Should horse racing be banned?

X-rays of a career ending injury sustained by a racehorse.



why do we race?

Horse racing in America dates back to the 1600’s as means for entertainment, and is typically ran by thoroughbreds who are simply providing greedy businessmen and women something to gamble on. People may declare that they support horse racing because of the pride involved with winning, but unless you are the one winning it is a dangerous sport for all lives involved. I personally don’t see why it matters how fast a horse can travel, or why other people would care if it weren’t for gambling. It causes lasting health issues for most horses and can be dangerous for inexperienced jockeys as well.

equine injury

treatment of the animals

Many people are unaware of the dangers concurred by the animals in the race, and are typically only concerned about possible jockey injuries such as falling off and being trampled. It’s important to mention that throughout the years, racehorse’s average number of starts have decreased, either due to the health issues or the over-breeding of new up and coming racers. Unfortunately, the torture begins before the horses ever make it to the track, if they even do make it. Many of the horses which are used in races are started at the age of 2. The horse’s spinal cord and canon bones are not strong enough to support weight at this age or undergo the intense workouts they have. The horse’s body is not fully grown until around 5 years of age, depending on the breed. Even horses which are strong and fit enough to race will likely contract Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage, a condition in which the airway and lungs bleed due to inflamed and busted capillaries. They are also likely to get stomach ulcers and could even colic, a condition in which they are in great abdominal pain, due to the feed and constantly having hay instead of fresh grass. These horses in training are all exercised extensively for 1-2 hours a day, and that is the only exercise ‘racehorses’ receive. They are not turned out into the fields to roam and graze and enjoy some peace like most other horses, they are kept locked up in stalls for 24 hours a day to prevent injury. This is ironic considering how easily it is for them to get injured on the track. The horses which don’t make it to a legitimate racing career are quickly sold off for unrealistically low prices, which usually ends up with them being sent to auction houses and then slaughter.

kill pen

eight belles

Eight Belles was a 3 year old dark bay thoroughbred who had won the second place in the 2008 Kentucky Derby just seconds before she collapsed and was quickly euthanized. She was the only filly, young female, in this race and the first to run in a decade, as well as the first thoroughbred death to ever occur during the derby. During the fall she had fractured both of her front ankles, making it impossible to even move her off the track, much less have a proper future without being in pain every day. They wisely decided to put her out of her misery, but this is just one famous story which shows the horrors of horse racing. When she fell down her jockey Gabriel Saez did not sustain any injuries, but he could have easily been thrown and then trampled by the 19 other racing colts. While her situation is controversial because many people argue that she was completely fine and they could not have foreseen the tragedy, it’s also possible that she had been drugged or ran out too much or that she had simply been started too early and it had been stressing her canons and stifles from the beginning. All that is known is that despite her short career, she did love to run, if only it had been under safer conditions, she may still be here.

eight belles.jpg


Why racing shouldnt be banned?

I understand that horse racing has become a widely popular sport and that many people support it. The only reason I would say horse racing should be continued is because of all the jobs it has created and the industry around it. Many people say that the horses are treated decently and that they love it, and these people should be allowed to race. As long as the horses want to race and there are lots of strict laws to protect them. If the horses are old enough it doesn’t have always have significant health impacts on their bodies, and can be a positive source of exercise when done right. The horses should at least have some turnout time to promote natural grazing habits and allow them to have some space.






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