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Old 20th November 2022, 11:26 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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Horse Racing is a Cruel and Sadistic Industry

Content warning: animal cruelty

Yep. I said it. I do not support the horse racing industry in any way and I think it should be outlawed. Here's just the latest good reason:

Jockey Ric McMahon sentenced over possession of jigger at Birdsville Race Club

Quote:
A Brisbane jockey has been fined $5,000 and had a conviction recorded for possessing a banned electrical device at Birdsville racetrack.

Ric McMahon, 34, appeared via telephone in the Mount Isa Magistrates court on Monday afternoon after pleading guilty to one count of possessing a prohibited thing at a licensed venue.

Mr McMahon was photographed with an electrical prod, or "jigger", at the Birdsville track on August 30.

A jigger is a small taser-like device that can be used to administer an electric shock to a horse to condition it to run faster.

The possession or use of jiggers is banned in horse racing.
While it is great that this bloke has been nicked for electrocuting horses, it is a monetary fine only, a slap on the wrist. He should be barred from racing for life. And this is just one issue. There are many, many more.

This gets a little hard to watch at times, but it summarises my position on racing in general, and the Melbourne Cup - the race that stops a nation - in particular.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

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Old 20th November 2022, 11:45 PM   #2
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I can see your point. But I had a debate with my youngest daughter when she was a vegan (she is not now). I asked her what she thought would happen to cows if the world became vegan. Of course cows would become virtually extinct.

Horses would not because they have uses for them other than horse racing, but most thoroughbred horses would be euthanised. Is this a good outcome?

Also since the Melbourne Cup tragedies, all horses are scanned before the race and many are scratched as a result. There were no fatalities this year.

By all means, make racing safer for horses, but I do not think things can be banned in search for a perfect world. Sports almost across the board result in people dying. Ban all sports?
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I can see your point. But I had a debate with my youngest daughter when she was a vegan (she is not now). I asked her what she thought would happen to cows if the world became vegan. Of course cows would become virtually extinct.

Horses would not because they have uses for them other than horse racing, but most thoroughbred horses would be euthanised. Is this a good outcome?

Also since the Melbourne Cup tragedies, all horses are scanned before the race and many are scratched as a result. There were no fatalities this year.

By all means, make racing safer for horses, but I do not think things can be banned in search for a perfect world. Sports almost across the board result in people dying. Ban all sports?
Here's a few questions that I genuinely don't know the answer to...

How many thoroughbreds are euthanized each year?
How many horses does a thoroughbred breeder euthanize out of those that are successful?
(What happens to horses that are "scratched", for example?)
I assume that the horses don't race for long. If that's the case, then apart from the really successful ones like... Redrum (?) and Deep Impact (?), the others probably don't live that long.

I would expect that even if you euthanized all the horses, you would break even in a few years.

I don't have the numbers, but my guess is that keeping racing alive to avoid euthanizing horses is not a very persuasive argument.

I don't think we should ban all sports. For the most part, people don't get put into them against their will (although in some cases they certainly are, and I think that sports that incentivize desperate people to take extreme risks with their bodies are extremely unethical).
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:20 AM   #4
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Yeah, the difference between human extreme sports and something like horse racing is informed consent. Horses don't get a choice whether to race or not. They're born as racehorses, they're bought and sold as racehorses, and while it is true that some are retired and given good homes (I have known a few) some die as racehorses.
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yeah, the difference between human extreme sports and something like horse racing is informed consent. Horses don't get a choice whether to race or not. They're born as racehorses, they're bought and sold as racehorses, and while it is true that some are retired and given good homes (I have known a few) some die as racehorses.
Sure. But without horse racing, most thoroughbreds will be euthanised in my view.
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Sure. But without horse racing, most thoroughbreds will be euthanised in my view.
Obviously, the welfare of the now-retired horses must be catered for in the legislation that bans racing.
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:29 AM   #7
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I knew someone who handled equine therapy. One horse he had was a retired racehorse. Had been physically and emotionally abused. It was in recovery itself, although still helping others.

I think dog racing is also supposed to be pretty bad.
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
I think dog racing is also supposed to be pretty bad.
Oh, it definitely is.
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Sure. But without horse racing, most thoroughbreds will be euthanised in my view.
Which, as I assume, is probably their fate anyway.
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Old 21st November 2022, 01:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Which, as I assume, is probably their fate anyway.
Only after they serve their racing and breeding lives. Without racing or breeding, thoroughbred horses lives are shortened without doubt.

