Friday, May 09, 2008

Eight Belles

The ASPCA statement:

NEW YORK, May 5, 2008—In the wake of the tragic death of Eight Belles at this weekend’s Kentucky Derby, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) issued the following statement today:

“The fragile nature of thoroughbred racehorses and the stress and rigors that the industry subjects on these animals is loudly evidenced in the tragic death of Eight Belles who, as we saw, was euthanized after both of her front ankles collapsed just after coming in second at the Kentucky Derby,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres.

Continued Sayres, “The sport of horse racing is no different than other forms of entertainment where animals are forced to perform, often times in stressful and inhumane conditions. These include being raced too young before reaching physical maturity, being raced excessively, being forced to run on hard or slippery surfaces, or being injected with drugs to enhance performance.”

Almost all racing jurisdictions—New York being one exception—now allow potent anti-inflammatory analgesic drugs to be administered to injured and lame horses to keep them racing in spite of chronic and painful injuries. This ultimate abuse nearly always aggravates injuries. Often an injured leg shatters under the stress of racing, leading to horses becoming crippled and destroyed. Even less fortunate than the horses who are humanely destroyed are those who are less severely injured but forced, through the use of “legalized” drugs, to continue their racing careers.

While there is no evidence that Eight Belles was the victim of abuse, the fact remains that she was subject to compete in a sport known for its inhumane tactics. The ASPCA is opposed to any use of animals for the purpose of entertainment if it involves inhumane practices.

I grieved at the death of Eight Belles. This sport really needs reform. Hugely.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Ellie.

    I think that this sport needs to end, period, and that Eight Belles was a victim of abuse, simply by being forced into use for profit.

    It's interesting that horses used for their speed are considered to have "racing careers." Did you know that the word "career," when used as a verb, means "to run out of control"?

    When these horses' bodies break down beyond human control, they're killed. They're no longer profitable.

    I find it revolting.

  2. Yes, I find it revolting too, Jaliya. Let's pray that it stops or that at least laws are put in place to force the horse's owners and jockeys to be more humane. They ought NEVER to be whipped. Also, it's wrong to give them drugs that will mask their pain when they really should stop running.

    Thanks for commenting. Come back soon!


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