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Derby races are not elegant, stop the abuse

By Kayla Lupedee

Through all the exciting cheers, glamorous attire in the audience, and the frenzied adrenaline as fans watch their bets unfold in front of them, it’s common for the negatives of horse racing to be overlooked. 

Horse racing is a sport that has become more popular over time, in which horses and their riders compete against others in a competition of speed. Onlookers typically place substantial bets on the outcome of the races in hopes of winning money based on their performances. 

Derby races have set a reputation as something that embodies elegance and wealth. Women in the audience style themselves in lavish designer dresses and elaborate hats, while men dress in their best expensive suits. These races attract an affluent audience, typically encouraging gambles and an array of exhilaration for television.  

Amongst all the glory that the public eye sees, what really goes on behind the scenes of these horse races? When looking more into this diversion, there seems to be some controversies that unfold about how the horses are being treated when the cameras are not around.    

With desires to win the race, jockeys have only selfish thoughts: make their horse the best out of the others. According to the organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA), investigations show use of drugs to enhance horses’ performances in races. Painkillers, muscle relaxants, diuretics, and hormones, among many others, are forcibly injected into horses to speed up their metabolism, silence their pains, and overall just make them faster.  

Drug use as stimulants to heighten abilities is one of the several ways horses are being mistreated in the horse racing industry. These devious tricks are valuable to the jockeys and the industry as a whole in order to continue their profits from the horses’ performances, which is selfish and mercenary.  

It is hardly a secret that these animals are drugged to mask their pain and enhance their performances. Making regulations on the use of drugs, like performing drug tests for races, could spiral a wave of consequences for those that are caught, which would encourage an end to the drug abuse issue. But, of course, that is not what they want. 

Horse racing is showcased as a sport, but rather it is a corrupt industry aimed at fueling money-hungry investors. 

Going hand-in-hand with drug manipulation, horses are pushed past their limits in exhausting training sessions. It is not only immoral, but also just plain out torturous, to force any living being to excessively train to the point of extreme physical strain and fatigue.   

These animals are put through intense workout sessions where they are expected to endure the agony of these treatments, meanwhile the trainers and jockeys do all that they can to mask their horses pain from the public.  

It is widely accepted that the theme park, SeaWorld, participates in animal abuse through their performances and the way the marine animals are treated behind the scenes. So, why is nobody addressing the issue of something so similar? 

 Many may not link together the fact that these horses did not choose to be part of a racing life. Just as many orcas at SeaWorld are bred specifically for performances, horses are bred and trained to be racing horses. 

This really narrows things into a whole new perspective. If horses had the ability to speak, I could guarantee they would rather be free in a field than unreasonably pushed and pushed to perform at the sake of greedy participants’ desires. 

Also, as horses age, their skills decrease, singling them out as useless to the industry. They’re packed away like sardines in a truck and shipped off to wherever is needed to get rid of them—or rather slaughter them—since they won’t be bringing in any money.  

The slaughtering is not only when they get old, but also when the poor horses are suffering an injury that may be too complex to temporarily heal with their magic drugs. 

 There really is no word to better describe the mistreatment of these animals other than simply: sad. It is sad that they are forced to train until their muscles are strained and their lungs are gasping for air. It is sad that they are withheld food and water to make their body weight lighter to improve their speed. It is sad that their pains are concealed from the public, so there is no cry out for help. 

 It is sad that so many people involved in this industry are aware of these horrid circumstances, yet do not take action to improve the lives of these helpless horses. 

Kayla Lupedee can be reached at Kayla.lupedee@spartans.ut.edu

 

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