It's a controversial topic in my opinion. Some love it, others detest it, some tolerate it but have no real feeling for it like Kayty said.
My reasons to love it:
* I live a few miles from the training grounds and have always been quite close to the industry - there is nothing more glorious than driving down, parking and watching the morning gallops and training. Especially at this time of year when the trees are starting to turn, there is a crisp nip in the air and you hear those hooves coming past, mist out their nostrils. It's exhillerating
* I own an OTTB - he is the best horse I have ever ridden much less had the pleasure of owning - without the racing industry he wouldnt be mine.
My reasons to dislike it (hate is a strong word!):
* I disagree with how MOST yards are run (I say most because Im not going to generalise) - to me a horse is not made to spend 90% or more of it's life in a box
* I strongly disagree with the age that racehorses are started at and the long term effects it can have on their legs and bodies and health.
* I have experienced a horse "breaking down" in a race and snapping it's hind leg clean in half. I was there when the vet pulled the trigger - It's heartbreaking and could have been avoided.
I could go on but the point I have come to realise is this...Racing is NOT the only industry that can be picked on for doing things the wrong way. But because it is such a BIG industry and in the spot light all the time and such a large money making industry it get noticed more than the others. If a race horse breaks down it makes the news. If a horse has a heart attack in lets say showjumping for example it is discussed amongst horse people and on forums. If a jockey mistreats his horse it makes news and he is suspended. But I have seen that happen in eventing and at the shows I attend to an even worse degree when people lose their tempers. However the jockey gets noticed because more often that not the race is on TV and the shows are not. The racing industry takes a lot of flack because of the status it has.
I love all equine sports, but I have to admit when I see a horse run like that my negative thoughts disappear for a moment and my heart skips a beat.
I've never had a great deal to do with the industry other than taking horses off the track to re educate. Though, I did feel pretty **** angry with the industry considering racing was essentially what led to the death of my favourite horse that I have had the pleasure of owning. His hocks were ruined from 5 years on the track, and he had issues with his ligaments, which led to him tearing a suspensory, and a tendon earlier this year, leading to him being put to sleep.
That is my only, and very big, gripe with the industry.
Ok im on both sides of the fence...
1. I hate the slaughter (i don't have a problem with horses being eaten*wouldnt eat it myself*, but kill them properly..the FIRST time) I also hate the drugs in racing, and how young the horses are started...
2. I currently am doing my Equine Studies and gaining a certificate in Stablehand/Strapper, and had to go to a racing stable (wasnt allowed other pathways) and those horses are in PRISTINE condition, all WELL fed and although some are tempermental, there is nothing wrong with their living conditions.. tehy are not drugged and are well taken care of with creams even if they get a tiny cut -these people LOVE them :)
The only thing I have against racing except for what I have already stated in 1, is the after racing...
Racehorses are athletes and just like all athletes they are tested for performance enhancing drugs. After every race the winner is tested. Random tests are carried out on other horses in the field at times too but the winner is always tested. Jockeys are also tested. Those who take the chance and dope their horses will one day get caught. Most trainers and owners won't take the chance of getting caught and suspended.
This is why I often battle to understand why people taking OTTBs home say they give them months off "to get all the drugs out their system".