Yesterday, January 29th, 2017, marked the tenth anniversary of the death of the great racehorse, Barbaro which, once again, brought to light, the inhumane treatment of thoroughbred horses by the racing industry.
This industry has a long dark history that is really sad. From Barbaro shattering his leg at the start of the Preakness to the planned destruction of Alydar by his owner and his attorney to collect insurance money, to Eight Belles, a filly that had compound fractures in both front legs after running second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby – and there are numerous others.
According to the Equine Injury Database in 2008, two Thoroughbred racehorses die every day in North America, and this is just the ones that are reported. It is not required to report when you euthanize one of your racehorses.
There are numerous ways the industry can cut down on the number of horses put down but they don’t implement any of them.
Theories abound as to why there are so many injuries to these horses, the main one being they race these young horses at two years old before they are fully developed, but breeding practices, greed, both on the owner’s part and that of the veterinarians, wanting to keep the horse alive at any cost, and those damn break over shoes they put on the horses to keep the front feet from sliding when they hit the track surface so the feet “break over” faster, are major causes as well. This industry needs some oversight, that’s for sure.
Horse lovers can only hope it’s sooner than later.