Animal Rights

Horse Racing -- Money More Important than Horses' Health

| by PETA

by Amanda Schinke

What's more important to the racing industry: horses or money?

If you thought horses, we've found two recent news stories that will change your mind.

Consider this: Thanks to a lawsuit involving the co-owners of former Kentucky Derby favorite I Want Revenge, it's become even clearer how often horses used in the racing industry are dangerously overmedicated. Horses are given anti-inflammatory steroids and painkillers to keep them running even after they've been injured—and of 20 trainers interviewed by The New York Times, only three were willing to turn over their veterinary records.

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The New York Times also reports, "[T]here is a consensus among equine researchers and surgeons that legal medications and cortisone shots, over time, leave a horse vulnerable to a catastrophic breakdown."

In other words, even the legal drugs that the racing industry pumps into horses make horrific incidents like the one at last year's Kentucky Derby more likely. This is what PETA has been saying since Eight Belles crashed to the track with two broken ankles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

Meanwhile, ESPN reports that the owners of Lava Man—a famous horse forced to "retire" early because of injuries—are trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of the old fella by bringing him back onto the track. According to ESPN, because of his previous injuries, Lava Man is at great risk of suffering a catastrophic breakdown on the track and says that while "[n]ot a single national media outlet will cover Lava Man's comeback race," "every single one would cover a disastrous outcome. … Pick your letters: ESPN, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, or, worse yet, PETA."

Darn skippy.

Time after time, the racing industry risks animals' lives for an extra dollar. Forget the finish line—it's all about the bottom line.