Yes racing can sometimes be brutal, and we canít know how horses can feel about this. But if communication were possible, I think horses would opt for survival. Isnít this what evolution is all about? Survival.
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Old 21st November 2022, 01:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Only after they serve their racing and breeding lives. Without racing or breeding, thoroughbred horses lives are shortened without doubt.

Yes racing can sometimes be brutal, and we can’t know how horses can feel about this. But if communication were possible, I think horses would opt for survival. Isn’t this what evolution is all about? Survival.

Is this supposed to be some sort of slavery analogy?

I am not shedding tears for the horses, but still...
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Old 21st November 2022, 01:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
Is this supposed to be some sort of slavery analogy?
No.
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Old 21st November 2022, 01:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Only after they serve their racing and breeding lives. Without racing or breeding, thoroughbred horses lives are shortened without doubt.

Yes racing can sometimes be brutal, and we canít know how horses can feel about this. But if communication were possible, I think horses would opt for survival. Isnít this what evolution is all about? Survival.
Evolution isn't all about anything. Anyway, the breeding part of your analysis takes care of whatever anthropomorphic desire you're attributing to the process.
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Old 21st November 2022, 01:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I asked her what she thought would happen to cows if the world became vegan. Of course cows would become virtually extinct.
What's wrong with that?

Cows are an artificially-selected food animal. There's nothing morally important about preserving the species.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Jockey Ric McMahon sentenced over possession of jigger at Birdsville Race Club.

While it is great that this bloke has been nicked for electrocuting horses, it is a monetary fine only, a slap on the wrist. He should be barred from racing for life.
I'd be surprised if an appeal isn't launched, that's very light compared to similar cases. The Pumper (Jim Cassidy) copped a month suspicion for mere suspicion of using a jigger in the late '90s. It's also exceedingly rare and very stupid.

Electrocuted is incorrectly emotive - a jigger is akin to a cattle prod, which I believe are legal in Aussie. Do we use tasers on humans?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
And this is just one issue. There are many, many more.
Popular argument, cancelling racing.

Yes, some horses get injured and are killed, and thousands of horse that are too slow get put down.

On the other hand, millions of cattle, sheep and pigs and billions of chooks lead pretty miserable lives before being killed for food. We use mice to test viruses, but that's ok because they're mice?

Either we stop using animals or we don't. I'm cool with not allowing pets - I was checking the numbers today and NZ electrocutes (actual electrocution for euthanising) ~50,000 cats and dogs a year, while cats are a major problem in both our countries in killing native species. I guess 500 racehorses are worth more than 50,000 dogs & cats, because I never see anyone demanding people stop getting pets.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Here's a few questions that I genuinely don't know the answer to...

How many thoroughbreds are euthanized each year?
A quick rule of thumb is that 80% of horses won't be fast enough to race, so about 4/5 of every year's foals get put into cans of dog food. Unless you have a vegan dog, your dog almost certainly eats horse.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
(What happens to horses that are "scratched", for example?)
A scratching doesn't mean anything beyond a horse not starting in a race it's been entered for.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I assume that the horses don't race for long. If that's the case, then apart from the really successful ones like... Redrum (?) and Deep Impact (?), the others probably don't live that long.
A fair horse will race from 2 or 3 until it's 6 or 7 years old, but the average is probably 2-3 seasons, because it's bloody expensive to train a horse, so the petfood factory beckons. When a horse retires, unless it's a champion and earned a comfy retirement, it usually gets put in a can because they're expensive to own, take up a lot space, and aren't good for anything else. A tiny percentage of horses get kept to breed.

Most racehorses are no good for pony clubs or show jumping due to temperament.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I would expect that even if you euthanized all the horses, you would break even in a few years.
The estimate is that racing supports 30,000 jobs in NZ, so it's probably 10 times that many in Aussie. The value of bloodstock and infrastructure will run into hundreds of billions across Aussie, I'd think.

I'm picking that PETA, the SPCA and anti-racing brigade aren't up to pay for those losses, so I'd leave the ball in their court personally. I don't think it's reasonable to wipe out people's assets on a whim without compensation.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Yes racing can sometimes be brutal, and we canít know how horses can feel about this.
I think we can. Thoroughbreds are bred to race, like greyhounds, and they love to race, because if they didn't they'd piss off in a different direction.

A horse weighs 500kg, and a jockey weighs 50. No contest.

