Now that we are all professionals at social distancing to help other people survive, it’s time to expand our circle of compassion by practicing moral distancing to keep the horses alive. PETA wants everyone to stay away from Derby in Kentucky – and we get our message home with a mobile billboard circling in front of the racetrack entrance.
Churchill Downs ignores security
Humans weren’t the only ones having a hard time in 2020 – 25 horses died after catastrophic injuries on Churchill Downs dirt and turf trails last year alone.
The racing industry is well aware that dirt tracks are the most dangerous surface of all, with peat (or grass) tracks the second most fatal. Synthetic surfaces are less likely to cause bone fractures and death than dirt or sod, but there is no national standard calling for synthetic tracks – a stark reminder that many in the racing industry don’t take horse protection seriously. PETA owns Churchill Downs, Inc. shares, so we can influence the company from within. We directly asked the track managers to simply inform about the possibility of replacing the dirt road with a modern synthetic surface. So far, they have refused.
Thousands of deaths and lack of responsibility
According to the Jockey Club’s Horse Injury Database, there were over 6,500 fatal injuries during the national races between 2009 and 2019. (And that horrifying number doesn’t even include training fatalities.) The highest rate of these catastrophic injuries occurred on unpaved roads – the deadliest surface. It is estimated that more than 100 deaths can be prevented each year by switching from dirt roads to synthetic ones. Amazingly, these statistics don’t even take into account the number of horse deaths during training.
As long as the horses at Churchill Downs continue to die, everyone should refrain from participating or betting on the Kentucky Derby.
It’s not just the horses in Churchill Downs that suffer and die.
On average, 24 horses per week die from breakdowns at racetracks in the United States. Horses used in the racing industry are forced to flee – often at risk of knocks and even illegal electric shock devices – at breakneck speeds, often resulting in injury and trauma. even bleeding from the lungs. Outside of their capabilities, most are exposed to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs designed to mask injuries and artificially increase performance.
Even the horses that win the race lose in the end
Every year, thousands of “unprofitable” or simply unwanted purebreds from the US are transported by truck or sent to Canada or Mexico and slaughtered. In addition, hundreds of purebreds from the United States are sold annually to Japan and South Korea, and most of them end up in slaughterhouses. There they are forcibly killed and cut into pieces, and then their flesh is sold.
Even the so-called “stars” of the race may end up in the slaughterhouse. The loyal Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sold to a Japanese breeder and sold for slaughter a few years later. PETA also discovered that Derby and Preakness Charismatic and War Emblem winners were on breeding farms in Japan, and we learned that Private Vow, a Kentucky Derby runner, was stabbed to death in South Korea in 2020.
You can help save horses from suffering and miserable death by never betting on the races or walking on the treadmill while the horses are suffering.
Take prompt action to help the horses