The Cruelty of Horse Racing

Gambling Blog Jul 9, 2024

horse race

Horse racing is one of the most thrilling spectator sports and has been for centuries. Whether you are a seasoned gambler or just a casual fan, a day at the races is sure to be a memorable experience. It’s also a great opportunity to test your luck and try your hand at placing wagers.

But while the sport has endured for so long because of its unparalleled thrills and entertainment value, there’s no denying that it’s also an inherently cruel activity. In the United States, where horse racing is regulated by state law, thousands of horses are killed every year, many of them at tracks and training facilities. Those numbers are likely higher worldwide.

The cruelty of racing is not merely the result of the massive size and speed of thoroughbreds. It also lies in the nature of the sport itself, which requires young animals to be trained intensively and placed in a competitive environment as soon as they are able to walk. The unnatural training of racehorses, combined with the fact that they have massive torsos, spindly legs and fragile ankles, makes them predisposed to injury and breakdown. The average racehorse does not reach full maturity until age 6, and by the time they are three or four, they’re thrust into rigorous competition.

In addition, horses are confined to small, barren stalls for up to 23 hours a day. In testimony before the New York state Senate, equine veterinarian Kraig Kulikowski likened keeping a 1,000-pound animal locked up in a closet for such a long period to locking a 100-pound child in a four-by-12-foot room for the same amount of time.

Even without the use of drugs and sedatives, a racing career can be dangerous and often short. According to a website called Horseracing Wrongs, more than 10,000 horses have died since 2014 in races and training facilities. Many were killed by cardiovascular collapse or traumatic brain injury caused by collisions with other horses or the track surface. Others suffered broken necks, severed spines or shattered limbs.

For all of these reasons, horse racing is not an appropriate sport for the humane treatment of horses. In any other sport, the death of so many “athletes” would not be tolerated. As a result, some people choose to boycott the sport as a way of protesting the mistreatment of these magnificent creatures.