Out of curiosity, when one of the horses in your particular program are rehomed, do you know the statistics of break down for those? I mean do you keep tabs on leg/joint/back issues with these animals after their racing career to know exactly what the effects are?
I'm not in a particular program - I work for a trainer. Any good trainer will not want to waste the owner's time or money on a horse who isn't going to be any good and if the owner has no means of rehoming, we do it for them.
I don't know the long term situation, I havent worked with this particular trainer for 15+ years to hear about horses when they hit their late teens. Alot of the new owners do let us know how they are doing - some are now playing polo, others showjumping, eventing, dressage and some out hacking. The majority of the horses who have left our yard are still jumps racing. It is not uncommon for new owners to contact us to ask about the horse; we are always happy to tell them as much as possible.
To be frankly honest, I have as much concern for the hundreds of 3 year olds advertised as seasoned hunters. A girl I know spent 4 hours hunting with her 3 year old last week. As several others mentioned above - its not just the racing industry.
I have owned several horses since coming to Ireland - and one with the worst legs was a cob gelding who had hunted/show jumped his whole life... yet the 16yo OTTB who ran in point-to-points til he was 12 had the cleaned legs of the lot. Damage can be done regardless of the sport the horse is involved in.
I'm not attempting to say that racing couldnt be altered/changed to make it better or safer, but realistically many spheres of the horseworld could be as well. To insult those of us who are involved in racing is like insulting anybody who takes part in any other part of the horseworld - it's uncalled for.