Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Goal: Stop horse racing industry from abusing and torturing animals.
For every 22 races, at least one horse suffers an injury severe enough that he or she cannot complete the race. Nearly 93 percent of race horses in training have gastric ulcers. Approximately 800 horses die from racing-related injuries every year.
Thousands of horses are bred annually, but only a small portion are considered worthy of being trained. Many racehorses are gravely injured during racing or training. Injured, not worthy, or retired horses are euthanized because they are no longer profitable. Some owners avoid the cost of euthanization by selling their horses to a slaughterhouse. Horses at the slaughterhouse are either shot with a gun or metal spike or have their spinal cords broken to paralyze them before hanging them by their hind legs. Many are still conscious as their throats are slit and they bleed out.
Horses suffer serious injuries during racing or training because they are raced at a young age, usually two or three years old, and their skeletal structure has not yet finished growing. This causes fractures, torn ligaments, and strained tendons. Race horses start their training at approximately 1.5 years old in comparison to non-race horses which don’t start being trained until they are three or four years old. They are trained more slowly so as not to minimize injuries.
Horses are forced to race even when they are injured. They are treated with a variety of illegal drugs to mask their injuries or enable them to run faster or longer. Additional cruelties abound when jockeys whip their horses more than 30 times per race. The whip is used on horses’ necks, shoulders, and hind quarters when they are already out of contention.
While race horses have the potential to race, they are drugged with performance enhancing drugs to make them as fast as possible. Nobody cares whether they are sturdy enough to withstand the brutalities of racing. When they are used up, their lives have even less meaning. Greed has become more important than the health of horses, jockey safety, or the integrity of the sport.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) provides the minimum standards of care and treatment for animals that are bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. The race horsing industry is clearly in violation of the AWA and needs to stop torturing and abusing horses. By signing this petition, you will urge USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to enforce the AWA and shut down breeders and owners guilty of fraudulent practices, mistreatment, abuse, and murder. Please save the lives of countless thoroughbred horses.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Thoroughbred horses in the United States are being abused, tortured, and slaughtered for the “sport of kings.” There is widespread evidence and proof of these abuses and cruelties, but the industry continues to perpetrate and ignore atrocities.
Race horses are bred for speed with little regard for their health. Profit is the only motive and horses pay the price. When no longer profitable, they are sold to slaughterhouses, killed for insurance money, bred to exhaustion, or left to die slowly on their own. The Animal Welfare Act is supposed to protect these animals, yet nothing ever changes.
Animals deserve our protection and care. We, the undersigned, urge you to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and ensure that all breeders, owners, stables, and racecourses treat horses with the respect and care they deserve. Please stop the abuse and save a horse’s life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Shariff Che’Lah