Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Greyhound and Horse Racing

Posted: 2 October 2012. Updated: 2 October 2012

Greyhound racing

Greyhound racing and horse racing may appear harmless on the surface, but they hold secrets of undeniable cruelty behind the scenes. They are both billion pound industries that exist for the purposes of entertainment and profit. Both greyhound racing and horseracing are legal in the UK, many states of the USA, and in many other countries worldwide.

Greyhounds are bred in vast numbers which is a large part of the problem. They are purposely over bred so that the chances of creating winning dogs are greater; the surplus animals that are deemed to never become fast enough to race are destroyed. The dogs that do ‘make the grade’, may endure cruel and inhumane conditions; the majority of whom spend most of their lives in crates, pens or fenced-in enclosures when not racing and are given very little human contact.

Training methods are cruel and brutal for greyhounds as well as other animals. Live lures are often used to encourage the greyhounds to run faster; chasing small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs in preparation for the inanimate lures on the track.

A dog’s racing career usually ends at around four years of age; some of the animals are adopted into homes, however, the majority end up either living out their lives in shelters, or are destroyed. However, many greyhounds never make it to ‘retirement’ age. As a result of the strain racing puts on the animals and the conditions they are kept in (often dehydrated and hungry due to little attention paid to their needs of food and water), they often suffer from a number of injuries and sicknesses such as broken legs, infections, heatstroke and heart attacks.

Horse racing

The horse racing industry is no better. Horses are trained to race and begin racing whilst they are still growing and have not yet developed fully. This puts incredible strain on the horses’ legs and frames, causing irreparable damage. Winning the race is the primary goal for the jockeys and therefore they will do whatever it takes to make the horse run faster; whipping the horse is one of those means. The use of whips in horse racing is legal in the UK (one of many countries); however, whips are banned in Norway.

Many horses suffer from a number of injuries as a result of racing. Due to sheer exhaustion and physical strain, they can suffer from bleeding lungs, bone and muscle damage, ulcerated stomachs and drug related injuries. In addition to any illegal drugs they are given to increase their speed, horses are permitted pain killers before the race to enable them to continue running, despite any injuries and pains that may inhibit their performance normally during the race. Those that are left with little hope of racing again are often euthanised as a means of saving the owners further veterinary costs. Another option for the owners is to sell their horse to research laboratories, as a considerable amount of money is invested annually into the study of racing horses’ ailments and pathologies. For those horses that do live through their racing career, as with greyhound racing, few race horses face a happy future. Many may simply disappear to UK or overseas slaughterhouses.

You can do your part by educating those you know to the hidden cruelty involved in animal racing. In addition, do not attend or bet on animal races; these industries would not survive if there were no gamblers betting on them!

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