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Horse Racing...... ? Cruel or Not ?

(105 Posts)
Bridgeit Wed 11-Mar-20 14:38:36

Just turned on the TV , The Cheltenham Gold Cup Horse Race was on , which I proceeded to watch
I have in the past often watched the Grand National ......
However having recently read & become aware of the fact that horses are often killed afterwards (if they have sustained an injury ) it has made think about the ethics of Horse racing, is it time to phase this ‘Sport’ out ?

Dee1012 Wed 11-Mar-20 14:49:05

My own personal view is that much of this is cruel and unnecessary. Race-horses are fatally injured and destroyed on a regular basis at race-courses all over the UK. I read that from 2010 to 2015 the average number of horses killed every year because of racing is 193. Most of these deaths occuring in National Hunt racing (also known as jump racing or steeplechase) which includes the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival.
That's without horse deaths that occur during training or elective euthanasia (this is defined by the BHA as euthanasia carried out on welfare and/or economic grounds when the injuries do not fulfil the criteria for immediate humane euthanasia).
Races can be long (over 4 miles) and the fences are too difficult. Can suffering for "sport" really be justified?

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 14:52:01

Is four miles a long way for a horse to gallop?

Sparklefizz Wed 11-Mar-20 14:52:27

I think it's cruel, and I hate to see the horses being whipped. Have we not moved on from this sort of thing?

gillybob Wed 11-Mar-20 14:56:52

I think its cruel too. My 2 eldest DGD's are quite horsey and assure me that horses are natural runners and jumpers ( often can't bear to watch) but even they agree that jump racing is cruel.

Bridgeit Wed 11-Mar-20 14:57:48

I would think that ‘galloping nonstop ‘for 4 miles is too much .

TrendyNannie6 Wed 11-Mar-20 14:58:47

Very cruel poor horses

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:03:41

Just googled. It seems wild horses can gallop for two to two and a half miles without over-tiring.

Now I'm wondering if the training, better diets, and breeding of race horses would make a difference. My guess is that they would.

SueDonim Wed 11-Mar-20 15:07:35

I think it’s cruel. Would a horse choose of its accord to gallop non-stop for four miles?

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:17:40

That's what I'm querying. Given that horses are naturally galloping animals and that natural selection developed the galloping ability, as in other galloping animals – wildebeest, zebra, etc — to escape predation, I wonder if "making" them gallop is cruel.

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:19:19

I don't have a pre-formed view on the matter but its cruelty does not seem 'obvious' to me. I'm open to being persuaded.

Dee1012 Wed 11-Mar-20 15:19:39

It's over 4 miles with an adult on it's back, holding/using a whip! Looking at the National, one fence alone is 5 feet 3 inches high (1.60 m), preceded by a 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m) open ditch on the takeoff side (just checked).

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:22:28

Jockeys are quite small adults and horses are very strong animals. Are those things they hit the horses with actually whips? Or non-injuring whackers?

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:23:16

Are all races over four miles?

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:24:27

What about the horses whose riders fall off and just carry on? I guess that might be to do with their herd instincts.

Dee1012 Wed 11-Mar-20 15:27:28

Not all races are that long but I do stand by my view that "jump racing" i.e Cheltenham / Aintree etc are the worst.

There's a site run by Animal Aid and if you look at this year alone in the UK, 23 horses have been killed mostly in National Hunt racing.

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:28:02

Measurements don't mean much. Human athletes train to jump enormously high or long distances and can sustain injuries by doing so. That doesn't stop them wanting to do it.

So, to go back to something I said earlier, mightn't training and breeding make a difference? What I'm asking is whether race horses are horse athletes compared to your average horse?

Baggs Wed 11-Mar-20 15:29:27

I think it's sad that horse deaths are associated with racing but, again, it doesn't follow from that that all horse racing is cruel?

SalsaQueen Wed 11-Mar-20 15:30:16

I think it's cruel. I hate dog racing even more. The greyhounds have a horrible existence and are dumped when they can't run any more.

Bridgeit Wed 11-Mar-20 15:43:59

Yes, Baggs I think you are correct , there are different breeds of horses.
Perhaps they should be raced without Jockeys, could be interesting 🤔

Dee1012 Wed 11-Mar-20 15:45:06

My view is purely personal, I think the whole racing "industry" is cruel.
Here's a link to one report but it's not pleasant;

Bridgeit Wed 11-Mar-20 15:46:17

Yes Salsaqueen, there are quite a few Greyhounds in Kennels after they have served their purpose.

phoenix Wed 11-Mar-20 15:47:03

Baggs I would say yes, they are athletes.

Just as I could not compete with Mo Farrah, or Usain Bolt in a sprint, or anyone who can run a marathon because A)I'm not built for it, and B)I'm not trained for it.

Daisymae Wed 11-Mar-20 15:49:08

Yes, I think that it's cruel. Horses can be medicated to race through injury, break legs while running their hearts out and jumping incredible heights. In the name of entertainment. Then of course what happens when they are no longer fit to race and no use for breeding?

Bridgeit Wed 11-Mar-20 15:52:30

Dee1012, Thankyou Although upsetting to see & read , it shows us that the situation is worse than many of us will have realised.