Imagine you were invited to join a sport where:
- Someone whipped you in order to make you go faster/work harder/improve.
- It would be classed as nothing unusual for someone to die.
- Should you die/be badly injured, the event organisers, TV cameras and fans would think nothing of just merely covering up your body and carrying on the event around you.
Would you want to be part of that sport? I certainly wouldn’t. Even for the adrenalin junkies who might look at No2 and still think that it is a risk that they would choose to take, what about the other two points? No, you wouldn’t choose a sport like that.
But yet, it is a sport. A very popular one and all those things do happen. Horse racing.
Animal Aid have been tracking the deaths of horses during racing since 2007 and incredibly, there have been 804 deaths since they started their record. 804. That’s 3 a week. That’s just in Britain alone. With horse racing all over the world that figure is in fact much higher. Update: since I wrote this post a year ago, the figure is now up to 944.
Their findings are available for all to see, with the date, name of horse and the injury which caused them to be destroyed. Here’s the link for you to see for yourself.
The jockey chooses to enter the sport. He trains with the horse, rides with the horse, chooses to enter an event with the horse. The horse? Well he just likes to run.
The horse can’t be briefed for the race ahead. He doesn’t know how many fences there are, how high they are, how many people and horses are going to be jostling around him for places. He doesn’t know the fact that if he falls, he will more than likely be destroyed because he is then “useless”.
I was going to put a picture of here of horse racing and the falls. But I can’t bring myself to. If you are an animal lover they just make you sick to your stomach.
But this I will put on. What the BBC called “an obstacle” in the Grand National last year. I call it a travesty.
Horse racing is a business. If people stop making the bets and boycott the events, a difference can be made. It takes no effort on your part. Just this year, don’t make your yearly Grand National bet. If someone asks you to a race, say no.
When the public really get together and use their voice, their spending power and their opinion, it is amazing what can happen. A horse may not be endangered, it may not be exotic like a lion or a tiger, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.