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Practical Issues > Animals for Entertainment > Racing

What's wrong with Horse Racing?

Horse racing is a problematic topic.  Though it is legal, and seems harmless, it deserves the attention of animal rights campaigners, since beneath the thrill of the race there is a lifetime of suffering for horses.

Many people who own race horses love their animals, but their love is simply misguided, and they do not realize the suffering they un-purposefully cause the animals, or the stress the horses suffer during the races.  Horses are naturally wild and free animals, and have been domesticated by humans.  But this does not mean that it is natural for them to live a large part of their lives in captivity, and to be forced to race with all their might during horse races.

The race is stressful for the animals, since they do not race willingly, but are forced to run by the jockey.  Horses obviously do not understand the concept of a race, and obviously do not appreciate or have any satisfaction in winning a race.  All that they comprehend during the race is that their jockey is forcing them to run with all their might.  This is obviously very stressful for the animals.  Furthermore, in many races, the horses are beaten with sticks, whips or other objects so that they run faster.  This adds physical pain to the stress-related suffering.  Sometimes, the horses are also drugged to run faster, even though this is illegal.

To add insult to injury, when a race horse is injured and can no longer race, it is usually killed on the spot by the owner, since an injured horse is no longer profitable.  That's the thanks the horse gets for making money for its owner!

Horse racing is even problematic for humans socially, since it encourages betting (without which the racing horse industry would probably crumble), which many times becomes compulsive betting which financially and socially destroys people's lives.

More problems with horse-racing from Bob:

1. Whips are cruel, unnecessary, and do not work. http://www.dharma-haven.org/five-havens/listens.htm

2. Horses understand the concept of a race. It is a natural instinct for a horse to desire the dominant "lead-mare" position. You can even see horses racing each other in the fields. If you canter up beside a horse, that horse will naturally want to race.

3. Horses get satisfaction out of winning. Again, every horse desires to be out in front of the herd. They understand the concept of winning, and dominating the other horses.

This is why horse racing is so cruel! If a horse is happy, healthy, and not overworked, that horse will naturally try to race and win. Instead, horse stables overwork their horses, forgo their health for money, and whip their horses in a (failed) effort to make up for it.

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