Originally Posted by its lbs not miles View Post
You just get to see more of the stable horses than you do the racing horses.
If you take a tour you are going to see the "better" sides of it.
Want a true picture? Get the registrations of every horse that has been put into any race. Trace that horses history and where it is now. What you see on a "back stage" tour of racing is going to show you the best picture they can. They are not going to start telling you about the horses that aren't there because the broke down and had be put down unless you happen to be at the right place to witness it. If you see an injured horse on the track they will be treating it and it will look like things are being taken care of. If it's a horse that's never lived up to it's hoped for potential (never placed, etc...), and has an injuring that will take "too long to heal" then it's canned off somewhere. IF it's very lucky it will be adopted. If now, well, it's a business and it's about making money....so do the math.
Still back to the real point. Don't care how you spin it. These horses are being raced hard during their formative physical growth years. Doing damage to there joints.
You might find a larger number of horses outside the racing industry that are damaged or abused, but that's because you have so very many more horses outside that industry (in stables, on farms, etc...). As a percentage, the racing industry damages a much higher percentage of it's animals.
There are more dogs abused, injured, neglected and killed by people who have them as pets then there are injured and killed by people who do illegal dog fighting. But as a perctage the dog fighters do far worse than the rest of the dog pet owning world. The same holds true for race horses vs pet or "non racing" competition or work horses.
I can agree that the tour showed me very little of what has gone on behind the scenes. But my ride alongs with the vet? I saw at least 3 horses that had raced the day before, and at least 3 before and after their race on the day of of my visits. Now as helping out as a vet assistant I don't think anything was hidden from me. The vet I worked with was in charge of about 5-6 racing farms on the facility. (Somewhere around 200 horses) If I'm pursuing a career as an equine vet and under the fact that I might be considering working as a track vet, there is not point to hide any bad because I'll see it sooner or later. I was there following the vet on his duties from 7am to 7pm.
Everyone talks about the races as they're happening and what goes on with the horses. I know that the few times I was there I saw NO breakdowns on the track or behind the gates. The worst I heard of was the one horse I explain above, it had raced earlier that week and was all sorts of messed up. But the vet explained that the trainer was known to not take as good care of his horses. I saw a few sore horses that were on rest, but nothing major.
Tons of horses go to horse slaughter, most are heavier riding horses. Honestly the kill buyers don't want race horses as their meat is too tough and not enough of it. I agree that there is a huge overpopulation of racehorses. Way too many horses are bred for racing that will achieve nothing in their lives and will go to slaughter for it. Overpopulation is out of control, and severely needs to be cut down.
Maybe its different outside of southern california, but I'm just saying what I see. I'm a little off topic here, as I agree that racing them young is detrimental to their health. Yet I think the level of damage is one that needs to be considered, its a fuzzy grey zone. It gets this horrid reputation with people screaming about abuse that they have no idea about. I am more inclined to send my efforts to completely stop steeplechasing. I personally dislike all animal activist groups because it is extremely rare for them to actually have correct/relative facts. Most people base their emotional opinions on what is fed by peta and sharkonline.
I guess in that aspect we will have a difference of opinion.
IMO you can't compare dog fighting to horse racing because the horse owners have no intentions of hurting their animals. They are instead risking a high chance of damaging the animal, but it is a chance that they take steps to avoid. Out of all of the animal abuse in the world horse racing would not be high on my personal list to worry about. Now they could avoid a huge majority of the step by raising the racing ages to starting at 4-5yo, but that is going to take years of work if possible.
Its a vicious cycle, people wanted to race young, races for young horses were made, those races became famous with very large purses, people wanted the highest amount of money and must have the horse ready to enter in the high stakes which are mostly reserved for 3 year olds. So now even is people wanted to race later in life, the chances are that they have less chance for growth. There is no kentucky derby similar race for those over 3. We idolize the three year old races.
I hope you don't mind the debate, I understand we have a difference of opinion but I love discussing things through.