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FairWeather
Aug. 24, 2009, 12:47 PM
CANTER (and I bet most rehoming groups) have been getting inundated with horse donation inquiries recently--more so than usual. Most of these horses are severely injured, or useful for pasture ornaments only. I know that my group (CANTER Mid Atlantic) has stopped taking horses from racetracks other than Delaware Park completely due to a lack of funding and I would imagine many are in the same boat, and even from Delaware we can take only two injured horses at any given time due to finances, manpower and room.

The question is, what do we do with these broken horses?? There are NO homes for them it seems. We have sound horses we cannot giveaway because they aren't 16.2, male, and showing at 3'. Very, very frustrating, but also a really big problem.

I've thought long about the issue as there are many facets. Euthanasia is expensive--really, really expensive by the time you factor in renderer pickup.
It's almost like Trainers/owners seem to believe that horses are all "fixable" if they just get to the right home--or they don't want to deal with the finality of putting one down. I've rarely heard of horses being euth'd at the track except in emergencies--is it done for non-emergencies?

We've had horses donated to us that were said to be "sound" or "fine with some layoff", but x-rays reveal what appears to be a pipe bomb having gone off in the joints. This just makes us feel like dumping grounds for owner/trainer problems, and it doesn't seem fair. So we've now got the responsibility to make the decision, and to hold the end of the lead rope and watch them hit the ground dead, and pay for the heartache in mental trauma AND cash!

Do any tracks offer low-cost euthanasia programs?

So, what say you? What do we do with these animals?

Obviously this doesn't apply across the board. I know some AMAZING trainers, some AMAZING owners who always--no matter the cost--do right by their animals. Lots don't. Worse yet, lots thing that just getting them out of sight absolves them of responsibility.

Very very frustrating.

Sing Mia Song
Aug. 24, 2009, 01:34 PM
Personally, I would rather euthanize a young horse with a chronic or career-ending injury than risk him falling into neglectful hands.

I've long wished that the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association would institute a low-cost equine euthanasia clinic. Euthanasia and disposal of horses is expensive, but there can be lower-cost solutions (composting for disposal, for instance). As a vet tech, I'd happily volunteer for such an event, but the organizational aspects are pretty overwhelming. For instance, by having it in a central location, you are depending on people to be able to get their horses to the site. There's also traffic issues, with numerous trailers coming in, and you would have to either compost on-site or have heavy equipment ready to remove bodies.

Linny
Aug. 24, 2009, 01:52 PM
I do think that some trainers see "re-homing" agencies as dumping grounds to help them avaoid paying to put a horse down. I know that most places like CANTER etc are torn because placing unsound/pasture sound horses is very hard, but euth'ing is very expensive.
I often get emails asking for help for some poor animal that requires surgery to make a horse pasture sound and I would honestly rather donate to the horse's euthanasia. I know it sounds harsh but I'd rather see "rescues" focus on horses that can be rehomed an but to use. it's one thing if my own horse need surgery to make him pasture sound and I want to pay it, it's another to beg for help to save a rescue for a life on the dole as a pasture puff.
I agree with the OP that if tracks offered low cost euth/removal for badly crippled horses, the rescues/rehomers would get some relief and be able to put their limited resources into horses that have a future as a working animal.

tbracer65
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:39 PM
Most tracks I know of have the policy that if the horse was injured during a race & did NOT leave the grounds -- then they will put it down for free within a day or two after the race & remove it. BUT -- if the horse is injured during a race & needs to be put down a week or month later OR if the horse left to a farm (or different location) right after the race the track charges approx. $300 to put it down.

This is the main reason why you would see most trainers before sending to auction as they get the $300 instead of having to pay $300 as I'd say more than half the trainers at a low-end track are broke & would rather have the horse out of site & not think about what's going to happen (kill) than PAY the money & watch the horse put to sleep. Sad but true.

I agree tracks should put in some kind of policy to help with euth. It makes no sense to what that $300 goes to as most dump sites don't even charge $50 for removal. I guess gas & labor....

Renderers are EXPENSIVE for pick-up. Most tracks I know of take them to the local county dump that is considerably cheaper. I know some places (renderers) won't take horses that have been on the track because of the drugs used....

Also wanted to add:... a few years ago a good friend of mine had a horse that injured his knee pretty bad in a race. Vanned home dead lame. They took the horse immediately as an emergency call to a vet clinic an hour away. X-rays, etc.... vet said no hope so they decided to put it down. Clinic was outrageous in price to put the horse down & their bill was already so high trying to save him that they loaded him back up & back to the track they went. Track ended up charging them almost the same price as the clinic as the horse "left the grounds" even though all this took place within 24 hours. Luckily they didn't send the horse to auction & did pay to put him down (removal was the expensive part). But this example just shows how tracks are about euth.

FairWeather
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:58 PM
Pick up fee from Valley (renderers) is 250$ for each animal, regardless of how close you are to the plant.
Add that to the farm call and fee for euth, and we're topping 600$ (typically we've had the vet out to do x-rays etc).

CANTER Mid Atlantic used to take "broken" horses as often as we could, and most of them would come back with some (ok, a LOT) of time, but with donations obliterated by the economy we can no longer do that.

I turned 5 away yesterday. Just to take them and put them down so they wouldn't risk going to the sales would cost us 2K.

We haven't even discussed my therapy bills!!

NMK
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:19 PM
I believe there are two solutions. One would be to provide racehorse re-homing agencies with enough $$ to be fully operational, which includes euthanization when necessary. The second solution is to provide a surrender barn on every backstretch where horses can be evaluated, euthanized, or adopted out by accredited re-homing programs. Make it easy for trainers/owners to do the right thing by making it affordable. In many cases, it would have to be a free service in order to compete.

The biggest stumbling block to either of these solutions is who is reponsible for funding them. And there we get into a whole "nuther" can or worms. There are too many fractured groups within racing to ever get a consensus on this topic, and the funding of it.

I have yet to find anybody that disagrees with the solutions. I have yet to find anybody with an answer about funding them appropriately. I'm with Fairweather on this one, anyone have ideas?

Nancy

Barnfairy
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:28 PM
Euthanasia is the norm in Puerto Rico (http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080516/NEWS11/80516002/-1/rss01), even for those race horses whose only injury is a chronic case of the slows, because there is absolutely no question that there are not enough resources to provide healthy retirements for them all.

The debate is not so much whether euthanasia is the right thing to do for a horse so badly used up in a time when suitable homes are simply not available -- the debate is who is going to pay for it.

While the track itself is the obvious venue for no- to low-cost euthanasia, I don't believe the tracks alone should bear the brunt of the cost. In an ideal world there would be a fund in place for this, as well as for bona fide TB retirement, established through apportioning part of owner's license fees, JC foal registration fees, and so on.

As with just about everything TB retirement related, ongoing efforts to expand awareness are key. At current in our very non-ideal world, we will have to rely on funding coming in bits and chunks through donations from a variety of sources.

DMK
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:33 PM
I often get emails asking for help for some poor animal that requires surgery to make a horse pasture sound and I would honestly rather donate to the horse's euthanasia.

i agree. if you spend all that time and money on a horse that has no second career unless you have endless resources to monitor or care for him for the rest of his life, he's still "at risk". Meanwhile, how many other good horses fall into the at risk bucket along with him?

Linny, i think there's a bit of using it as a dumping grounds along with being able to shield the owner from the cold hard truth ("he went to a new home!" instead of "he's broke and he needs the pink juice") because i bet they do worry that the cold hard truth could be a bit off-putting when it comes to inspiring clueless low level owner into claiming another low level claimer to repkace former low level claimer. or at least i know that was the motivation for a lot of trainers back in the dark ages when i was still working w/racehorses. i'm betting things haven't changed that much.

