win a few races! Remember John Henry? I think he was still racing & winning when he was 9 or 10. I realize he was a gelding so there wouldnt have been lots of money in stud fees. But truly, how many of the horses today COULD continue to race & win without injuries or breakdowns. Seems like instead of trying to hide or cover up the number of thoroughbreds that are being taken to slaughter only because their bodies werent strong enough – the answer is to actually DO something to prevent it.


  4. Horse Racing is cruel and barbaric exploitation of Horses on every level. This antiquated corrupt industry needs to shut down, like ranching, people need to re-educate themselves to more civilized compassionate jobs!


    • Barbaric? Its not actually. Poor Ethics and abusers are everywhere. Its Not antiquated. In fact…the system and its forward futuristic thinking keeps it thriving. The latest technology….Veterinary breakthroughs and Expert training has put it in the history books repeatedly however slaughter brought to light the dark horse trainers that dont stop at nothing to win…so its those your stopping NOT an Industry. The racing system can be changed to benefit horses they just have to do so. The HSUS currently is working to better the Industry together not erradicate it. We cannot remove Everything. You want something thats barbaric to go after and antiquated???? Head up and move out the behind in the times out of touch untealistic and unreasonable Welfare Ranching. Ranchers are not the problem but Welfare Rancherz raise their heads and issues abound. Now theres something to Shut Down


      • Horses are not yours to exploit, this “business” has been corrupt and abusive to Horses at an extreme cruelty level. Horses were meant to be free roaming wildlife, not your toys, or to gamble on, Your philosophy is of exploitation, and tunneled visioned. Ranching is the largest murder of innocent animals business there is, responsible for the removal and slaughter of the Wild Horses as well 51% of Global Warming, these are facts, the whole world is recognizing this now, it’s only a matter of time before we change this toxic, ANTIQUATED, corrupt structure of humans EXPLOITING animals for a living and get them to get real jobs. The only interaction of humans and wildlife should be to help manage them with non-lethal methods from the extreme damage we have caused.


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