Ontario's Horse Racing Industry Using Callous Manipulation by Warning of 13,000 Horse Slaughter

Yesterday's news piece warning of the possible slaughter of 13,000 race horses, about half the horses active in all forms of racing, by early in 2013 made me instantly recall the classic National Lampoon Magazine cover from 1973 [left]. The Horse Racing industry fears that their precious profits would be trimmed by the Ontario government's announcement some months ago that it was terminating a lucrative slots revenue sharing program with racetracks. Of course, in their infinite wisdom, nobody in the Ontario government has said what would happen if /when the racetracks shut down, especially where all those slots machines would go? Or where the government will find the $1 billion that the slots-at-racetrack program churns? But that's another story, for another day.

According to the Horse Racing Industry Transitional Panel report delivered Aug. 17 to Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, between 7,500 to 13,000 horses are at risk for systemic 'euthanization'. Let's make one thing clear - slaughter is NOT euthanasia. There is no painless, sweet sleep awaiting any horse receiving a death sentence. Each year, tens of thousands of North American horses—riding horses, carriage horses, race horses, wild horses, and children’s ponies—are inhumanely transported and slaughtered for meat, many of them young and healthy. Of that number every year 4,000 are race horses sent to slaughter because of injuries, old age or diminished success in the racing business etc.

Glen Sikura, President of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Ontario division said yesterday, “We’ve been so cautious not to talk about (mass euthanasia) in the industry because first of all, we’re all animal lovers and god forbid anything like that would happen.”  Glen forgot to mention all the millions of dollars he and his fellow 'animal loving' society members have made and all the luxuries they've enjoyed for generations because of the dirty money they've made on those horses and their for-bearers. He forgot to mention how many of the horses he loved he had shipped off to the slaughter house as soon as they stopped generating bling producing profits. He didn't forget to mention his or his fellow breeder's fear of not making as much profit at this coming weeks horse auction.

These racing industry profiteers know that the 'euthanasia' headlines will generate a huge outcry from real animal lovers everywhere and figure that outcry will force Ontario's minority government to reconsider its admittedly questionable plans. But it's a disingenuous and manipulative attempt because the industry also knows that there are numerous other options like horse rescues, rehabs, retraining facilities, new homes and the SPCA that they'd be forced to turn to instead by that same public outcry. A quick search just now turned up these 3 PETA approved options among the hundreds of others: The Equine Rescue League in Virginia, The Redwings Horse Sanctuary in California and United Pegasus a Canadian-Californian non-profit organization founded in 1994 dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and retiring horses.

These horse racing industry folks are cut from the same cloth as the sled dog industry folks who got caught murdering all those dogs just outside of Whistler after the 2010 Olympics because they no longer were 'profitable'. Be they dogs or horses, they are our friends and partners not machines. They've given their best to the industry's selfish predatory capitalists and in return...well let's hope there's a special place in hell for these murderers.