Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Is Racing Cruel..?

Racing has lost some nice horses in the last few weeks and the debate on whether or not racing is a 'cruel' sport will no doubt run and run. The discussions usually heat up around the running of the 'public races' like the Grand National and I suspect that many who watch those races don't have a clue that racing loses horses throughout the year on a regular basis.

Personally I don't think racing is cruel but no-one will convince me that horses enjoy racing, although that said, there are a small number of horses who do appear to 'excel' on the big occasion; if you could give a horse a choice of pounding around a racecourse on forelegs about the size of your arm or grazing in a large field , then the latter would be the choice every time.

Racing is an entertaining sport, a unique sport in that it is the only major sport where Man and animal work in tandem towards a common goal...except that the goal is not really 'common'. The goal for the jockey is to 'win' but not necessarily for the horse. Many horses suffer heart attacks or suffer other fatal injuries - very often as a result of fatigue. Of course thoroughbreds need running but I suspect they would rather do it on their own terms.

Racing carries risk and it always will, let's face it, there are not many sports where an ambulance follows you around while you are competing! The fatalities will always occur and all we can do is minimise the risks to horses and jockeys.

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