Cruel Facts About the Kentucky Derby
1. Race horses frequently suffer injuries because they are forced to train and race before their skeletal system has finished growing.
To compete in the races with the largest purses — which are for 2 and 3 year olds — horses must be trained and raced at too young an age, before their bones’ growth plates have matured. This causes many lower-limb ailments and injuries, including fractures, pulled ligaments, and strained tendons. Such injuries are common in horse racing.
2. Horses are forced to race even while injured, causing enormous suffering.
Since the profit-making motive, not animal welfare, is the priority, horses are drugged so they can race even when injured. A recent front page New York Times article listed the most common ways used to enhance a race horse’s performance: bronchodilators to widen air passages, hormones to increase oxygen-carrying red blood cells, cone snail or cobra venom injected into a horse’s joints to ease pain and stiffness, and a “milkshake” of baking soda, sugar, and electrolytes delivered through a tube in the horse’s nose to increase carbon dioxide in the horse’s bloodstream and lessen lactic-acid buildup, warding off fatigue.
3. The unnatural stresses inherent in competing so aggressively and at such a young age also cause or make worse other serious problems, such as stomach ulcers, heart murmurs, and bleeding in the lungs. These health and injury problems necessitate the use of drugs to maintain the horse’s racing value (but not well-being).
One study reported in the Equine Veterinary Journal noted a doubling of one type of heart murmur and a tripling of another in 2-year-olds after 9 months of training. Horses’ heartbeats can increase tenfold during a race, from a relaxed 25 beats per minute to an excessive 250 beats, leading to exhaustion, collapse, and sometimes, to a fatal heart attack.
4. Lethal experiments are now part of racehorse suffering.
Worldwide, thousands of racehorses die or are killed every year: during races, during training, or because they are not fast enough. Instead of reducing the unnatural pressure on the animals that causes broken backs and legs, heart attacks, burst blood vessels, gastric ulcers, and bleeding lungs (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), the industry sponsors lethal experiments on the animals, supposedly to learn why racehorses suffer and die from injury and illness, though the reasons are blatantly obvious.
5. Overuse of whips and spurs in races and the use of batteries and electric goads on training tracks are all illegal but they all still occur.
According to a survey conducted by the British non-profit organization, Animal Aid, jockeys in England whip their horses as many as 30 times during one race. The whip is used even on young horses, during their first race. Horses in a state of total exhaustion and already out of contention were also whipped. The whip was used on the neck and shoulders, as well as the hind quarters.
Please, do not support the Kentucky Derby or any horse racing events. Whenever money is involved, you can bet the horses will suffer. Since this is all about money, if you stop giving them yours, the day will come when they will stop hurting the horses.