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Old 05-08-2008, 01:23 PM
Rogthedodger Rogthedodger is offline
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Default PETA Exposes its Real Agenda in Call to End Horseracing...By Hartley Henderson

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) clearly has an agenda different from most of society. While most in the public care about the protection of animals from abuse, PETA has made it their crusade to stop the use of animals for anything that could benefit humans if it means harming the animals. Listening to comments made by its spokespeople it is clear they see little difference in the health and well being of human beings from the welfare of animals. Some of their campaigns have been quite effective in demonstrating animal cruelty that led to changes. For example, many cosmetic companies no longer test on animals due to organizations like PETA and slaughterhouses try to use more humane methods when processing meat. However, PETA's goal is to eliminate meat eating altogether and to stop animals being used in other ways. PETA's slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." Consequently PETA has decided to take on the horse racing industry as an entertainment industry that it feels needs to be abolished.

Even though horse racing has been around for centuries and horses have always been used for the betterment of mankind (whether it be to pull wagons, a form of transportation, etc.), PETA has unilaterally decided that horse racing is detrimental to horses and must be stopped. On their public relations website, PETA takes shows the few cases where racehorses have been over drugged or where they were sold to slaughterhouses overseas when they could no longer race. While these cases are extremely rare, PETA seems to imply that theyare widespread. Yet for every Alydar and Ferdinand which had heartless owners, there are tens of thousands of race horse owners who care for their animals like their own children and wouldn't ever put them in harm's way. Plus, when they no longer are able to race most owners usually put them on the farm (or send them to breed). In fact Randy Moss (not the football player), who has been covering horse racing for years and knows the inside and outs of the horse racing industry, suggested that "horse racing's dirty little secret" is that horses are often treated better than most human beings.

It thus was unfortunate, but not surprising, that PETA used Eight Belles' tragic end to the Kentucky Derby for a publicity stunt. By all accounts the injury to Eight Belles was the ultimate fluke. After crossing the finish line and cooling down, Eight Belles seemed to take a bad step and broke both ankles. The Churchill Downs veterinarian said he had never seen that happen in all his years as track veterinarian and other track veterinarians concurred. As well, Hall of Fame Jockey Jerry Bailey stated after the race that he had never seen anything like that. It would essentially be similar to a sprinter finishing a sprint race with no issues, then breaking both his legs while walking back to the locker room. Yet despite the fact it was simply an unfortunate freak event, PETA took it upon itself to blame jockey Gabriel Saez for the injury and called for his immediate suspension. By all accounts Saez did nothing wrong and dismounted the horse immediately after sensing something was wrong, but PETA (who clearly has less concern for the feelings of the human jockey than the horse) took the opportunity to lay blame, accusing Saez of mercilessly whipping the horse down the stretch which they believe somehow led to the horse breaking its ankles. Eight Belles' own trainer looked at the footage and stated that she seemed happy, her ears were perked up and there was no indication anything was wrong during the race. The fact that the trainer, owner, nor anyone else close to the horse believed Saez was at fault seemed to be of consequence to PETA.

PETA didn't stop with Saez in its condemnations, but took the incident as an opportunity to blame horse racing in general. Short of calling for an outright ban of the sport, it made some demands which it said would make the sport safer. First, it wanted all dirt track races to be eliminated and switched to turf or polytrack only. Second, it wanted all whipping stopped in horse races. Third, it demanded age limits on horses that can run. Lastly, PETA stated that the number of races per year should be limited.

