Monday, January 29, 2007
Barbaro died today. I am glad his owners tried to save him -- that's what a racehorse owner should do but rarely does. But I think the American public is hypocitical. Thousands of race horses die every year, in far worse situations than Barabaro's. Even being a Kentucky Derby winner can't guarantee that the horse won't be slaughtered for meat.
Racing Thoroughbreds are magnificent, fragile babies that can barely support their own weight, let alone that of a jockey's. They run until they literally implode, because we ask them to. The entire gene pool is derived from just three stallions. Funny how no one wonders about what that might do to generations of animals.
These animals are bred for speed, not to survive. What are we DOING? Winning a trophy should not be so high up on our priorities that we condem millions of horses to misery. I've got a feeling if the situations were reversed, the horses wouldn't do it to people. They're not that greedy.
I used to worship horse racing. Football fanatics had nothing on me. I knew statistics, bloodlines; collected books, movies and artwork about racehorses. As a kid, I'd daydream about having my own racehorse.
Then, as I got older, I grew up. Seeing Charismatic being overtrained for the 1999 Triple Crown made me afraid to watch a race he was in, for I knew it was only a matter of time before he'd go down. And he did. And no one said boo. All they wanted to know was "Who do you like in the next race?"
It appalled me. I'd wasted years of my life on a sport that cared not one whit for the very animals it needs. I shocked my family and friends when I no longer watched races and wanted nothing to do with them. But I love horses more than what I looked like to others.
And I've never regretted it. I learned about other things, like paganism. The money, land and tracks of the racing industry can be used for better things, like building homes for the homeless, sheltering abandoned animals or becoming halfway homes for suddenly unemployed racehorses.
And the Thoroughbreds won't even mind if their breed goes extinct. The only ones who would mind are people.