Laurierace
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:46 PM
the trick is to make contributing mandatory so it everyone giving a little instead of most giving nothing. The only agency I can think of with a broad enough scope to enforce a small per start fee is the trpb.

snobetty
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:02 PM
How does Puerto Rico afford to euthanize them? Seems to me if they can find a way in PR....? Of course, it's on a much smaller scale there so perhaps that's why it's do-able.

FairWeather
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:04 PM
Agreed on all fronts--
That would unfairly weight the low-end tracks with the financial burden of euthanizing horses, while many of those horses had wear-and-tear at other tracks.
Thats why per-start fees would help even things out.

We recently took in a horse that we were told had a minor fracture, and would be fine with stall rest. He was bad off and we xrayed. The xrays were atrocious at best and we made the decision to put the horse down as we feel it a bit irresponsible to dump donated money into a horse who is in pain, most likely will never recover, and will not ever be placeable--again, we cannot give away sound horses with limited use right now (limited to doing novice, or the hunters, or dressage, not limited like "ride 1x a month only!). We paid to put the horse down after he was with us a week. Total cost to us? 1000$.

The trainer got to say "I found him a great home" and not deal with the reality that he was responsible for this animal's well-being to the end.

For putting him down, one of my volunteers was harassed badly recently, calling our vet a "moron" and saying the horse was "fine".
Umno it wasn't, but can I have some of that dreamland candy you're eating?

FairWeather
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:05 PM
In Puerto Rico they are shot, I'm not sure what they do with the bodies.

When that article came out there was a lot of outrage. Not from me, I thought to myself, "well, a shame they don't get a second chance, but at least they aren't suffering".



The debate is not so much whether euthanasia is the right thing to do for a horse so badly used up in a time when suitable homes are simply not available -- the debate is who is going to pay for it.

I'll disagree with this--when a well known rescue euthanized two horses last year because they were unplaceable, there was some major outcry. I don't advertise that we are euthanizing horses because the backlash is swift and fierce at times.

What about the horses who are injured but fixable? A man called me who had a horse who had bowed on top of an old bow. I told him the chances of finding a place for him to go were slim right now, and that we couldn't take him. He was at least willing to put the horse down if he couldn't find a home. Don't know what happened to that one. :(

Brandy76
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:17 PM
Great topic. Didn't some horse rescue just hold a low cost euth clinic somewhere in CA?

Although as one poster said, getting horses there, etc., could be a problem.

I wish I had an answer, and I think about this A LOT. I have a 10 year old that I got off Penn in Spet 07, and a horse I am fostering for Rerun in my barn right now. When the foster gets adopted, I'll foster another - but it's a drop in the ocean.

And, I completely agree with everyone's posts!!

I love the idea of a barn or maybe a designated row of stalls for horses on the edge.
So, what if we formed a group, really casual, start with us on this post, to just brainstorm about this? COTHERS are brilliant, we maybe can come up with viable options? I am in SE PA, if we ever want to meet live, I'm in!

What if the tracks, the JC, NTRA, Breed, owners, vets all agreed to put in a portion for the euthanasia?

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:20 PM
While I agree that euthanasia is a more desirable fate than other options, having a standard publicised euthanasia program would be a PR nightmare for racing. Can you imagine how certain groups would take that and present it to Joe Public? "... as soon as they are done with them, they kill them!!". Greyhound racing took a hammering on that one for years, still does.

As to a per start fee, how much would it have to be? A $10 fee would amount to about $4.25m annually. That might seem like a lot, but is that enough to fund a nationwide program at tracks across the country? I guess you could work backwards, decide on a figure and divide it by 425,000, to get an idea with the per start cost would be.
Using a percentage of prizemoney, there was $667m odd in purses offered in 2007. 1% of all purses would amount to $6.7m.
A fee tacked on to foal registration, with 33k odd foals, would have to be at least $30 to just crack the million mark.

tbracer65
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:29 PM
Can't the Jockey Club start up a program & add on so much money to every foal that's going to be registered. Just increase the registration fee.... It would take a few years to get everything in order, but would eventually work out. To even the money up (covering all foals registered up till this date)they could take donations into a euthanasia fund now. Also -- it would be mandatory that the trainers NOT get reimbursed, but that the track pay for the euthanasia TO the vet & that the track get paid from the Jockey Club. Therefore tattoo could be checked by the vet. That would prevent all scam artists from getting money to put a horse down & then not doing it. Something along those lines....just thinking....

FairWeather
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:36 PM
Drvm--Agreed, not a lot of money, PR nightmare.

As it stands though, I'm kind of tired of protecting the image of racing. The reality is that these horses ARE being killed, the racing industry just gets to point to the slaughter-plant as the problem, instead of where the problem originates.

Thats like blaming the gun for someones bullet wound.

Now, where is it originating?? Thats another can of worms, isn't it? Well, I have yet to see a horse end up at the slaughter plant, or at the other end of a giant dose of Vitamin Pink that wasn't ever bred in the first place.

If people want to keep this "game" going, they need some answers, and they need them now. Slaughter isn't the answer, but killing them humanely? That might could be the answer. Disgusting, gruesome, wasteful, heartless--yes, all of it. But if you want to play in this game, if you want to breed an animal, buy and animal, claim an animal, run an animal, make money on an animal, make demands of an animal,...Well, you should be willing to (at the VERY LEAST) humanely kill that animal if you can't find it a perfect home and you can't care for it for life.

My jaded, worn-out, just had to put down ANOTHER ravaged 3 year-old-with baby teeth opinion.

magnolia73
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:03 PM
Not to be a devils advocate- but are rescues and CANTER enabling them to be irresponsible by accepting very broken down horses? Allowing them to not create a solution that isn't stomach churning? Not only are you covering the expense, you are covering the moral burden. I think you should begin requiring a $600 donation for the broken ones- yup, we'll pick him, that will be $600. Perhaps you'd get some for whom the aversion to euthanasia is a moral issue. Of course, you don't deserve that burden. But at least you are covered on your costs. Because you spending limited donations given with the intent on them being used to improve a horses life... to put them down immediately... is in a way, wrong (though you have done the right thing by the horse). It puts your group in a bad position, PR wise.

I'm sorry, it is a horribly sad circumstance you deal with. You seem held hostage almost- take my horse or he is slaughtered. I'd be tempted to throw the industry under the bus, if not for the good ones who work with you to rehome ones with a chance.

Sadly, perhaps all you can do is only take adoptable horses and let them deal with the expense and heartache of the most broken. Remove your safety net and force action somehow, such as the funding etc. Say look- we don't have the money to help. We can only help with a constant stream of funding.

BaroquePony
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:07 PM
Excellent post FairWeather.

omare
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:11 PM
I think some vets could do to be educated also--as many younger vets it seems do not want to put a "heathy" horse down unless you can convince them the horse is in severe chronic pain (not just unsound pasture ornaments). But who wants to have to argue with a vet or be required to let the vet "evaluate" whether a horse should be put down (i.e., pass judgement on your already painful decision).

I know they have a right to practice medicine that way, but I thought having to put animials down was a very real and unpleasant part of being a vet.

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:31 PM
Don't laugh at me, I know this will sound laughable. Why can't racing charge some money upfront (as in, when a yearling is sold at those crazy expensive sales, for example) that is banked toward a humane euthanasia / retirement fund? Why can't a fraction of entry fees, registration fees, whatever, be skimmed off UP FRONT instead of leaving all the well-meaning folks scraping pennies out of their sofas to care for animals who have made thousands of dollars for their owners, who in so many cases, are nowhere to be found when hard decisions and expensive care is needed?

I hate that it's the responsible, careful, concerned folks who end up cleaning up after the lazy greedy users. In this as in so much else in life.