With regards to polytrack, its use is being expanded throughout the country. More tracks seem to be installing it every year and there is an expectation that in the next few years all the big tracks in North America will have it. Ironically, it was the racing industry that decided to start installing the surface, as tracks like Turfway Park, Del Mar, Keeneland and Woodbine (to name just a few) felt that if the surface could help prevent injury to horses it had to be adapted. They did so despite the enormous costs of installing the track along with the consternation of many horseplayers who find it hard to handicap. And the surface has indeed cut down on injuries. A spokesman for Woodbine Entertainment stated on a radio show prior to the Kentucky Derby that the polytrack surface has produced just 3 fatal injuries to date, compared to years prior where the amount would be in at least the teens. That hardly sounds like an industry that doesn't care about its animals. Mind you, in the United Kingdom all races are run on turf or polytrack, yet the UK faction of PETA is still calling for horse racing's ban. So obviously they will not be happy even if races are simply switched to those surfaces.

PETA's call to ban the whip is also short sighted. When those outside the industry hear of whipping a horse they likely think of what a slave owner in the old days or a dominatrix would do to its submissive with heavy leather whips. But horse racing whips are generally made of lightweight materials that hurt the horse no more than a small flick would hurt a human. More importantly jockeys generally don't hit the horse's flesh anyways. The jockeys' try to hit the saddlecloth or will wave the stick in front of the horse and make clicking sounds. The sound of the whip is what gets the horse to move. As well, sometimes in races horses tend to get confused and the jockey needs to show the whip to the horse to keep it moving in the right direction. Eight Belles' trainer stated that his horse had a tendency to drift into the rail and Saez had to show the whip to her to keep her moving forward. Saez realized he couldn't win the race and was well ahead in second. His reason for using the whip in the stretch was to keep Eight Belles' from hurting herself by running into the rail. If a horse will not respond to a whip, or doesn't require one, many times a program will state "no whip" indicating that the jockey will not be carrying a whip for that horse. Instead the jockey may use their hand which ironically could hurt the horse more. But if whips are totally banned there could be more carnage on the track than if they are allowed. Anyone who has seen a horse that runs a race on its own after it dismounts its rider can attest that loose horses are totally unpredictable in how they will react. The same holds true for a horse that cannot be made to pay attention because a jockey doesn't have the ability to show it the whip.

Lastly, as for comments on age and race restrictions, most decent trainers and owners try to run a horse only as much as it can handle (generally once or twice a month), and the larger tracks have age restrictions. It is true that some horses run past their prime, but if the horse is sound and enjoys competing why it shouldn't be allowed to?

In any regard, PETA's comments immediately following the tragic death of Eight Belles was uncalled for and did nothing to further its agenda to ban horse racing. Instead PETA's comments simply demonstrated that they will use any incident, whether done on purpose or not, for their own agenda. If PETA really cared about horses they would try to come up with some ideas that could help the welfare of horses without trying to blame those who are not at fault. I guarantee you that no one felt worse after Eight Belles broke her ankles than did Gabriel Saez.

05-08-2008
Hartley Henderson
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:34 PM
drunkguy drunkguy is offline
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PETA's slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment."
umm...actually they are. It's called the food chain. Main reason i never understood PETA

we get to eat animals. And when a great white chomps down on someone, or a mountain lion drags someone off to their den, that's all fair too. Just the basics of nature.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:29 PM
Uncle B Uncle B is offline
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When those outside the industry hear of whipping a horse they likely think of what a slave owner in the old days or a dominatrix would do to its submissive with heavy leather whips.




Well, i think we all have a pretty good idea now what Hartley wears, when he watches horse racing...







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Old 05-08-2008, 03:20 PM
StarnetGypsy StarnetGypsy is offline
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this is what has given us a society of sue happy namby-pamby's.

eventho PETA & the ACLU have contributed to the betterment of our society, they more times than not go way overboard with their restrictions on people. In so doing, they give Joe-blow the idea they can sue for the most ridiculous things, or have people arrested in the same manner (i.e. parents going to jail for crimes of their children?).

regrettably, we have about as much chance of people taking responsibility for their own actions (accountability) as PETA does ending the use of meat for food ...

JMHO
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:47 PM
count zero count zero is offline
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Facile, shallow article IMO. How much critical thinking did you do on this issue, Hartley, before your revolutionary conclusion that we've always exploited animals and (therefore?) we should continue to exploit animals?

