As most of the readers of this blog know, the welfare of suffering, abused and neglected horses is one of most passionate causes. Today I am excited and honored to welcome my very first guest blogger, my friend Christine Orman. Christine is the Resource Development Director of an amazing organization called ReRun. One day I hope to take many horses off her hands. This is a photo of her and North Flash.
Thank you, Frank, for inviting me to tell your readers a bit about the work our organization, ReRun, does to help Thoroughbred racehorses. Let me first begin by throwing out some not-so-fun facts about the racing industry and the beautiful horses involved so that everyone can get a feel for the importance (and challenge) of ReRun’s mission.
Did you know…?
There are over 100 racetracks in the U.S., with at least one track located in 2/3 of the states.
The Thoroughbred horse is bred primarily to race competitively.
On average, 30,000 Thoroughbreds are born EVERY YEAR to owners and breeders who hope to raise a champion racehorse.
Less than 2% of the young colts and fillies that even make the cut to enter into competitive racing achieve star status during their careers and retire to lives of luxury.
The primary reasons for retiring a horse from racing are because of an injury or they don’t run fast enough to win any purse money and, thus, “earn their keep”.
For the vast majority of Thoroughbreds racehorses, their fate after retirement is uncertain and often very sad. Some are lucky enough to get privately sold into a new and happy home or find their way to programs such as ReRun. But the unlucky ones (and there are many) ultimately end up in kill pens, waiting to be transported across U.S. borders for slaughter in Mexico and Canada; a trip that in and of itself often causes serious injuries, illness, and even death to the horses (but that’s a whole other story!).
Over 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year and it is estimated by the USDA that 15,000 (likely more) of them are Thoroughbreds.
Most racehorses’ careers are over by the time they are 5 years old, and Thoroughbreds can have a healthy lifespan of 30 years.
Retired racehorses need homes…and that is why ReRun (www.rerun.org) was formed. We are a nonprofit Thoroughbred racehorse adoption program whose mission is to rehabilitate, retrain, and find loving, adoptive homes for Thoroughbred racehorses when their careers on the track are over. We work closely with racehorse owners, trainers, vets, and other members of the racing industry in order to get the horses into our program straight from the track or training farm before they end up some place bad. We then transport the horses to our foster farms where they receive a prolonged period of rest, any rehabilitation needed for injuries or health conditions, and retraining for second careers when they are ready.
I am a huge fan of Pamela Anderson - especially her performance in Borat - and I loved her on Dancing With The Stars last season almost as much as I love Kirstie Alley this season. She is a PETA spokesperson and ardent animal rights activist. Here she is at a campaign event, also attended by Glee's Lea Michele, talking about ending New York City's carriage horse trade, a cause that has always been important to me. These horses lead sad, brutal lives working in an industry that should have been banned over a century ago.