Brandy76
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:33 PM
Don't laugh at me, I know this will sound laughable. Why can't racing charge some money upfront (as in, when a yearling is sold at those crazy expensive sales, for example) that is banked toward a humane euthanasia / retirement fund? Why can't a fraction of entry fees, registration fees, whatever, be skimmed off UP FRONT instead of leaving all the well-meaning folks scraping pennies out of their sofas to care for animals who have made thousands of dollars for their owners, who in so many cases, are nowhere to be found when hard decisions and expensive care is needed?

I hate that it's the responsible, careful, concerned folks who end up cleaning up after the lazy greedy users. In this as in so much else in life.

Great idea!

NMK
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:34 PM
A real question...are there any owners on this board that are willing to take a horse back that they bred? Have you done so? I would like to hear your story. I know we sent one back to the late John Hettinger. It was on her papers and no questions were asked.

DickHertz
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:35 PM
I've had discussions about skimming money with some HBPA members at a couple different tracks and they don't want dollars taken from purses or have a per start fee charged. The blame the track or think they should pay it in addtion to the purse...that is the problem.

NMK
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:42 PM
It is not mandatory but if you want to "give" to Blue Horse Charities at the Fasig Tipton sales, the money is given to rescues that adopt out horses. It ends up being about $150 a horse, depending on the year.

TampaBayEquine
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:43 PM
But who wants to have to argue with a vet or be required to let the vet "evaluate" whether a horse should be put down (i.e., pass judgement on your already painful decision).

It is unlikely to be the vet's fault that the horse is in a dire situation to begin with. OF COURSE a vet should evaluate whether or not euthansia should be an option, that is also - as you say in your post- a very real part of the job... There is no obligation to perform convenience euthansia.

However, I agree sometimes euthanasia is "kindest" decision when you only have ugly options to choose from. - see FairWeathers excellent posts above.

The same thing happens at small animal shelters. People get tired of their pets, lose thier jobs, whatever, surrender an animal to a shelter and the shelter staff is left with the burden of having to choose who lives/may be adoptable and who gets euthanized for cage space.

It is a very old, and very sorry story.

katyb
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:47 PM
We have a just started a euthanasia assistance program with our local rescue (horsehaven.net), based loosely upon the California one. We're hoping it will help some. We've also started a feed assistance program for people with a limited number of horses experiencing a temporary hardship.

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:50 PM
DH -- Of course no one 'wants' the $$ skimmed, but what if it was rolled into whatever registration was charged for a horse from the Jockey Club, when they are named as babies?

Everyone is ready to spend $$ when they think they might have the next Seabiscuit. That's when to charge $$ that goes to a retirement / humane euthanasia fund. And if that money was paid for EVERY registered TB, there wouldn't be any incentive to discreetly truck 'em off to New Holland, because there would be SOMETHING waiting for them that didn't depend on the conscientiousness of the last person to own the horse. Seems to me the problem is that there's money thrown around on the front end of a horse's life, when they are all potential and everyone has dollar signs in their eyes, but by the time they are running claimers at Finger Lakes, it's all "We have to pay the rent, we can't keep 'em if they can't earn their keep, etc., etc." The trick has to be to grab some of that front end greedy optimistic $$ and bank it for the horses, away from their various (good and bad) owners.

Barnfairy
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:52 PM
I do not consider the situation in Puerto Rico an ideal model, lest anyone infer otherwise, however the overwhelming lack of adequate resources is the heart of the issue here...whether we are talking euthanasia or rehab & rehoming.

You're right, FairWeather, the "oh noooooes, he's still pretty to look at" don't help make the issue which is already involved, complicated, and downright ugly any easier. Anyone who wants to use that Seabiscuit quote to side against euthanasia for a significantly unsound animal had better have an equine lawn ornament adorning their farm -- or at least be paying for one to reside on someone else's.

Deferring to the bleeding hearts does nothing to change the reality. Even "no kill" animal shelters will euthanize animals with debilitating conditions. A euthanasia policy may not appease the rainbow & butterfly people, but, when the case warrants, it is a viable alternative lightyears ahead of the PR nightmare which is a truck ride to Canada or Mexico.

The awareness campaign includes educating people to the reality of things. Some horses can not be rehomed. Having a euthanasia policy does not mean we do not still attempt to recruit foster homes and rehome the ones we can. Using those limited funds wisely ultimately helps more horses.

The immediate issue is funding. Who is responsible for providing for a horse's retirement? Most will agree it is, at least in large part, the owner's responsibility. Well clearly not enough owners are taking the cost of a horse's retirement into serious consideration upon purchase, or else we wouldn't be in this position. That's a problem of perception as much as it is finances. Would per start fees be enough to change the outlook that a losing racehorse is disposable, someone else's problem to pay for?

Do the owners of stallions that are siring some 50, 100, 200 foals year after year share no responsibility in the unwanted horse problem? Perhaps a portion of stud fees of $10,000 or above should in part fund TB retirement efforts.

Recently we've seen the racing industry in some areas make changes out of concern for the equine athletes' welfare: banning anabolic steroids, regulating the length of toe grabs. What if accreditation by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance involved regulation against repeatedly tapping a horse's joints with corticosteroids? And what if this accreditation was not just some warm & fuzzy PR attempt in the wake of Eight Belles, but rather, something actually required before a track could operate each season? 'Not likely to happen, given that ultimately racing is governed state by state, but if it did maybe more horses would have a better chance at retiring sound.

No easy answers here. If I could wave my silly barnfairy wand and fix it, I would.

shawneeAcres
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:54 PM
Not the answer you want to hear, but the logical solution is HUMANE slaughter. Humanley done this is a solution to the problem. I have personally watched a video of horses being humanely slaughtered with a bolt gun to the head and these hroses never even knew what happened and were TOTALLY calm thru the entire procedure, acutally better than euthanasia which often caused horse sto struggle etc. If humane transport could be provided and slaughter being done under these circumstances in the manner I viewed, I have no problem with it. But of course, since we outlawed slaughter in the US we have no jurisdiction over the slaughter houses over the border.

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:58 PM
If anyone could show me anyplace on the planet where slaughter is currently administered in a consistently humane way, and where violations of humane regs were punished with something just short of castration with a rusty knife, I would be interested in considering that solution, ShawneeAcres. Otherwise, no thanks. I think the problem of poor enforcement and not being able to persuade any jurisdictions that they have a reason to actually spend time and money caring about enforcing those kind of laws is pretty intractable. THAT is why I oppose slaughter.

It's not that it's not possible to slaughter humanely. It's that no place does it that way reliably. A solution where no one stands to make any $$ seems to have better prospects for fewer abuses.

TampaBayEquine
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:00 PM
Not the answer you want to hear, but the logical solution is HUMANE slaughter. Humanley done this is a solution to the problem. I have personally watched a video of horses being humanely slaughtered with a bolt gun to the head and these hroses never even knew what happened and were TOTALLY calm thru the entire procedure, acutally better than euthanasia which often caused horse sto struggle etc. If humane transport could be provided and slaughter being done under these circumstances in the manner I viewed, I have no problem with it. But of course, since we outlawed slaughter in the US we have no jurisdiction over the slaughter houses over the border.

Have you ever actually been inside a slaughter house ? Let me tell you first hand, it is not a nice place, and as a whole the animals are not calm.

Pronzini
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:01 PM
You guys act as though the industry has done nothing. But I know that Carma fees have been taken out of my account this year.

http://www.carma4horses.org/

I have no idea what the money goes for (which frankly bothers me a bit) but everytime I run a horse in California, they get a piece of it.

paint hunter
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:02 PM
Slightly OT but did anyone see the article this morning in the New York Times sports section on wastage in the TB racing industry. It focused on one horse who had gone up and done in class before ending up at a very marginal track. He was rescued and sent to Old Friends.