I'm not talking about eating them. As drunkguy said, that's pretty much a decision that was made for us a few million years ago. But I'm far from ready to reject out of hand the notion that it would be a better world without spectacles in which animals are made to put their lives at risk for human sport. I'm guessing that you, Hartley, already agree with this proposition when it comes to things like cockfighting or bullfighting. Does the moral component change so much when the injuries suffered by the animals are less frequent, or, perhaps more to the point, when you happen to have a lifelong attachment to the sport in question?

The history of human thinking about animals is one of dramatically-increasing understanding of the consideration they deserve as living things. The great philosopher Descartes, for example, believed that animals should be classified with rocks and dirt, that they were things that were simply put here for us to use. No one remotely thinks like that today. Yes, PETA at times appears hysterical, but I strongly believe that in fifty or a hundred years it will seem incredible to the average person that society ever tolerated rituals that abase or destroy other creatures for our pleasure.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:57 PM
robin robin is offline
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Yes, PETA at times appears hysterical, but I strongly believe that in fifty or a hundred years it will seem incredible to the average person that society ever tolerated rituals that abase or destroy other creatures for our pleasure.


good point.
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:37 PM
Hartley Hartley is offline
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Höw can you possibly compare cockfighting or bullfighting to hörse räcing? Hörse räcing is not designed to hurt the animal. The other two åre. Should dog shows be banned because they provide entèrtainment för humans?
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:23 PM
Uncle B Uncle B is offline
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So let's leave it alone, 'cause we can't see eye to eye.
There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys.
There's only you and me and we just disagree.
Ooo - ooo - ooohoo oh - oh - o-whoa
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:12 PM
count zero count zero is offline
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"Hörse räcing is not designed to hurt the animal."

You say the bottom line is human intention. I say the bottom line is the actual effect on the animal. If you're really interested in deciding which of those is the real thing, just put yourself in the place of the animal. Say, being forced to race or practice racing every day of your life by the Zorkons from Omicron 6, and if you should ever damage your leg, it's goodbye Hartley. How heavily would you weigh the good intentions of the Zorkons?
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:21 PM
drunkguy drunkguy is offline
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You say the bottom line is human intention. I say the bottom line is the actual effect on the animal.
yes, but you can't deny there are positive effects as well

a lifetime of free food, shelter, protection from predators, green fields, and the opportunity to breed with many, many mares. That seems like a dream life for a horse. And all you have to do is put in a few years of "work" at the racetrack.

Sure you have a very, very, very slim chance of dying, and a slightly higher chance of being seriously injured (although you will usually receive world-class veterinary care if that is the case).

In the grand scheme of things, seems like a pretty good deal for the horse, considering the majority of animals in the wild are even lucky to survive to breeding age, period.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:48 PM
count zero count zero is offline
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"In the grand scheme of things, seems like a pretty good deal..."

Would you take that deal if the Zorkons offered it? Would anybody you know?
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:20 PM
Hartley Hartley is offline
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"In the grand scheme of things, seems like a pretty good deal..."

Would you take that deal if the Zorkons offered it? Would anybody you know?


I think a lot of people take jobs that could see their lives end early in exchange for a good living and something they generally enjoy doing, and yes something that provides entertainment to human beings. Examples: Dale Earnhardt, Greg Moore, Ayrton Senna, Owen Hart, Korey Stringer not to mention all the boxers.

Plus like it or not horses are NOT humans. I have 2 birds that sit in their cage and play with some toys and chirp for food and water. Would I want to spend my life in a cage and sing for food? No but I'm not a bird. I think as far as birds go they live pretty good lives. I think as far as horses go, racehorses have better lives than horses in the wild. But that really isn't the intent of the article. What I was trying to demonstrate is that PETA's immediate condemnation of Saez without knowing any of the facts was short sighted and that some of their suggestions if implemented would do more harm to horses than it would help.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:32 PM
Uncle B Uncle B is offline
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I have 2 birds that sit in their cage and play with some toys and chirp for food and water.



