“The Sport of Kings” raced six horses to death on the 10th May 2009 at Killarney racecourse. A further 4 horses were injured. Senior course official Brendan Sheridan dismissed the death toll as “just the law of averages”.
Horse racing is a “sport” where not all the “competitors” take part willing. In fact, half will never be given the option. It’s this half who are drugged up to “compete”, impregnated/put out to stud, inbred, whipped, killed on the track, killed in training or disposed of when they are no longer wanted by the horse racing industry. This half is of course the horses.
It’s estimated that 420 horses are raced to death every year in the UK. About 38 per cent die on racecourses, while the others are killed as a result of training injuries, or are killed because they are no longer commercially viable.
With about 18000 horses bred for racing between the closely linked racing industries of Ireland and the UK, only about 40% will ever go on to race. About 6000 British horses leave racing every year, yet very few are properly provided for when racing ends.
Racehorses typically tip the scales at more than 1,000 pounds and run between 36 and 45 miles per hour. They do so on ankles much like ours, exerting a 12,000-pound load on the cannon bone alone. They do so within a pack of seven or more other horses churning around a track in a frenzy to reach the wire first. Injuries and deaths are bound to happen.
Called “Thoroughbred”, these horses are really inbred. Serious racing-related illnesses are now endemic. 82% of flat race horses older than three years of age suffer from bleeding lungs (exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage). Gastric ulcers are present in no fewer than 93% of horses in training, in whom the condition gets progressively worse. When horses are retired, the condition improves.
This is a murky business dressed up as glamorous. When the horses are no longer wanted, they are disposed of in a variety of ways. Earlier this year it was revealed that 100 horses a week are being killed in a Kilkenny “slaughterhouse” and then fed to the lions and tigers in Dublin Zoo.
The industry itself seems to have a blindspot when it comes to what happens to the horses. They detail almost every other figure expect this one. One owner admitted: “A horse is a very expensive animal to keep and if they can’t race or jump and can’t reproduce, then they are not much use to anybody. (See video link to undercover footage of a UK “slaughterhouse” killing horses)
What kind of “sport” kills so many of it’s “competitors”? It involves running and sometimes jumping. The object is not to draw blood. If compared to other physical sports like football, rugby or even athletic running and hurdles these
figures would be scandalous and rightly so.
So does the law of averages apply to speciesism? Most of the other laws do. 6 horses were killed on the 10th of May in Killarney. One jockey rode 2 of these killed horses. Yet no jockeys died. Nobody dying is what sport is usually about. Jockeys make up the other half of the “competitors”, those who have a choice. If 6 jockeys died that day there would be a different story told in more papers and on the front covers. This is just a comparison. It is of course fortunate that no humans died. But it is a scandal that participants who were not given a choice are now dead.
Horse racing is an exploitation activity that ruins lives and violates rights. It continues for money and the fascination of the few. It seems that any activity can be rationalized if there was enough people who would pay to see it.
The horses who perished on Sunday at the Killarney course were Panther Creek, Robin du Bois, Imperial Hills, Wishwillow Lord, Sonorra and, it is believed, Tusa An Fear.
“The sport of kings?” History tells us that monarchies were ruthless and littered with inbreeding. So maybe at least this is one thing the horse racing industry is honest about.
Course accused of ‘cold-hearted complacency’ as six horses die in one day at Killarney: Article.
Slow racehorses fed to the lions in Dublin zoo: Article.
Six recent horse deaths at Emerald Downs spark concern: Article.
Clerk defends Killarney ground after fatalities: Article.
Horses killed at UK “Slaughterhouse”: Watch Video.
Racing casualities: Watch Video.
The links provided in this email do not necessarily share the views of ALiberation but are instead provided for educational purposes.
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