Brandy76
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:06 PM
If anyone could show me anyplace on the planet where slaughter is currently administered in a consistently humane way, and where violations of humane regs were punished with something just short of castration with a rusty knife, I would be interested in considering that solution, ShawneeAcres. Otherwise, no thanks. I think the problem of poor enforcement and not being able to persuade any jurisdictions that they have a reason to actually spend time and money caring about enforcing those kind of laws is pretty intractable. THAT is why I oppose slaughter.

It's not that it's not possible to slaughter humanely. It's that no place does it that way reliably. A solution where no one stands to make any $$ seems to have better prospects for fewer abuses.

Absolutely right on.

I was talking to some one the other day about involving the sport horse industry more - incentives for ottbs, I know there is a smattering now, but it would help with those that are able.

Unfortunately, the "animal shelter" model may be the best option in the near term - meaning that euthanizing the badly injured, pasture puff types (with discretion of course), then tier it out from there. It makes me ill, but not even remotely from what Fairweather must feel.

Many years ago, in S FL, some trainers that I knew had there "rejects" euthanized, but that was a n individual thing. And some actually called Lion Country Safari - gruesome, yes, but the horses obviously didn't know. I mean were not alive when they arrived.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:07 PM
As it stands though, I'm kind of tired of protecting the image of racing. The reality is that these horses ARE being killed, the racing industry just gets to point to the slaughter-plant as the problem, instead of where the problem originates.

A bit rambling here so forgive me ...

While there is a hand in glove relationship between the breeding industry and the racing industry they are distinct. So racing fans to some degree seemingly are "blamed" for the over supply by breeders and/or a lack of competitive product that comes to the track and flops and suddenly its racings' mess. Horse racing takes the black eye, etc.

Look at other professional sport businesses - the NFL fans and owners aren't bashed when a walk-on rookie player comes on the field and is injured in the first season and won't be able to play in the sport again. The NFL is not expected to find that player a new career.

Humans and horses are not the same of course. No horse asked to become a racing prospect but to some degree the sport inherently is such that thousands of prospects come to the track and most ultimately aren't going to cut it. Isn't it the breeder - not racing - which bears some most of the culpability for having bred the horse?

I'm not pointing my finger at the Jockey Club which is just a registry. Rather the original breeders who (if the horse was a success) may have enjoyed for years checks for being part of the one of the many state funds. e.g. New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund

Example of the continued benefits of the above fund - if the horse is successful (http://www.racingandsports.com.au/breeding/rsNewsArt.asp?NID=156586&id=FP)


The programme offers more than 1,000 races restricted to New York-breds as well as awards paid to breeders, stallion owners and racehorse owners.

Breeders can receive up to an additional 20 per cent of prize-money for first place and an additional ten per cent for second or third, while stallion owners can earn up to seven per cent of prize-money for first through third place. Both breeders' and stallion owners' awards are capped at $10,000.

New York-breds who finish first through third in open company also earn additional prize-money for their owners, capped at $20,000 per race.

In 2008, the New York fund paid out $6.8 million in awards to breeders, $2.1m in awards to stallion owners and $1.4m to owners of New York-breds, as well as staging 45 black-type races worth more than $4m.

Isn't it a bit odd that if (and again just using this as an example) a NY state bred horse is a flop at the track the breeder says "not my problem, I sold him" but if the horse is a winner - and yet was sold off - the checks still flow in?

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:08 PM
Pronzini -- that's good to know. I don't at all think that nothing is being done, but it's obvious not being done on an industry wide basis, but rather one small charitable-type organization at a time.

Transparency and accountability is critical to the implementation of something like what I suggest. One crooked operator, one instance of someone found to be stealing the horse's retirement funds and running off to the Turks & Caicos, and it would all be ruined.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:12 PM
DH -- Of course no one 'wants' the $$ skimmed, but what if it was rolled into whatever registration was charged for a horse from the Jockey Club, when they are named as babies?


33,000 foals a year.
How much do you want to raise? $1m a year? That's $30 per foal. $10m a year? That's $300 per foal.
There are two questions, what's a realistic amount that needs to be raised and what's a realistic fee that people will pay, and then decide if the intersection of those two feasible.

Pronzini
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:14 PM
Transparency and accountability is critical to the implementation of something like what I suggest. One crooked operator, one instance of someone found to be stealing the horse's retirement funds and running off to the Turks & Caicos, and it would all be ruined.

Which is exactly why I wish Carma would be more explicit about what it's doing with the money. If I added up my donations this year, it would probably be less than $100 and for that reason I don't opt out but I'm sure over the course of the year with everyone, it's millions.

Who's getting that money and why isn't it spelled out on the link? At least mollify us with a success story.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:19 PM
Which is exactly why I wish Carma would be more explicit about what it's doing with the money. If I added up my donations this year, it would probably be less than $100 and for that reason I don't opt out but I'm sure over the course of the year with everyone, it's millions.



I doubt it's millions.
Carma takes .3% of purses in Cali, that's presuming no one opts out. Total purses nationwide for 2007 were $667m, so .3% of that is $2m. I could be wrong, but I doubt California amounts for over 50% of nationwide purses.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:22 PM
33,000 foals a year.

How much do you want to raise? $1m a year? That's $30 per foal. $10m a year? That's $300 per foal. There are two questions, what's a realistic amount that needs to be raised and what's a realistic fee that people will pay, and then decide if the intersection of those two feasible.

The upside I see to this bad economy is this great news: 2010 projections: Jockey Club projects smallest foal crop since 1977 (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2009/August/14/Jockey-Club-projects-foal-crop-to-be-smallest-in-32-years.aspx)


The Jockey Club projected a 2010 registered foal crop of 30,000, which would be the smallest since 30,036 were registered in 1977. The Jockey Club also revised its original estimate of registered foals for 2009 from 35,400 to 34,000.

It should be another 25% lower in my view.

Maybe if a fatter live foal registry fee - like $300 which would go towards the horse's "social secuirty" - was mandated then it would stop some of the mass production.

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:24 PM
Very good point, Pronzini. When you can't tell what good your money is doing (or not) it's hard to have faith in that kind of mechanism.

Barnfairy
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:27 PM
Maybe if a fatter live foal registry fee - like $300 which would go towards the horse's "social secuirty" - was mandated then it would stop some of the mass production.While on the one hand a higher registration fee might make some stop and think before going through with the breeding to begin, I think there needs to be some sort of sliding scale. I don't think it's fair to hold the small time breeder who breeds a beloved mare or two to the same standard as Ernie Paragallo and his Unbridled's Song. Folks like him need to be forced to care from right out of his bank account.

A percentage of a stud fees would ultimately make more money than a reasonable fee on top of foal registration, would it not?

Glimmerglass
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:33 PM
I think there needs to be some sort of sliding scale. I don't think it's fair to hold the small time breeder who breeds a beloved mare or two to the same standard as Ernie Paragallo and his Unbridled Song. Folks like him need to be forced to care from right out of his bank account.

Agreed that no answer is cut and dried with every breeder being able to fit in the same box. So sure there would have to be some additional criteria.

At the end of the day the money to support those horses who flop has to come from someone. People seem to think that the tracks are somehow awash in money - people see the glitz of the Breeders' Cup and think what they want - but we know the truth. They're struggling. Bettors are already angry with the take outs being burdened by the track, wagering outfits, the state and its share of taxes. And so forth with people all playing a role in what makes up the system

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:35 PM
While on the one hand a higher registration fee might make some stop and think before going through with the breeding to begin, I think there needs to be some sort of sliding scale. I don't think it's fair to hold the small time breeder who breeds a beloved mare or two to the same standard as Ernie Paragallo and his Unbridled Song. Folks like him need to be forced to care from right out of his bank account.

A percentage of a stud fees would ultimately make more money than a reasonable fee on top of foal registration, would it not?