Kinda sounds like my routine...I agree, it's a pretty happy life...Although, you know, sometimes it's nice to go outside and poop.
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:31 PM
StarnetGypsy StarnetGypsy is offline
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.... and the opportunity to breed with many, many mares
boy howdy! my good friend breeds thoroughbreds in Lexington, and them studs get more poontang than you can shake a stick at.

i should be so lucky
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:47 PM
count zero count zero is offline
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Don't they only breed the winners? Hard to imagine them even housing and feeding a horse that didn't deliver, much less letting him impregnate the prize mares.
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:06 PM
StarnetGypsy StarnetGypsy is offline
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yep, they're winners. he has great bloodstock. it's a big farm, on the main drag with the other big farms.

Seattle Slew is in their line.

i can't find the good pics of the barns, but this is the main house ...

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:46 AM
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How can anyone ever give PETA even one ounce of credibility after their obnoxious, and abhorrent ad campaign that compared the treatment of chickens to the Jews in Nazi concentration camps. I'm surprised no one mentioned that, as it was one of the most distasteful things i have ever seen, and i've seen some terrible things over the years.

As far as the Horse Racing discussion, lets remember that thoroughbreds are bred to be racehorses. Their parents are racehorses, and while i don't claim to be an animal psychiatrist, i would bet that these race horses love to race, and love to run. Actually, the advent of horse racing has been a huge improvement as to the treatment of horses. Back some 125+ years ago, wild horses were either slaughtered for food, or trained to be transportation. Now, they have reached celebrity status with names, fans, and handlers who look after their every need. They are often times, given love, which is the greatest thing a living creature can recieve. When they do sustain an injury, they are treated in the matter which gives them the least amount of pain and suffering, and if that means euthinazation, then it is done humanely.

While i'm certainly not capable of such intense thought , say such as Rene Descartes, who was mentioned in a response, i am somewhat perplexed by a certain aspect of horse racing accidents.

When a champion horse like Barbaro suffers a life-threatening injury, the horse recieves flowers from strangers, and is actually cried over. When a filly like Eight Bells dies tragically in the Kentucky Derby, it makes headlines and begins great debates over many aspects of Racing. Yet, when some 7 yr. old $5000 claimer breaks a leg in the 3rd race at Finger Lakes, and is taken in the back barn and shot, no one gives a shit. They are horses too, but no one gives a rats ass. So it seems that horse racing is a reflection of society in general. If your a winner, successful, and famous, you are revered and showered with care and good will by the masses, but if your just some "average joe", the public couldn't care less about you. I always found that to be somewhat funny about horse racing and think there's a bit of hypocrisy in the attitudes of many.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:53 AM
drunkguy drunkguy is offline
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Don't they only breed the winners? Hard to imagine them even housing and feeding a horse that didn't deliver, much less letting him impregnate the prize mares.
yep


and only the "winners" get to breed out in nature too


the exception is, out in nature, the losers get eaten or starve to death
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:56 PM
count zero count zero is offline
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"How can anyone ever give PETA even one ounce of credibility after their obnoxious, and abhorrent ad campaign..."

Um, because the credibility of a message is logically distinct from the obnoxiousness or abhorrence of the messenger?


"they have reached celebrity status with names, fans, and handlers who look after their every need."

Yes, their every need is looked after unless their needs involve not being bred to have thin, easily-broken leg bones, or being allowed to socialize with other horses, or not being sold for dog food when they don't race so well. But I'm sure that having names and fans is so deeply rewarding to horses that it makes up for dying if they break a bone or don't race profitably.


[i]"Back some 125+ years ago, wild horses were either slaughtered for food, or trained to be transportation."

Exactly. And the reason you can view those days with the disapprobation you do is because the human race has made moral progress since then in the way it views animals. The same moral progress that people are continuing to make today, with or without PETA.
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