Under the rain on Sunday Ellen Harris of Guilderland was standing near the entrance to the Saratoga Race Course, holding a sign that said, “Horse racing is cruelty to animals.”
Harris said she was ashamed of herself for being Visited family members from Virginia and Westchester Counties, some of whom were in the area, to attend a State University of New York alumni festival at the Brockport Alumni Festival on the circuit on Friday.
It was the same day that a racehorse was euthanized on the track after a fall injury.
“I’m going to tell them they are not welcome to stay to get on the track next year, even though I love to see them,” said Harris, who added the relatives were also in town for Saturday the 86th Celebrating her mother’s birthday.
Harris said it too felt bad, the family was having dinner at a nearby restaurant.
“B.Supporting companies that support horse racing is just wrong, âshe said.
Harris was one of about two dozen protesters who denounced the sport as a form of cruelty to animals.
The group highlighted 53 horse deaths on tracks across the state this year, including three at the Saratoga Race Course, and protesters said: “cruel and deadly racing practices. “
They also denied the $ 220 million the industry receives in annual subsidies.
Most of the spectators ignored the demonstrators. Some mOtorists honked their horns and called out to protesters to âget livesâ or âget jobsâ.
Several participants told the Daily Gazette they felt the protesters were wasting their time.
Patrick Battuello, President and Founder of Horseracing Wrongs, however, called out the entire Saratoga Race Course are experiencing a charade.
“All of this – the food, the drink, the party – relies on animal cruelty and animal murder,” said Battuello.
History indicates 15 horses will die at the venue this summer, he said.
“Worse still, research shows that the majority of horse races today will end up in ‘horse hell’ ‘, the slaughterhouse, at the end of their careers,” said Battuello.
“And so the question is really very simple for everyone who is betting on these races, for everyone who comes through these hubs,” he said. “Is that in order? Do you feel comfortable with horses being whipped, killed and slaughtered for your entertainment? “
While it’s “just a different sport,” horse racing is no different, and because of the slaughterhouse component, it’s arguably worse than greyhound racing, which is morally banned in 41 states, Battuello said.
Battuello said there will only be two dog tracks left in the country by the end of next year.
Battuello said the protesters are not interested in reform because they do not believe the industry can be fixed.
Horse abuse includes drug use, but mostly affects horse breeding Speed, with a large torso, spindly legs and brittle ankles, said the protester.
The horses are first used long before their bodies are mature, he said.
âA typical horse matures at 6 years of age,â said Battuello. “These horses are put on the track in intensive training at 18 months of age.”
He said that because they race so often Injuries from repeated stress eventually turn into full blown mishaps.
In addition, they are locked in 12-by-12-foot stalls for more than 23 hours a day, which goes against their natural state as social, herd-oriented animals, the protester said.
A The typical career of horse racing lasts 4 to 7 years, after which they become “retired”. He estimates that thousands of horses are slaughtered every year.
But the message of the protesters fell on deaf ears with 68-year-old Joanne Killian from South Glen Falls, who has been on the racetrack since she was 12.
“Well, it’s fun,” she said. âI love to watch the horses run. And I think it’s a sport that they are trying to regulate in terms of the owners and trainers, drugging the horses and stuff. I think it has become safer. “
Brockport’s Dianne Thompson said she used to have an A. Thoroughbred that raced on the Saratoga Race Course and Belmont. It was retired after suffering a leg injury.
Thompson said the horse was then put on a program called New Vocations. It takes in retired, rehabilitated and adopted racehorses.
“Ours was being rehabilitated in Kentucky on a palatial estate donated by a woman,” Thompson said. “He was there for seven months and we went to see him. He remembered both of us and snuggled up against us. “
After adoption, the new owner must file a progress report on the horse to New Vocations every three months for three years, she said, adding Your horse was adopted by a Virginia Tech equine veterinarian and has “just a paradise life”.
Her husband, Larry Eaton, said it was wrong to call the entire industry a form of animal cruelty.
“There has been some abuse, but overall it is being treated very well,” said Eaton. “And you can find rehab and people trying to adopt the horses within 20 miles of here.”
Eaton claimed the protesters could not have realized that the horses would not have been born if they were not bred for the sport.
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