Animal welfare activists in America are now focused on the country’s horse racing meets, as they are seeking political support to have the sport abolished. The movement began in California last year when a significant number of horse deaths transpired at the Santa Anita Park.
Horse Racing and Horse Deaths as a Result of Racing Injury
Horseracing Wrong a New-York based animal rights group has started calling for a nationwide ban on horse racing sport. The calls began when they started looking into the 2018-2019 6-months winter meet in Santa Anita Park, which resulted in the deaths of 30 horses. The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) said it already had the Santa Anita race track in its radars, because at an average, 50 horse deaths per year has been occurring at the track since 2008 to 2018.
Immediately when “American Currency” the 30th race horse was euthanized after suffering a leg injury in Santa Anita’s race track, the CHRB called for an inspection of the race course. Events during the first 3 weeks of March had to be suspended in order to make way for renovations. In addition, several safety protocols were introduced at the park in order to address the increasing number of equine fatalities.
In reacting to the series of horse deaths at the Santa Anita Park, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed the Santa Anita owners and the CHRB to create a 5-member “safety review team.” The team comprises veterinarians and stewards tasked to evaluate all horses participating in Santa Anita’s races. The review team has been conferred with the authority to exclude or scratch a horse from a race event, in case concerns arise over the animal’s conditions and fitness to participate.
Yet Horseracing Wrong said that they have their sight set on the abolition of the sport, and not only in the races being held by the Santa Anita Park. Animal activist April Montgomery said they intend to end horse racing, starting with California. The plan is to bring the issue to the ballot box, which suggests convincing Californians to give their votes to public officials and lawmakers who will legislate laws that will abolish horse racing sport.
It Might Take Long for the Advocacy to Gain Traction
Many opine that the abolition of horse racing in California or throughout the country has far reaching effects, which will make it difficult for the movement to garner support and gain traction. Shutting down the industry will leave many race track workers without jobs, while state governments will have to deal with diminished sources of tax revenues. More so now that state governments are reeling from the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The publisher of the article BloodHorse – From Print to Digital Masterpiece – Past The Wire, which also sponsored this guest post, had recently reported that Santa Anita Park has already been cleared by the LA Dept. of Public Health, as testing of workers and jockeys have yielded negative results.
Since May 15, horse racing events have already resumed after the LA County Dept. of Public Health shut race tracks down last March 27, 2020. However, the resumed race events took place without spectators. That alone already reduced the pool of prizes at stake, which also meant the government will get to collect reduced taxes.