Even the whip argument is moot, because some horses won't be whipped and run away from it, which is hopeless. Spurs have been outlawed forever, but you can still give them a good nudge in the ribs with riding boots, which are pretty solid in the heels.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What's wrong with that?

Cows are an artificially-selected food animal. There's nothing morally important about preserving the species.
Again thanks for disagreeing. It always strengthens me.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
...snip...

Either we stop using animals or we don't.
A classic false dichotomy.

Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
...snip...
I'm cool with not allowing pets - I was checking the numbers today and NZ electrocutes (actual electrocution for euthanising) ~50,000 cats and dogs a year,
...snip..
Where are those numbers?
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Old 21st November 2022, 03:00 AM   #19
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If cows become less populous due to less meat and milk production, that is not the same as cruelty inflicted on race horses or other sport such as polo. There is nothing more heartbeaking than seeing horses break their necks at Beechers Brook in the Grand National. I've heard stories of members of the Royal Family giving their horses a damn good thrashing at polo matches and digging their heels in viciously.
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Old 21st November 2022, 03:54 AM   #20
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For me it was when I learned that some horses were given tracheostomies so they could race.

(This was phased out in the Uk starting in 2012 but horses with a tracheostomy prior to 2012 could continue to race.)

When I learned about that l looked into horse racing practices and I was horrified. There is no concern about the horses welfare outside of them being winning horses.

But it is so embedded into the culture of many countries I can't see it stopping anytime soon, never mind of course the amount of money in it.
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Old 21st November 2022, 04:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
For me it was when I learned that some horses were given tracheostomies so they could race.

(This was phased out in the Uk starting in 2012 but horses with a tracheostomy prior to 2012 could continue to race.)

When I learned about that l looked into horse racing practices and I was horrified. There is no concern about the horses welfare outside of them being winning horses.

But it is so embedded into the culture of many countries I can't see it stopping anytime soon, never mind of course the amount of money in it.



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Gelding is also not nice, but the horse survives and serves a purpose. Not a purpose you might agree with, but better than euthanasia.
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Old 21st November 2022, 04:17 AM   #22
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I used to be involved in the sport of competitive endurance riding, which is superficially similar to horse racing, it that it is a race on horse back.

However the differences are the distances (of course) and the fact that, unlike horse racing, the horse is not a regarded as disposable commodity. It has to be properly trained, conditioned and looked after both in the paddock and during the race. A typical race is 80 km to 120 km, run in multiple "legs" with a veterinary check after each leg. Within 30 minutes of crossing the leg finish line, you must present your horse to the vet where the horse's heart beat is checked - it must be below 36 bpm or you are eliminated from the race. Even if it passes the heartbeat test, the horse also must undergo a physical soundness check that involves a dehydration check and a "run-out" check where the vet looks for stiffness, soreness and lameness. Fail that, and you're out of the race. Finish the race by passing all vet checks, including the more stringent one at the end of the race, and you are said to have "completed". If you are "vetted out" of two races in a season, you get a warning - vet out of a third race, and both you and your horse are suspended for the rest of the season.

The well-being of the horse is paramount - so much so that winning the "Best Conditioned Horse" award is considered more prestigious than winning the race itself. Typically, competitors will dismount during the race to give their horse a break from carrying the extra weight of the rider. Personally, I used get off and run 15 to 25 km of a typical 80 km race, especially in the later legs. Race management is everything. Too slow and you'll be well down the field, too fast and your horse won't recover in time at the vet check, and be eliminated. There a reason why endurance riders refer to their horses as "the most important member the team".
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Old 21st November 2022, 04:27 AM   #23
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And I’m certain equestrian horses are treated well enough (although I’m certain many die due to jumps).

The point you make is valid. No horse owner wants their horse to die or be injured, no matter what the purpose of owning the horse is.
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Old 21st November 2022, 04:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
And Iím certain equestrian horses are treated well enough (although Iím certain many die due to jumps).

The point you make is valid. No horse owner wants their horse to die or be injured, no matter what the purpose of owning the horse is.
The fact that they used to perform tracheotomies so a horse could race (not so the horse had a comfortable life and a tracheotomy was needed for that) belies that.

They'll get away with anything they can.

Of course there will be some owners/trainers that are worse than others, I am even sure there will be some that are good owners but we are talking about an industry that considers the horses to be merely commodities and status symbols at the expense of the horses.
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Old 21st November 2022, 05:22 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The fact that they used to perform tracheotomies so a horse could race (not so the horse had a comfortable life and a tracheotomy was needed for that) belies that.

