The Darker Side of Horse Racing

horse race

A horse race is a contest of speed between horses that are either ridden by jockeys or pulled by sulkies and their drivers. It has become a global phenomenon and people wager money on which horse will cross the finish line first or second. The sport has also influenced culture and history in many ways. In fact, it’s one of the oldest and most famous sports in the world. However, there is a darker side to this popular activity. Many people have a negative view of the horse racing industry and feel it’s cruel to exploit animals for profit. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why people are against this sport.

Some critics of pre-election polling argue that journalists engage in “horse race journalism” in order to boost readership during election seasons. They argue that by focusing on the potential outcome of an election, they neglect the real issues at stake. This is especially true in close races when the horse race coverage becomes more prominent. Other criticisms of horse race coverage are that it’s more prevalent in corporate-owned and large chain newspapers, which tend to promote political candidates with greater frequency than smaller or independent papers.

In addition to the unnatural training and confinement that racehorses undergo, the stress of competing often leads to behavioral problems. These symptoms can manifest as compulsive behaviors such as cribbing, biting, and pacing. They may also lead to self-mutilation such as kicking and self-harm.

Furthermore, the racing industry’s use of a cocktail of legal and illegal drugs to mask injuries and enhance performance is extremely harmful to horses. In some cases, the pressure on the horses to perform can cause them to bleed from the lungs (exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhage). This bleeding can lead to heart failure or even death.

The most important factor for horse racing to change is its relationship with the horses themselves. It is crucial for the industry to realize that its existence relies on the animals’ labor and suffering, and that this needs to be renegotiated in order to save it. This will require a profound ideological reckoning at the macro business and industry level, as well as within the minds of horsewomen and men. Ideally, this would look like a near complete restructuring from top to bottom that prioritizes the horses at every decision-making table. This includes instituting a breeding program, capping the number of times horses can be run and their age limit, as well as integrating a more natural and equine friendly lifestyle for racehorses.

Despite its long-lasting popularity and immense financial potential, horse racing is an inherently violent and dehumanizing enterprise. To truly change, the racing industry must decide whether the lives of the horses matter enough to take some complicated and expensive steps to protect them. At the very least, this should mean implementing lifelong tracking of the animals so they can be properly cared for after they leave the track.