Lets just talk about the horse racing industry for a second…
Over the past decade, the horseracing industry and thoroughbred breeders have come under much public scrutiny for their business and their treatment of animals by several animal rights groups. For instance, prominent anti-racing group HorseRacingKillsCoalition1 claims “of the 13,000 thoroughbred foals born each year in Australia alone, an approximate 9,000 will be considered useless and thousands will end up at “the doggers””, and give supporters the idea that there is an insane amount of fatalities at the hands of the sport every year.
What they fail to reinforce however, is the amazing number of ex-race horses who are not only retired to become breeders but also rehomed to loving owners each and every year, either retrained as eventers or pleasure horses. In my own opinion, and as a part of the equestrian community, there wouldn’t be a horse owner who wouldn’t know someone who owns an ex-racehorse, as they are known for their spirit and athletic ability when retired from the track. I am not saying that the sport itself is completely innocent – as there will always be individuals who are willing to take shortcuts for their own benefit, even at the expense of a beautiful animal. But with 184,800 race starts in the 2014/2015 season, 36,332 registered horses with starts, and a total of 125 fatalities – the chance of death for thoroughbred race horses stands at roughly at 0.3%.2, 3
And as for the lack of care activist groups frequently reference in their debate – just over $1 billion3 is spent on the 36,000 active Australian racehorses care each and every year, with vets on standby at every meet there purely for their wellbeing and in the best interest of their health. These horses are worshiped like gods in the industry, and anyone who has worked with a horse will know that the horses love the chase as much as the punters do. There is much more room for discussion here, but lets just start with this. Thoughts?
“The industry isn’t flawless but it’s certainly not as bad as the animal rights groups will have you believe.” (Gigi Silk, 2014)
1 Wastage | Horse Racing Kills.com | Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses. 2016. Wastage | Horse Racing Kills.com | Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.horseracingkills.com/the-issues/wastage/. [Accessed 18 March 2016].
2 Racing Australia, (2016). Racing Season 2014/2015 Fact Book. Melbourne: Racing Australia, pp.8-9.
3 Silk, G. (2014). Black Caviar Trainer Defends Racing Industry. [Blog] The New Daily. Available at: http://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/2014/11/05/black-caviar-peter-moody-defence-horse-racing-industry/ [Accessed 17 Mar. 2016].