Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hidden Cost Of Horse Racing

A little over a year ago, people watched in horror as Eight Belles was ridden to her death at the Kentucky Derby. Her jockey whipped her as she ran flat out on the hard dirt track before finally collapsing after crossing the finish line and immediately snapping both her front ankles. She was euthanized in the dirt where she lay, wracked with pain, a victim of the dirty business of thoroughbred racing.

Eight Belles' tragic breakdown was no freak accident. Rather, it was a glimpse into an industry quietly responsible for more than 1,000 fatal horse breakdowns on U.S. tracks each year.

Sadly, there is little to prevent exactly this type of tragedy from happening again at Saturday's Preakness Stakes—or any other future race—without your help to stop it.

We have done much in the past year for horses, but there is much to do. With your help, we can stop the hideous abuses that these and other long-suffering animals endure. Won't you please make a powerful gift today so that we can work to get drugs out of the stables in order to allow hurt horses to rest? With your help, we can also stop the other hideous abuses that these and other long-suffering animals endure.

In the year since Eight Belles' death, we've worked very hard on this issue. We have actually changed the media coverage of horse racing so that injuries and deaths are no longer ignored. We've sparked Congressional hearings to expose the cruelty that the horse-racing industry tries to hide. We have even awakened the conscience of some of the abusers and heard from whistleblowers, who we are working with now. PETA is fighting vigorously for more vital reforms, including the following:

A ban on all drugs designed to push horses beyond their limits
Softer track surfaces to protect vulnerable horses' bones and joints
A ban on the use of whips
An end to the racing of young horses before their legs are fully formed and strengthened.
An end to the practice of shipping thoroughbreds overseas, where most end up in a dog-food can
There is still a mountain of work to do to prevent the suffering of these poor thoroughbreds. We're working to change the massive horse-racing industry fundamentally, but we have already shown that we are up to the challenge!

PETA investigators have also documented the repulsive underside of the misnamed "sport of kings" ("sport of butchers" is more accurate)—owners who sell horses who can't win races anymore to slaughterhouses … trainers who give horses drugs to keep them running until they drop, break their legs, or wreck their health … industry leaders who prefer the hardest track surface because, although it breaks the most bones, it pounds the most speed out of the horses and brings these greedy souls the most profitable wins.

That's why we need you. We can't stop the whipping, doping, and killing of horses without your support. Please make the most generous donation you can now so that we can stop the tormenting of ALL animals for entertainment. Your gift will make an immediate difference.

Thank you for all that you do to end the mistreatment of horses and all animals.

Kind regards,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

P.S. Stand up right now to halt the abuse of horses used by the racing industry. Tomorrow is too late. Please make your special online donation now—before more animals like Eight Belles are hurt in the name of sport and amusement.

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