Nobody goes to PETA for the uplifting videos. Their just-released exposé on the horse racing industry is no exception.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted a four-month undercover investigation of prominent US racehorse trainer Steve Asmussen (trainees include Curlin, Rachel Alexandra and 2013 Kentucky Derby contender Tapiture). The hidden camera footage shows lame horses forced to compete, drugs being used for non-therapeutic purposes, and the use of an electrical device to shock horses into running faster.
In other words, practices you’ll find in one form or another in all high stakes equestrian sports. And many low stakes ones, too.
This is not a feel-good video. (Heads up: there is A LOT of cursing.)
In any equestrian sport there are ethical horse trainers AND unethical ones like Asmussen. It’s unfortunate that the latter always seem to be dragging our sport’s image down. (Update: Soon after the video went public yesterday, horse racing authorities in New York and Kentucky opened investigations into the trainer.) It’s easy to point the finger, but it’d do more service to horses everywhere if we stopped and looked critically at our own practices. Anybody who competes has likely, at one time or another, put results before the horse. It’s good to be reminded of what’s really important.
What do you think, Horse Nation? Sound off in the comments section below!
Carley Sparks covers show jumping and related ridiculousness at getmyfix.org.