It would kind of depend on the percentage. Percentages can range from .00001% to 99.99999%. :)
Plus that is fraught with problems. Some fees (often the biggest) are listed as "Private treaty". Many people pay less than the advertised fee. Some people have shares and get an alloted amount of covers. etc etc

A straight fee per foal is the fairest way. don't see why there has to be a sliding scale. If the fee is $X, you breed one foal you pay $X, you bred 150 foals, you pay 150 x $X

Laurierace
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:37 PM
While on the one hand a higher registration fee might make some stop and think before going through with the breeding to begin, I think there needs to be some sort of sliding scale. I don't think it's fair to hold the small time breeder who breeds a beloved mare or two to the same standard as Ernie Paragallo and his Unbridled's Song. Folks like him need to be forced to care from right out of his bank account.

A percentage of a stud fees would ultimately make more money than a reasonable fee on top of foal registration, would it not?

That was an unfortunate example. They should charge that bastard a million to register each foal with the balance being given to the people in charge of cleaning up after him.

MIKES MCS
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:42 PM
When we abolished horse slaughter in this country we took away any chance to legislate HUMANE euthanasia , such as was described in an earlier post , with a gun to the head .. Now they end up on a truck to Mexico or Canada and we have NO control .. The bottom line is to control breeding in this country not just with race horses but with all horses.. But then people scream their rights are being trampled , I wonder how many people in this country would continue to breed horses if their was a mandatory breeding fee of $500.00 from racetracks to backyards and fines imposed for illegal breeding. Money to go to certified equine rescue / rehabilitation and euthanasia programs across the board.. Until we are truthful with ourselves nothing will change , The majority of breeders in my state are breeding nothing for nothing , we have no racing industry left to speak of and yet they continue to breed horses . Yes this is the only thing they know and it’s a hard reality but it is reality.. How many of you if truth be told know breeders who shouldn’t be breeding? CANTER wasn’t designed as a rescue , yet somehow it’s resources are eaten up with taking in CANTER owned horses now.. How many trainers on how many tracks would pay for the advertising services CANTER has afforded them over the last 10 years ? Even if it was $25.00 a posting it would still go a long way to helping support some of those horses being dumped on CANTERS doorstep . there is a lot of money in racing , we all know where it is .. It’s just not making it’s way down the line to those in need .. Should the rich be responsible for retiring or crippled race horse , YOU BETCHA it’s their game !

saratoga
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:43 PM
How can the owners claim to not have the money to pay for euthanization (or keeping them on pasture for that matter) when the money they pay to keep the horse in training each month is so high, not to mention that they keep buying and breeding more horses?

Las Olas
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:44 PM
A real question...are there any owners on this board that are willing to take a horse back that they bred? Have you done so? I would like to hear your story. I know we sent one back to the late John Hettinger. It was on her papers and no questions were asked.

I do, and I write my information on the papers. I have 4 here now. I place them if I can, but if they aren't suitable riding prospects, then they stay with me. I know Claiborne Farm, Stone Farm, Padua and Adena Springs will take them back and try to retrain/rehome. All four of those farms have a dedicated area for retraining. I'm sure there are others.

ETA - I also advocate an increase in registration fees. Add another $100 per horse and earmark it for retirement/rescue. I'm a small breeder and I wouldn't mind paying it.

Vitriolic
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:51 PM
Not to be a devils advocate- but are rescues and CANTER enabling them to be irresponsible by accepting very broken down horses? Allowing them to not create a solution that isn't stomach churning? Not only are you covering the expense, you are covering the moral burden. I think you should begin requiring a $600 donation for the broken ones- yup, we'll pick him, that will be $600. Perhaps you'd get some for whom the aversion to euthanasia is a moral issue.


I like this idea. If a person were unable to make the decision to euthanize a horse, and instead gave a no hoper to a retirement/rehoming organization like LongRun or Canter, if it cost them the amount to euthanize and dispose of it, perhaps they would do it anyway, but maybe they would save everyone the trouble of donating a crippled horse and deal with it themselves. Then those organizations could focus their resources on the ones who are easier to rehome.

Barnfairy
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:54 PM
...don't see why there has to be a sliding scale.Because I'm looking for a quick fix, trying to get into the pockets of those who freely spend oodles at the sales and then distribute the wealth amongst the $4000 claimers....shoot, does that make me a Marxist?


That was an unfortunate example.Unfortunate, perhaps, but quite intentional. He has no one but himself to blame for being scapegoated.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:56 PM
How can the owners claim to not have the money to pay for euthanization (or keeping them on pasture for that matter) when the money they pay to keep the horse in training each month is so high, not to mention that they keep buying and breeding more horses?

Not all owners are rich. For everyone paying Plecther and Baffert $150/day to train their $1m yearlings, there are guys living out of their pick-up trucks at BF Nowhere Downs with a string they own/train/groom/gallop.
There could possibly be less horses bred. But then again when you see races that don't fill and lots of tiny fields it's hard to believe there's too many horses.

saratoga
Aug. 24, 2009, 07:20 PM
Not all owners are rich. For everyone paying Plecther and Baffert $150/day to train their $1m yearlings, there are guys living out of their pick-up trucks at BF Nowhere Downs with a string they own/train/groom/gallop.
There could possibly be less horses bred. But then again when you see races that don't fill and lots of tiny fields it's hard to believe there's too many horses.

Oh, I know that not all owners are rich, I've worked at what is probably THE lowest track in the country- most of the horses are $1500 claimers. A number of the trainers there are broke, living in the tack rooms, as are of course some of the grooms and even the jockeys, but still *most* of the owners are not dirt poor- most have careers and businesses off of the track and some of them are doing racing for a hobby and while not Jess Jackson-rich, are quite well-off. And *someone* is paying to train the horses, medicate the horses, buy more horses, etc.. So no, I dont believe that most of them could not pay to have a horse put down.

Lori B
Aug. 24, 2009, 07:49 PM
If they can afford to run race horses, they can afford to pay (built into the initial cost of registration w/ the Jockey Club, or when they start racing, or somewhere early on before everyone is busy trying to cut their losses) what amounts to a deposit early in a horse's life against the necessity of euthanasia or retirement or even, in a wonderful world, the costs of retraining that now in many cases are borne by charitable organizations.

Laurierace
Aug. 24, 2009, 07:54 PM
My utopia would be a huge farm somewhere centrally located, maybe KY that had a guaranteed source of funding through a mandate of some sort. With tons of land and stalls the tough decisions wouldn't have to be made as often. They would have satellite farms for the various stages of life. One for stall rest, one for small paddock turnout, one for general R&R, one for re-training complete with volunteer trainers from the top of their chosen disciplines. Then one for seniors to live out their lives in a segregated herd.
With a guaranteed amount of money coming in there wouldn't be huge pressure to turn a horse over immediately to make room for another. People would see the wonderful things that were happening there and want to be a part of it. You would get sponors and volunteers from all walks of life and magic would happen.
I always say shoot for the moon, if you fall short you are still among the stars.

LAZ
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:00 PM
The upside I see to this bad economy is this great news: 2010 projections: Jockey Club projects smallest foal crop since 1977 (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2009/August/14/Jockey-Club-projects-foal-crop-to-be-smallest-in-32-years.aspx)



It should be another 25% lower in my view.

Maybe if a fatter live foal registry fee - like $300 which would go towards the horse's "social secuirty" - was mandated then it would stop some of the mass production.

I registered my TB colt though he will never see a racetrack and I would not go through the registry if the cost were $300.

I have also fostered Tb's for CANTER and Friends of Ferdinand, so I feel like I do my part, and donate to CANTER, and on occasion, to another rescue here in the state.

One of the reasons I'm not more involved with the in state (any breed) rescue is that I disagree with their policy of spending thousands of dollars on a horse that will never be useful. I believe there are lots of things that are worse than euthanasia, and when large sums of hard-to-come-by money are spent on horses that will never be sound it is a misuse of funds. I chose to spend (my very small amount) of money on some that could benefit by a bit of retraining to be resold/rehomed.

