Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Rough and Tumble World of Thoroughbred Racing

 Track workers try to hold down Eight...

I am sure many of you have heard by now of Eight Belles's passing. She was apparently the first filly to run the Kentucky Derby in nine years and she placed second placed. Unfortunately after a crossing the finish line she ended up with a "condylar fracture," in both of her front legs effectively ending her career. The same thing happened to the famous horse Barbaro in 2006. It's interesting because this fracture is common in thoroughbreds and its not uncommon to euthanize horses as well.

One quote which really got my attention was this from NY Times:

If human athletes were euthanized on television every time one broke a leg or a neck in an accident, the National Football League, Nascar and Olympic skiing would be out of business.

I laughed for about a second, due to the cynical/sarcastic nature of the quote before realizing that is actually made sense. According to Sally Jenkins from the Washington Post "thoroughbred racing is in a moral crisis, and now everyone knows it. It's unsettling to know that the an animal could be put through so much shit for entertainment and if it fails it's automatically put to death(to put it bluntly).

Should thoroughbred racing be made illegal or should efforts be made to make it more safe? Can it be made safe to begin with since the very nature of the sport is work the horse out until it can win? An example was brought up in the New York Times about Dale Earnhardt's death which prompted calls for safety into car racing. However, comparing a person who chooses to partake in a dangerous sport to a horse that probably has no desire to run around in a circles is not exactly a proper comparison to me.

As far as I know, horses aren't naturally designed to carry humans, and despite any excuse horse lovers may make (I like horses too), they may like humans but I doubt they want to be ridden all day. There maybe a solution to this but right now I don't see it. On a animal psychology level and moral level do we have the right to domesticate animals and make they do things for our entertainment? Maybe we do. I am not exactly sure but if we stop thinking about that and if we get desensitized to these incidents maybe it won't matter anymore. What do you think?

Horse Lovers View From Inside the Industry - The Rail - Sports - New York Times Blog

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