The Dark Side of Horse Racing

horse race

Horse racing is a centuries-old sport that attracts millions of fans and generates billions of dollars in revenue. Throughout the years, the sport has undergone many changes and technological advancements. However, the industry has been weighed down by growing awareness of the dark side of the sport. Today, horse races are plagued by numerous issues including overbreeding, injuries and breakdowns, drug abuse, and gruesome slaughter. Despite these problems, horse racing is still popular around the world and has become one of the largest industries in sports.

The sport of horse racing has a long and varied history, dating back to ancient Greece where it was a part of the Olympics. Since then, it has spread across the globe and evolved into a modern multibillion dollar enterprise.

Throughout its history, the sport has been tainted by illegal gambling, drug abuse and animal cruelty. Nonetheless, recent improvements in the industry have made horse racing more humane and safer for the horses. This trend is likely to continue as increased awareness of the sport continues to put pressure on the industry.

To truly act in the best interest of the horses, there needs to be a profound ideological reckoning at both the macro business and industry level as well as within the minds of horsemen and women. This would mean a complete restructuring of the industry from top to bottom, placing the horses at the center of decision making. It would involve everything from capping the number of races a horse can run to implementing a wraparound aftercare solution for all racehorses. It also involves a change in the training methods and a shift to a more natural and equine friendly lifestyle for the horses.

On the racecourse, horses are pushed beyond their limits and subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs intended to mask injuries and artificially enhance performance. As a result, some of these horses suffer from exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleed from their lungs, which is fatal if not treated quickly. In addition, horses are forced to sprint at such high speeds that they often sustain injuries and break down.

Once they’re done running, most racehorses don’t have a home to go to; instead, they’re sent to slaughterhouses where they’re often killed instantly and sometimes fed to dogs. The few that are rescued are typically taken in by small nonprofit rescues who can’t afford to pay arbitrary ransoms demanded by these slaughterhouses.

Behind the romanticized façade of Thoroughbred horse racing lies a reality of broken bones, drugs, and gruesome breakdowns. It is a hell for the horses, and if not for the handful of independent nonprofit rescues who network, fundraise, and work tirelessly to save them, most ex-racehorses would hemorrhage into the slaughter pipeline. Let’s not allow Eight Belles, Medina Spirit, Keepthename, Creative Plan and Laoban to be lost in the bloody chasm of the industry’s twisted morality. The time for reform is now. The lives of these horses, and those to come, depend on it.