I'd say every equine sport, not just racing, could have a starters fee that would go into a fund for euthanizing and disposing of horses that have no chance for a useful, comfortable life. I believe we owe it to our animals to do right by them once we've owned them.

foundationmare
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:09 PM
Oh, jeepers, I didn't want to be, but I'm drawn in.

IMHO, this is all about indiscriminate breeding as well as quantity breeding. There are far too many fillies/mares who are rehomed to be broodmares because there is the perception that there is nothing else to do with them.

There must be mechanisms in place to enable ex-racers a reasonably appropriate life after racing. I realize that "reasonably appropriate" can have myriad interpretations. There are probably people who would criticize the care I deliver to my horses who are, in my opinion, given better than adequate care under stressed circumstances. OTOH, I know they have it better than many, many horses whose owners have fallen on hard times or are ignorant about what is even minimally okay.

We all know that the majority of the horses sold at the FT sales at Saratoga (for just one example) will probably either never make it to the races; be mediocre; may be flashing brightness for a while and then crash/get injured....

Some may make their way through the claiming ranks and end up at the low level tracks with owners trying to eke out another dollar from them. And this, COTHers, is where my beef comes in.

Preaching to the choir, I realize, has limited benefit. Yet this is a huge community of horse people and you have opinions to share!

At Finger Lakes, my stomping grounds, we (a general "we", trainers in general) take in horses that don't make it on the NYRA circuit. Some really unscrupulous trainers send horses here that are destined to break down and become someone else's mess, but I won't be listing names. I also realize that there are multiple reasons why a horse isn't competitive at NYRA and can be superstars here.

When they are done here, even if they are sound, there is the burden of finding the best possible post-racing home. Soooooo...we are effectively the dumping grounds for horses that have failed the fast test.

The Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program has an on-site barn with horses available for adoption. Additionally, there is an active Trainer's Listings site for horses on track or on adjacent farms who are available for sale (for little money).

I propose that several mechanisms are put in place to facilitate re-homing of these TBs.

1) Breeders will pay a surcharge for the post-racing care of their deliberately created equines, added on to their JC registration fee;

2) Owners and breeders will pay a per-start surcharge;

3) Owner/breeder will pay a percentage of purse money.

I recognize that campaigning a TB is expensive and not always lucrative. But breeders must be accountable for the flesh on the hoof they have deliberately created. If their horses don't perform on the track, well that sucks, but why in hell should they be out of the loop when it comes time for the horse to be placed somewhere off the track?

Additionally, let's be more discriminate when standing a stud (because he's got 'em) and taking in a mare because she can be bred (and possibly her bad conformation, bad temperament, lackluster breeding) and there's nothing else you can do with her?

There is a great deal of personal responsibility and accountability to be reckoned with before we can get serious about dealing with the glut of unwanted horses.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:32 PM
So some like the idea of a new registry fee - e.g. the $300 per horse with the JC (or whatever organization) - for a horse intended for the track. Le's further say if the breeder wants to opt out of racing Y horse then, maybe, no fee charged but Y horse can never race until that is paid. The intent would be then that the owners of X horse could draw against that fund when they leave the track.

Great... but lets face it we've seen so many pension funds run by slick folks, crooks, and blue-chip financial firms too who've squandered, mismanaged, looted via insane maintenance fees, et al that I'd be really doubtful it could be administered.

Just recall that the Jockeys' Guild lost much of their money from fraud within by people close to the jocks and entrusted with the money.

While it would be possible that the $300 per horse fee could be invested to modest annual returns and compounded over a multiple year career I'm quite certain the whole program would eventually have a scam or two by those crooks looking to draw out Y horse's eligible fund only to learn Y horse is later killed and the money pocketed.

Let's face it you create a cash-for-clunker program with retired horses from the track. Each horse would have a one-time cash payout and no guarantee that money paid to the new "owner" is going to put that money into the horse's well being.

As we all know "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" ....

Blinkers On
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:49 PM
Which is exactly why I wish Carma would be more explicit about what it's doing with the money. If I added up my donations this year, it would probably be less than $100 and for that reason I don't opt out but I'm sure over the course of the year with everyone, it's millions.

Who's getting that money and why isn't it spelled out on the link? At least mollify us with a success story.

It does seem like a good program, Pronzi. I too am happy to contribute.
Personally we have one pasture puff who I would have euth'd, but my husband is a softie. We just gave two away as riding horses. There are reputable people who do re train, re sell.
Euthanasia seems the easy way out. A horse is no longer useful and isn't breeding stock, let's euthanize. or send to slaughter. People need to be accountable for horses at the end of their careers. I fully agree on that!

RedMare01
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:23 PM
Oh, jeepers, I didn't want to be, but I'm drawn in.

IMHO, this is all about indiscriminate breeding as well as quantity breeding. There are far too many fillies/mares who are rehomed to be broodmares because there is the perception that there is nothing else to do with them.


I agree completely. These are all great ideas, but the problem will never be solved until you get rid of breeders that are breeding low end, crappy horses. I know all about crappy breeders, because I boarded at a TB breeding farm for a couple of years...nice people with a good amount of money, standing 3-5 stallions (mediocre) that they probably make money on standing to outside mares. They also breed 12-15 foals a year of their own, by the mediocre stallions and out of mares purchased at Keeneland for 2-10K (otherwise known as Not Fantastic Broodmare Potential). The foals sell as yearlings for an average of 2K...they have had an occasional one go for up to 20K (and that one they bought the mare in foal). I am only aware of one or two winners that they have actually bred. There may be a few more, but not many. And we're not talking about Churchill or KY racing, we're talking about Indiana-breds racing at Indiana and Hoosier Downs.

The kicker is, they don't really do it for the money. I'm sure that they lose money on at least 75% of the foals they sell. But they're making money on the stallions and enjoy the babies, so apparently they don't care. So, lets just say for the last five years they have put an average of 60 foals on the ground. That's 12 foals that, if they're lucky, may win a race or two out of 20...30...40? And then what? We all know what's going to happen to them.

So. I DON'T think you can fix things without raising registration fees.

How much does it cost to register with the Jockey Club? If you're discussing raising fees to $300, apparently not a lot. If people had to pay double that, $500-750 per foal...that might solve a lot of the problem right there.

Caitlin

Daydream Believer
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:23 PM
As it stands though, I'm kind of tired of protecting the image of racing. The reality is that these horses ARE being killed, the racing industry just gets to point to the slaughter-plant as the problem, instead of where the problem originates.

Thats like blaming the gun for someones bullet wound.

Now, where is it originating?? Thats another can of worms, isn't it? Well, I have yet to see a horse end up at the slaughter plant, or at the other end of a giant dose of Vitamin Pink that wasn't ever bred in the first place.

If people want to keep this "game" going, they need some answers, and they need them now. Slaughter isn't the answer, but killing them humanely? That might could be the answer. Disgusting, gruesome, wasteful, heartless--yes, all of it. But if you want to play in this game, if you want to breed an animal, buy and animal, claim an animal, run an animal, make money on an animal, make demands of an animal,...Well, you should be willing to (at the VERY LEAST) humanely kill that animal if you can't find it a perfect home and you can't care for it for life.

My jaded, worn-out, just had to put down ANOTHER ravaged 3 year-old-with baby teeth opinion.

Excellent post. The sport, and those involved in it, need to be held accountable for the horses that fall by the wayside or are broken down beyond help/rehab and can't be rehomed.

I have a wonderful boarder here at my farm now. A person who co owned a racehorse mare and when the horse was claimed and run into the ground by a not so good trainer...and was ready to step on the meat truck, she got involved, bought her, rehabbed her, and now has her close by where she can take care of her and relearn how to be a horse mom. There are some responsible owners in the sport but certainly it sounds like there are a lot that are not. The mare is a lovely horse and we are enjoying having her here.

