Horse racing has been a sport almost as long as humans domesticated the wild Steppe horses. Careful breeding of the horse for desired characteristics resulted in different breeds with different skills, body shapes (confirmation) and temperament. The horses in the picture on the left are more than likely Thoroughbred horses that are breed for their speed and their feisty spirit that makes them ideal contenders in the sport of horse racing.
The Standardbred horse has also been bred for speed but their temperament which is steady and calm, and stamina. Thus they are ideal for buggy racing as pictured below. They also have a different gait from the thoroughbred horse one that is steadier giving the racer a higher degree of control.
Any one who has read my blog or followed me on Pintrest knows that I love animals, all animals and especially horses, dogs and cats. I also enjoy horse racing. What I abhor is what happens to the horses after they no longer produce winning runs, i.e. money, for their owners.
It is estimated that nearly 60% of all Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses end up at slaughter houses. This is after they have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for their owners. They are just put in an overcrowded cattle truck, in freezing temperatures or scalding heat, with no food or water and shipped off to Canada or Mexico since horse slaughter is no longer legal in the United States.
Part of the problem is there will always be a demand for horse meat. Humans have been eating horses for as long as humans have existed. It is considered a delicacy in many countries around the world so the demand for it is a major reason horses are shipped off to slaughter.
The next reason is that owners don’t want to pay for feed and vet care for horses that are no longer profitable. They look at the bottom line, and not the horses heart and ship them off to Mexico or Canada via slaughter house auctions. Some racetracks are making owners sign a sort of promissory note that they will not ship the horse of for slaughter before they can race at their track. It remains to be seen how successful this has been, but at least it is a step in the right direction.
Finally, there is the problem of over breeding. Racing owners want faster, stronger and more tractable horses. So they breed the winners until they get one they think is what they are looking for. The castoffs can end up on a dinner plate because there are not regulations concerning horse breeding.
As it stands today, there is no viable answer to the problem. Those that have been lucky enough to own a horse know that the horse is so much more than a dinner steak. They are not cattle. They are loyal, loving, kind, gentle creatures who care for their owners as much as the lucky owner cares for them.
I think only public awareness of the heart of a horse and dedication to horse rescue will stop horse slaughter. In the mean time, we work saving one horse at a time until the time comes when it will be outlawed altogether.
If you are interested in helping to stop horse slaughter contact Equine Rescue Network
Pictures courtesy of Pixabay