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May 05, 2008


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Michele Kelly

I have never been a fan of horse racing. It's really quite along the lines of Greyhound racing. It's painful to the animals and only intended for the spectators who think it is quite fashionable and cool to attend such things as a Kentucky Derby Party. Meanwhile more than not, who come together for a picnic lunch with cocktails, donning their very fancy and ridiculous hats don't know diddley about horses. Once again, animals suffering at the hand of man and woman.


I don't think that horse racing is necessarily cruel as race horses are very well taken care of and pampered. Yes, it is work for them to run around a track with a 100 lb jockey on its back while spectators cheer but I don't think it's quite accurate to say that those who watch the races know nothing about horses. My parents' good family friends have owned several race horses and used to own a horse breeding farm. They liken animals to family members and wouldn't dream of hurting their horses in any way whatsoever. They all are very knowledgeable about horses and happen to be among the spectators in fancy hats and clothes. Another family friend also used to breed race horses and again, treated their horses as they treat their children. Yes, horse racing is dangerous but I don't think it is cruel. And all spectators are not ignorant people dressed up in fancy clothes, getting drunk off mint julips.

There is a motion out to change the race tracks to polytrack, a synthetic similar to astro turf which is much gentler on the horses and has proved to decrease injury on the track significantly. Hopefully the horse racing industry will take a cue from Europe and do two things: breed their horses to have stronger ankle bones, and wait until the horses bones are mature and at their optimum density before racing them.

I watched the derby and was so deeply saddened that Eight Belles was euthanized but I don't think she ever should have been put in a race against faster, stronger male horses.

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