I'm not sure what the answer is but at least there are some great folks like Fairweather out there doing what they can to help.

Pronzini
Aug. 24, 2009, 11:16 PM
I agree completely. These are all great ideas, but the problem will never be solved until you get rid of breeders that are breeding low end, crappy horses. I know all about crappy breeders, because I boarded at a TB breeding farm for a couple of years...nice people with a good amount of money, standing 3-5 stallions (mediocre) that they probably make money on standing to outside mares. They also breed 12-15 foals a year of their own, by the mediocre stallions and out of mares purchased at Keeneland for 2-10K (otherwise known as Not Fantastic Broodmare Potential). The foals sell as yearlings for an average of 2K...they have had an occasional one go for up to 20K (and that one they bought the mare in foal). I am only aware of one or two winners that they have actually bred. There may be a few more, but not many. And we're not talking about Churchill or KY racing, we're talking about Indiana-breds racing at Indiana and Hoosier Downs.

The kicker is, they don't really do it for the money. I'm sure that they lose money on at least 75% of the foals they sell. But they're making money on the stallions and enjoy the babies, so apparently they don't care. So, lets just say for the last five years they have put an average of 60 foals on the ground. That's 12 foals that, if they're lucky, may win a race or two out of 20...30...40? And then what? We all know what's going to happen to them.

So. I think you can fix things without raising registration fees.

How much does it cost to register with the Jockey Club? If you're discussing raising fees to $300, apparently not a lot. If people had to pay double that, $500-750 per foal...that might solve a lot of the problem right there.

Caitlin

Caitlin, I'm sorry but you sound like a snob.

What you described is probably 75% of the TB breeding out there. Not everyone breeds for the first day of Keeneland or the Saratoga sale or can. The elite stuff is 1 % of all foals. As for not making their money, that's true of almost all horse breeders. Check out the sport horse breeding forum sometime.

A $10K mare (especially in this economy) is a real prospect. Plenty of expensive broodmares have stunk up the joint as producers while others in the price range you mentioned have become legends and foaled Lawyer Ron, Affirmed, Lava Man, John Henry among so many others. That's part of the delightful side of the sport. It doesn't just take money and someone like Sam Rubin can beat a sheikh at his own game.

Besides I'm not convinced that the elite are any better at dealing with the inevitable breeding oops or failures than Vern and Sally in say the Louisiana program. Often times you find the very opposite is true. I've met down and out horsemen who would take care of their horses before themselves and do. Are there problems? Sure there are as there are problems in all horse sports. You guys are generalizing way too much and extrapolating from some sad stories which are inevitable in a sport as large and as transparent as TB racing. Personally I'd love to see the day when all horses are tattooed so we can follow them wherever fate leads them. I think it would be eyeopening.

RedMare01
Aug. 24, 2009, 11:32 PM
Caitlin, I'm sorry but you sound like a snob.

What you described is probably 75% of the TB breeding out there. Not everyone breeds for the first day of Keeneland or the Saratoga sale or can. The elite stuff is 1 % of all foals. As for not making their money, that's true of almost all horse breeders. Check out the sport horse breeding forum sometime.

A $10K mare (especially in this economy) is a real prospect. Plenty of expensive broodmares have stunk up the joint as producers while others in the price range you mentioned have become legends and foaled Lawyer Ron, Affirmed, Lava Man, John Henry among so many others. That's part of the delightful side of the sport. It doesn't just take money and someone like Sam Rubin can beat a sheikh at his own game.

Besides I'm not convinced that the elite are any better at dealing with the inevitable breeding oops or failures than Vern and Sally in say the Louisiana program. Often times you find the very opposite is true. I've met down and out horsemen who would take care of their horses before themselves and do. Are there problems? Sure there are as there are problems in all horse sports. You guys are generalizing way too much and extrapolating from some sad stories which are inevitable in a sport as large and as transparent as TB racing. Personally I'd love to see the day when all horses are tattooed so we can follow them wherever fate leads them. I think it would be eyeopening.

Maybe so, but you don't see what they produce. And they are not the people offering to take back horses at the end of their career's, either. The whole point of raising the registration fee would not stop people like this from breeding, but it would reduce the amount they breed. Instead of 12 foals the would maybe produce 6. I fail to see how that would be bad.

Oh, and the 2-10K mares were bought 2-3 years ago when the market was good. Doubt they are worth that now.

Caitlin

Barnfairy
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:04 AM
You guys are generalizing way too much...You're not including me in that generalization, are you? ;) :lol:

In all seriousness I believe FairWeather has seen more than her share of sad stories. Yes, you can find sad stories from any equestrian endeavor, but that doesn't mean we should accept it. With enough discussion perhaps solutions may be found.


Personally I'd love to see the day when all horses are tattooed so we can follow them wherever fate leads them. You might get your wish. The USDA would like you to consider an 840 transponder (http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/naislibrary/documents/factsheets_brochures/840%20factsheet-horse%20owners-final.pdf) so that Big Brother can keep an eye on us all........

Equilibrium
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:16 AM
I agree with Caitlin being a snob. Wouldn't it be great if racing were only about the big guys and the money horses. I'll tell you what that is, a whole lotta people looking for work.

Over here they bemoan anyone who isn't breeding group horses, especially in Ireland. But then again, over here they are ruthless in culling. It's a business and they treat it as so. Slaughter is very different over here but I can tell you that for much of the year there has been a waiting list to get in as they don't do feed lots here. This is kind of my annoyance when people blame Europe for America's problem with slaughter. We seem to have enough here to keep things ticking over.

You can add Sheihk Mo to the list of people who are very very good about reschooling and rehoming horses. I do remember a story about him claiming one in America and then giving said horse and a hefty donation to a rescue. Of course then he got condemed and labled a cheater after that endurance fiasco. But I can name another big entity in the racing game that doesn't seem to do squat for racehorses after the racing is over, at least over here anyway.

Why is sending a horse off to the zoo gruesome? I had 2 foals die in 2 years and both ended up having to be taken to the hunt kennels. I couldn't bury them nor was having them stuffed or cremated an option.

I do believe something has to be done for low cost euthinasia. It really really does. Everyone wants stallion books to be under control so start with the SO. Based on how many they breed every year they need to make madatory donations. Most of the money will be coming from the big guys. They will start looking at their books and quality of mares like they've never done before. Not saying it has to be outrageous, but splitting the costs between SO and a fee on top of registration for mare owner will probably help. Then finally add on a little for horses in the sales ring. Oh and lord knows bloodstock agents should somehow contribute to an industry that makes them enough money! Anyway, a three tier system would insure everyone is making a decision on said horses welfare before it becomes a problem.

As a small breeder I would be in favor of having to pay an extra bit on top of my horses for registration. And by the way, my horses do have contact info for me tucked into the back of their passports. So yes, I will take one back. Now if one of my horses were only good enough to be a pasture puff with excessive costs to keep them sound, chances are I will opt to put them down at home. Hate me if you will, but quality of life is better than quantity. But part of what we do with every foal the min they are born is to prepare them for a life after racing. They too have to have impeccable manners and are turned out all the time. Even when they come home on vacation, they get a rug on and out they go.

Terri

titansrunfarm
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:27 AM
Drvm--Agreed, not a lot of money, PR nightmare.

As it stands though, I'm kind of tired of protecting the image of racing. The reality is that these horses ARE being killed, the racing industry just gets to point to the slaughter-plant as the problem, instead of where the problem originates.

Thats like blaming the gun for someones bullet wound.

Now, where is it originating?? Thats another can of worms, isn't it? Well, I have yet to see a horse end up at the slaughter plant, or at the other end of a giant dose of Vitamin Pink that wasn't ever bred in the first place.

