Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
This is so interesting and something I struggle with myself. Thank you for bringing it up and making me think more about it. And sorry in advance for my ramblings...
My dad, or more accurately, I, owned about 35+ TB race horses when I was a kid. My dad was the owner but he put the horses in mine and my sisters names when he realized after the first winning race that kids were not allowed in the winners enclosure (in England, at the time) but owners could not be refused. So my sis and I 'owned' about 35 race horses that I can remember, I am sure that there were more, but my dad now seems to not remember either, while I am sure he still does know.
So I grew up at the track with a fanatical dad and spent all of my weekends there. In my teenage years I grew to hate it, but still loved a different aspect of horses, as I saw horses die right there at the track, in fact one of ours did. It is ironic that I would still do cross country, (eventing) where horses also die in our idea of a sport. Which is why it is interesting to me as I cannot quite make a balance in my head.
My dad does not own horses any more, I suspect because he lost too much over the years, but he does still gamble and he is adamant that it is about the breeding. But yet, my mutt of a pony that I had as a kid won everything I asked of her in jumping, but in my dads mind this made sense as she 'had heart'.
Since I have been an adult and buying my own OTTB, the one I currently have shows the most potential, he was bred about above average, but he sucked on the track and only won $35k. which is not much.
So I suppose what I am thinking as I am typing is that it is not a known thing to breed a horse with heart, all they can do is go with the best options available to them, which is breeding from form.
As far as horse slaughter goes from the race industry, it is a business, so why spend 3 months or more trying to give a way a lame horse for free when they could get $50 for that horse. To them horses are like cattle to us. And if you could get $2k for a horse you will hold out for a few months and eat the board costs, but if it is not selling there is a math equation that takes place.
So to me, I don't know what is ethical, if we ban slaughter and only allow dying naturally or euthanasia, then there will be horses who starve as people are not willing to spend the $$$, so what do we do, it is a bigger issue than a blanket statement. I don't like slaughter but I am beginning to think it is better than a horse going hungry for 6 months and then dying from neglect.