Horse race is a sport involving horses, whose owners and riders attempt to win a prize by correctly guessing which horse will cross the finish line first. It is a popular pastime, and is practiced throughout the world. Some of the most famous races include the Triple Crown, and the Dubai World Cup. The history of horse racing dates back to ancient times. Archaeological records show that horse races were part of the Olympics in Greece from 700 to 40 B.C., and the sport was widely practiced in many civilizations, including China, India, and Persia.
In the United States, horse racing is regulated by a patchwork of state laws. Each state can set its own standards on everything from the use of whips during a race to what medications can be given to horses before or during a race. As a result, violations are often overlooked. This is in stark contrast to major sports leagues, such as the NBA, where a single set of rules governs all players and teams.
The Atlantic has a remarkable story that exposes some of the cruelty in horse racing at the very top levels. It shows in stark, shocking detail what animal rights activists have long been claiming: that the athletes of thoroughbred racing are drugged and abused, pushed to their limits, beaten and mistreated. It also shows that, if not for the handful of independent nonprofit horse rescues and the countless individuals who network, fundraise and work tirelessly to save them, most ex-racehorses would end up in slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.
The article comes with a powerful video that allows readers to see for themselves,* and on a grand scale, some of the cruelty in racing firsthand. The images are hard to look at, but they must be seen.
There are essentially three kinds of people in horse racing, and all three must leave if the sport is to survive. There are the crooks who tamper with or kill the horses they’re supposed to care for and train, who have no concern for anyone else but themselves. There are the dupes who labor under the illusion that the sport is broadly fair and honest. And there are the honorable masses in the middle, who know that it is more crooked than it ought to be but won’t do enough to fix it.
A few thousand horsemen and women have stepped forward to say they will do more to protect the animals they depend on, and that’s encouraging. But it will take more than that for the horse racing industry to start to get the respect it deserves. It will have to address the lack of an adequate, industry-sponsored wraparound aftercare solution for every horse who leaves the track. If it doesn’t, its current death spiral will eventually lead to the end of it. That’s not just bad for the sport, it’s a tragedy for the horses.