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Mercantileness And Cruelty To Horses For Profit

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Racehorses are pushed to race at younger ages than they really should, so that the jockeys, trainers and owners can make as much money from that horse as they can. Sounds good right? Making loads of money? Well, maybe in this case it is not as good as you think.

Horses are expected to race before their bodies are developed which puts lots of force on the cannon bone of the horse (a bone in the horses lower leg) and it also leads to other serious health issues. If a horse breaks their cannon bone it is essentially a death sentence because they can not function without four working limbs.

This might help you to get your head around that. Imagine forcing a toddler to run a marathon in two hours while carrying a 10kg backpack. This is essentially the sort of force that is being put on these young horses so they can run laps around a track and make money for people.

You may be thinking, “well at least if they do it young, they have enough time to recover and enjoy the rest of their lives”.

I hate to say it, but there’s not a happy ending to everything, and this includes race horses. Around 9,000 horses are currently slaughtered in abattoirs each year. A study conducted by the RSPCA suggests that around half of these may be ex-racehorses.

And that doesn’t include the number of horses who actually die on the track before they have retired. Yes, some off-the track horses do get sold to people for cheap prices and end up with a lovely retirement but the majority of these horses don’t get this luxury. These horses end up being slaughtered in abattoirs. The USDA reported that 92.3 percent of horses sent to slaughter are in good condition and are able to live out a productive life.

And even those very few horses that are able to retire in a paddock and don’t get sent to slaughterhouses end up with a lot of health problems and are very stiff and sore. I know this because someone I know has an ex-race horse, called Junior, who is currently keeping my horse company.

He is the same breed as my horse, a thoroughbred, and he is younger than my horse, but my horse in his old age is still able to do some competing every now and then, and I am able to ride him multiple times a week, whereas Junior is incredibly stiff and you can just tell that every stiff step he takes is an effort. And you can probably guess by now what the difference between these two horses is. My horse has never raced, and Junior has.

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In the racing industry it isn’t uncommon for horses to be given performance and pain reducing drugs. That doesn’t sound all that bad, right? Enhancing their performance and reducing their pain? Well yes, sometimes these drugs can be beneficial in proper circumstances and the right dosages but that is not always the reality of how they are used.

Did you know that these drugs can significantly increase the risk of the horse obtaining life threatening injuries, illnesses and can even lead to fatality. Many of the drugs cause them to urinate so much it causes dehydration, which definitely not an ideal situation for an animal that does that much exercise. A common drug used in the racing industry is called Salix, which is designed to “prevent bleeding in lungs”.

But the industry often abuses this drug and use it so trainers can overwork their horses to an extreme degree without needing to worry if the horses respiratory systems are being affected. So, force damaging drugs into your horses system, which is already damaged enough by racing, just so you can try to earn some money which you aren’t guaranteed to earn anyway? Sounds like a great plan.

People may argue that if the racing industry was to be closed down many people would lose their jobs. Yes, this is true, but have you ever thought that this could be a good thing? The thing people don’t see when they are gathered in front of the TV on Melbourne Cup day is that often the mentality of these people is so bad that they go to desperate measures to make large amounts of money from their horses, regardless of what that means for anyone else.

An example of this is The Fine Cotton Scandal. Fine Cotton was a horse of limited abilities (meaning he wasn’t a very high level racer) who was located in Coffs Harbour, New South wales. Fine Cotton was eligible to race in restricted races (for horses with not many previous wins) and still had poor chances of performing well in the restricted race. The owner of Fine Cotton purchased another horse that looked almost identical to Fine Cotton, and performed better, called Dashing Solitaire.

He was planning to enter Dashing Solitaire in the race, pretending it was Fine Cotton so their chances of winning would be a lot higher. Unfortunately for the owner, Dashing Solitaire became injured not long before the race. Having already invested so much money into buying Dashing Solitaire, the owner decided he would buy another horse. The horse he bought was called Bold personality who was an open-class horse, several grades above Fine Cotton.

The problem was, he looked very different to Fine Cotton. So they resorted to trying to cover up the differences between the two horses by using white paint on Bold Personalities lower leg, so he would look like Fine Cotton.

This story shows how negative the mentality of the people in the racing industry is because they will do anything for money. Some people losing their jobs doesn’t seem like such a big deal after all when you think about the thousands of lives of innocent horses that could be saved, am I right?

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Mercantileness And Cruelty To Horses For Profit. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from
“Mercantileness And Cruelty To Horses For Profit.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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