Letter: The Cruelty of Horseracing


Dear Governor Cuomo:

Facts, as John Adams famously said, are stubborn things, and the fact is that the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) “demonstrably safer racing” is a lie. When we compared 2017 to 2013—the year the “safety/welfare” recommendations from the task force that you convened were implemented—we found that deaths, both race day and total (including training and stall), at the three NYRA tracks actually went up. Yes, that’s right, deaths increased from ’13 to ’17. What’s more, the Saratoga ’17 season was the worst on record (since 2009), with 21 dead horses. But that’s not all.

This summer, in the wake of unprecedented media coverage of racehorse deaths (Santa Anita), Saratoga saw 16 horses lose their lives. Sixteen—which is two more than its historical average. And now, Belmont, since returning for its fall meet, has notched eight kills in 16 days—and 30 on the year. Look at it this way: If they can’t stop the killing when their very existence as an industry depends on it, they can’t stop the killing. So it falls to you, Governor Cuomo, and state government to stop it, and the only way to do that is to shut these racetracks down.

In a landscape that abounds with myriad other gambling and entertainment options, has not the time at long last arrived for us as a supposedly advanced society to stop gambling on and being entertained by the suffering and death of sentient beings?

End the cruelty. End the killing. End horseracing.

Patrick Battuello,
founder and president of Horseracing Wrongs

Horseracing Wrongs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to eradicating horseracing in the United States.

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