They'll get away with anything they can.

Of course there will be some owners/trainers that are worse than others, I am even sure there will be some that are good owners but we are talking about an industry that considers the horses to be merely commodities and status symbols at the expense of the horses.
And cows are?
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Old 21st November 2022, 05:47 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Content warning: animal cruelty

Yep. I said it. I do not support the horse racing industry in any way and I think it should be outlawed. Here's just the latest good reason:
Without commenting on whether horse racing is cruel, I don't think citing a practice that is specifically banned can be seen as a 'good reason' to oppose the sport.
It is like banning cycle races because some people have hidden a motor in the frame.
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Old 21st November 2022, 09:54 AM   #27
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I live in Kentucky, self-styled "Horse Capital of the World", but am not a fan at all of horse racing as a "sport". I've owned and ridden horses for most of my life, but they were just for casual trail riding. We fed, sheltered, groomed, and provided medical care for them in exchange for the occasional ride. Horse racing seems much more mercenary. Use them up in few years in a few years and move on to the next one.
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Old 21st November 2022, 04:51 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
A classic false dichotomy.
Nonsense. I showed that the mere act of humans owning animals is dangerous to their health.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Where are those numbers?
Very well hidden. The appallingly corrupt outfit known as NZRSPCA doesn't like to advertise the fact, so the data is out of date, but I have no doubt it's still accurate.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/euthan...WEQOPWGPI2URI/

https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/loc...ncil-last-year

Originally Posted by lionking View Post
And Iím certain equestrian horses are treated well enough (although Iím certain many die due to jumps).
You maybe need to look a bit harder - this is NZ's legendary double gold medal-winning equestrian hero at work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jfs-QQGVeo
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Old 21st November 2022, 05:01 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
You maybe need to look a bit harder - this is NZ's legendary double gold medal-winning equestrian hero at work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jfs-QQGVeo

I don't think that exactly brutalized the horse. There are much more convincing examples of animal abuse than that.

Hell, I wish that is how I was disciplined growing up.
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Old 21st November 2022, 05:46 PM   #30
Olmstead
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post

The estimate is that racing supports 30,000 jobs in NZ, so it's probably 10 times that many in Aussie. The value of bloodstock and infrastructure will run into hundreds of billions across Aussie, I'd think.

I'm picking that PETA, the SPCA and anti-racing brigade aren't up to pay for those losses, so I'd leave the ball in their court personally. I don't think it's reasonable to wipe out people's assets on a whim without compensation.
Assets of people get wiped all the time by the cruel hand of fate or the market. And most such people didn't even invest in a blood sport.
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Old 21st November 2022, 05:55 PM   #31
The Atheist
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
I don't think that exactly brutalized the horse. There are much more convincing examples of animal abuse than that.
There's better footage of it but that was the first I found. The PTB took a dim view of it and gave him a jolly good ticking off.

Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Assets of people get wiped all the time by the cruel hand of fate or the market. And most such people didn't even invest in a blood sport.
Beautiful attempt at poisoning the well there, mate.

Horse racing isn't a blood sport. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_sport
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:01 PM   #32
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Get rid of the jockeys, just have the horses at the starting line and people at the winning line waving carrots and cooing at them, then it's the horses choice.

Alternatively, keep the jockeys but make them race each other without horses, that might be an interesting sport.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:04 PM   #33
Olmstead
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post

Beautiful attempt at poisoning the well there, mate.

Horse racing isn't a blood sport. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_sport
Sorry, I tend towards overstatement when it comes to animal welfare.

My larger point still stands though. No one will cry for me when translation software completely replaces me. Jobs shouldn't stand in the way of doing the right thing.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:27 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
On the other hand, millions of cattle, sheep and pigs and billions of chooks lead pretty miserable lives before being killed for food. We use mice to test viruses, but that's ok because they're mice?
It's not my primary platform, and I don't spend as much time on it as many, but humane treatment of animals, including animals raised for food, is a concern of mine. Not all people concerned with animal welfare are full-on PETA crazies.

Originally Posted by Lothian View Post
Without commenting on whether horse racing is cruel, I don't think citing a practice that is specifically banned can be seen as a 'good reason' to oppose the sport.
It is like banning cycle races because some people have hidden a motor in the frame.
The fact that it happened at all, and that someone thought that they could get away with it in spite of the ban, is a good reason to oppose the sport.

Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The point you make is valid. No horse owner wants their horse to die or be injured, no matter what the purpose of owning the horse is.
My uncle raised and trained racehorses. He was never particularly successful. And I think he wasn't because he saw his horses as living feeling beings and not as commodities to be used as a means to make money. He cared for his horses, and they cost him a lot of money. They were the kind of horses that as someone pointed out (sorry can't remember who now) actually enjoyed racing. I learned to ride on unsuccessful ex-racehorses who were retired to the paddock. They can be wonderful animals and riding can be a great pastime. However, they take a back seat to capitalism and commercialisation. If a racehorse is costing more money to maintain than it returns in winnings, it's gone. What I want to see, if not an outright ban which as others have said is not likely, is legislation mandating that ex-racehorses be retired instead of euthanised.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Sorry, I tend towards overstatement when it comes to animal welfare.
And quite right, too!

First off, we need to ban people keeping pets - it's so far beyond cruelty I'm amazed nobody's brought it up yet.

I don't know how correct this is, but it seems reasonable: 1.2 million dogs are hit by cars every year in USA: https://petplaygrounds.com/1-2-milli...rs-every-year/

Meanwhile, 5.4 million cats are hit by cars every year in America: https://mykittyfindings.wordpress.co...at-statistics/

That's a lot more than horses who get whacked for pet food, and dead cats and dogs have no use at all.

On the flip side, cats don't just cause harm, but have made entire species extinct: https://pestsmart.org.au/toolkit-res...-in-australia/

Fish? Don't talk to me about fish! Aviaries are the cruellest of the cruel - you take a bird that flies maybe 50 km a day and confine it to a 5m2 cage.

I think the only answer is we all sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya while adhering to the Buddhist ideal of killing no animals and not keeping pets in any form.

Problem solved.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:38 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's not my primary platform, and I don't spend as much time on it as many, but humane treatment of animals, including animals raised for food, is a concern of mine. Not all people concerned with animal welfare are full-on PETA crazies.
And the enormous majority of people in racing love their animals with a passion.

The industry is extremely well-regulated and cruelty is very rare.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:38 PM   #37
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One, animals are tools.

Two, we treat animals well because of our humanity, not theirs.

Three, if an animal loves to run, it is not inhumane to give them runs.

Four , if we cannot do it humanely, we should abolish the practice.

So it ends up being like the death penalty. Should be okay, but humans keep ******* it up for the rest of us
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:46 PM   #38
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
And the enormous majority of people in racing love their animals with a passion.

The industry is extremely well-regulated and cruelty is very rare.
I dispute the "enormous majority" and "very rare" statements, but only in magnitude. Without the superlatives, I probably wouldn't dispute it at all.

I believe that it would be possible to have a racing industry that is perfectly humane, but we don't have that now. There's too much money in it, and money always wins out over welfare. My uncle was a humane and unsuccessful breeder. No causal relationship between these two things has been proven, but I've seen enough evidence of it that I'm satisfied that there is one.
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Old 21st November 2022, 06:48 PM   #39
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One, animals are tools.

Two, we treat animals well because of our humanity, not theirs.

Three, if an animal loves to run, it is not inhumane to give them runs.

Four , if we cannot do it humanely, we should abolish the practice.

So it ends up being like the death penalty. Should be okay, but humans keep ******* it up for the rest of us
Apart from that last bit, I do not disagree with any of this.
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Old 21st November 2022, 07:15 PM   #40
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Besides the slimy industry that's developed from horse racing, there are some pretty awful things that go on just in the horse showing world. One example I've run into is the "Big Lick" fashion among Tennessee Walking Horses, the best-known gaited horse in the Americas.

This is a look at the natural gaits of the horse [yt=usZCp-nJEYI]

This is a look at the Big Lick style [yt=r6rr9PNWgCo]

This is caused by soring agents applied to the legs, cutting the hooves to the quick to make them tender, heavy shoes, sometimes chains on their legs, and even pieces of fresh ginger shoved into their anuses to make them raise their tails. Once they're trained by the pain to walk like that, they can take the torture devices off to show them.

It's a horrible thing to do to horses that were bred for their gentleness and gait.

ETA: Well cruds, I've forgotten how to do the YT links. Could someone please fix?

Last edited by deadrose; 21st November 2022 at 07:17 PM.
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