A horse race is an event in which horses are ridden by jockeys and competing against each other over a set distance. The winner is determined by a jockey who successfully crosses the finish line first.
Many people criticize horse racing, saying that it is inhumane and has become corrupted due to doping and overbreeding. Others say that the sport is a noble tradition and that it represents the pinnacle of achievement for the competitors.
Horse races have been held for over 3,000 years. The sport is one of the most popular in the world and attracts millions of spectators every year. In recent times, horse racing has evolved with the introduction of technology and improved safety measures for both horses and jockeys. These new technologies include thermal imaging cameras, MRI scanners, and 3D printing that can produce casts and splints for injured horses.
Although random drug testing is now in place, the use of illegal drugs in the sport is still commonplace. Trainers often push horses beyond their physical limits and rely on cocktails of legal and illegal drugs to mask injuries and enhance performance. As a result, many horses will bleed from their lungs, a condition known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. This condition is a major cause of death in the sport.
The 2008 deaths of Eight Belles and Medina Spirit sparked a call for reform in the sport. But despite the outrage, the problems with horse racing remain unchanged. Horses are still routinely injured and killed during the exorbitant stress of competition.
Unlike other animals, horses do not understand self-preservation. They are driven to perform under the constant threat of a whip. The stress of competing causes them to break down physically and emotionally, and if they are injured they cannot stop until their bodies are completely broken down. Injured horses that are not euthanized or bailed out are sent to slaughterhouses in Canada, Mexico and Japan where they are turned into glue and dog food.
Some racehorses, such as Goldencents and Seabiscuit, were able to recover and enjoy their retirements after retiring from racing. But the vast majority of retirees suffer a miserable fate, often ending up in slaughterhouses or on the streets.
The sport can start by addressing its lack of an adequately funded industry-sponsored wraparound aftercare solution for horses leaving the track. This solution must be designed with the best interests of the horses in mind. Otherwise, the horse racing industry will continue to see horses die to entertain a small group of fans who don’t seem to care about the welfare of their beloved horses. Ultimately, horse racing will only survive if the good people in this sport wake up to what is happening and are willing to change it.