If people want to keep this "game" going, they need some answers, and they need them now. Slaughter isn't the answer, but killing them humanely? That might could be the answer. Disgusting, gruesome, wasteful, heartless--yes, all of it. But if you want to play in this game, if you want to breed an animal, buy and animal, claim an animal, run an animal, make money on an animal, make demands of an animal,...Well, you should be willing to (at the VERY LEAST) humanely kill that animal if you can't find it a perfect home and you can't care for it for life.

My jaded, worn-out, just had to put down ANOTHER ravaged 3 year-old-with baby teeth opinion.

agree 100%

WinterTriangle
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:29 AM
This is the main reason why you would see most trainers before sending to auction as they get the $300 instead of having to pay $300 as I'd say more than half the trainers at a low-end track are broke

If they're broke they need to go work for somebody else for pay.

Like any business, if you're under-capitalized, you don't make it. Except, when they liquidate most businesses, they are only liquidating non-live stuff like cash registers, counters, and office furniture.

The horses who race for us are living beings. They should not be *liquidated* like an office chair. :no:

Any horse who has carried you, your rider, and even your family members, owes you nothing. If they won you money, and turned a profit, then they should participate in that profit.

It seems draconian that, with all the ways to raise money, thru many of the great ways mentioned here, that horses can't have a retirement.

IF it were a priority, they would. Obviously, it's not. That's what's wrong with racing. I no longer support tracks that run cripples and oldsters who shouldn't be on the track, with my wagering dollars.

Another thing that can be done, is to publish lists of owners who made millions off their horses and didn't provide for their retirement. Bad PR works. :)

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 08:55 AM
I never understood why people say trainers are sending horses to slaughter. Of course there are some trainers who own their own horses but the majority of race horses are owned by other people who pay to have their horse trained. That trainer could no more sell a horse they don't own to slaughter then they could to anyone else. They do not own the horse, they can't sell it to anyone! It is also true that there are some trainers who would oblige their owners when told to get rid of a horse by any means, but it certainly isn't done without their consent or urging. Don't let the real guilty party escape your wrath.

caffeinated
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:48 AM
What about when the owners are lied to?

"I found CantHitTheBoard an excellent home at a summer camp for disabled kids!"

(not saying it's common, or anything, but I've run into it more often than I'd like)

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:55 AM
Really glad to see this thread alive still! Thanks ya'll!

Some comments on what i've read so far (up to page 3)


Shawnee Acres—For you, the answer is humane euthanasia. Well, that’s not happening in our lifetimes, and I don’t even want to discuss it on this thread. I’m a racehorse fan who wants to change the racing industry, not a slaughter fan trying to change the slaughter industry.


From Glimmerglass:
Look at other professional sport businesses - the NFL fans and owners aren't bashed when a walk-on rookie player comes on the field and is injured in the first season and won't be able to play in the sport again. The NFL is not expected to find that player a new career.
With all due respect Glimmerglass, that’s right up there in my top ten lame-ass excuse/justifications I’ve ever heard. Congrats for making the top ten though!

Seriously? There are a *few* holes here with your argument. The NFL isn’t BREEDING football players to play football games.
Also, a lame football player can still sell his autographs on Ebay, or find another job, can it not? Bad bad bad comparison. Lets just pretend that didn’t even happen, shall we?

Also from Glimmerglass

At the end of the day the money to support those horses who flop has to come from someone. People seem to think that the tracks are somehow awash in money - people see the glitz of the Breeders' Cup and think what they want - but we know the truth. They're struggling.

If racing can’t survive, and survive in a way that enables them to take care of their injured and retiring “players”, then racing needs to die (and I say that as a HUGE racing fan!). There is no justification in the world about how some of these animals are treated. Newsflash--Horses are expensive! If you can not take care of them, Then you should euthanize.

From Redmare

These are all great ideas, but the problem will never be solved until you get rid of breeders that are breeding low end, crappy horses. I know all about crappy breeders, because I boarded at a TB breeding farm for a couple of years
Again, with respect here—the horses we have weren’t necessarily bred by backyard breeders. We’ve had sons of Tabasco Cat, Our Emblem, Real Quiet, El Prado, Forest Wildcat, Silver Charm, Skip Away—I could go on and on. Yes, indiscriminant breeding is contributing to the problem, but it’s not *the* problem.


TOBA is an organization designed to attract and keep new owners to the racing world. They actually address the issue of thoroughbred retirement and stress that owners should do the “right thing”, but their suggestion is to dump the horse on a rescue. EHHHH! Wrong. TOBA should step up and educate owners about reality, and the reality is that these horses may need to be euthanized if they are not placeable. Educating people is step 1. I cannot begin to tell you how disillusioned Thoroughbred owners are about their horses’ retirements. If they are not “horse people”, the misinformation becomes staggering. I once had a race-horse owning ex-congressmen yell at me because I wouldn’t take his slab-fractured horse. (We had no room, and I had stopped taking slabs anymore—too heartbreaking and expensive for the organization and typically ended in euthanasia anyhow). This man was wealthy, this horse had just run and placed in a stakes race, and pulled up with a slab on finishing. This jerk screamed at me that we were “only after his money” and he “knew how groups like us operated!” and that he was giving us a STAKES WINNING HORSE!!!!...
Oy. I hung up on that one.
http://toba.org/owner-education/thoroughbred-retirement.aspx

Aftercare of horses is expensive. Here are the numbers for my particular group—granted, we are in the very expensive DC Metropolitan/Mid Atlantic area, but these are real numbers to chew on:

(this includes routine care and maintenance, as well as necessary vet care for major injuries-- and is only an average)
Sound horse: 220$ a month until placed. (sound defined as able to live out, and able to have a second career)
Somewhat sound (may need some stall time, or extra care/shoeing/vet attention): 450$ month until placed.
Injured and requiring stall rest: 700$ a month
Catastrophically injured, 1200$ a month for up to 6 months.

Got to read the rest of the thread, only on page 3 so far J

NMK
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:55 AM
I must say I am quite impressed with the responses to this post. It has been my experience that those in racing--the tracks, the horseman's groups, etc. are in as much need of help financially as the horses. As pointed out, the real money in the sport is in breeding. So someone help me with the "best case" scenario-- walk me through a program that outlines who gives what, where it goes, and how its distributed when needed. And let's give the benefit of the doubt to the set up of the fund (although I do agree with you Glimmer, you never know).

And add Mary Lou Whitney to the list of breeders who will take horses back. We had one of hers that we re-homed with her help. We always look up the breeder in hopes of help there when one comes in. You never know.

Nancy

N&B&T
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:07 AM
Reading this very realistic thread with interest and sadness both. I am curious as to why no mention of the TRF? One of the models proposed earlier in the thread sounds like an expansion of what they do. Is it because they are limited in the number they can accept? Or some other reason?

The trouble is that even the sound ones who are re-homed are at risk at the end of their newly-useful lives (or even during them) as they are passed along.

Agree that the problem starts with breeding and that safety nets of some sort--even one as disagreeable as euth--need to be built in at the start and come from those who are profiting before the horses become "useless".

FWIW, I support my three old pasture puffs--they are mine, have become my responsibility, and they like living, "useless" or not. Too bad those who breed and/or profit cannot accept some responsibility.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:17 AM
I realize the risk of saying this out loud (but again, tired of it!), but I have not ever, in 10 years of doing this, gotten a return phone call from the TRF (in Kentucky), despite begging and pleading with them for help. Easily 30 phone calls made (some in tears), none of which returned.
I'm sure they do great stuff, I just don't have the slightest clue about getting a horse into their program, despite my best efforts at trying (and trying, and trying, and trying).

My opinion is that TRF has become a victim of it's own policies. They used to advertise (might still), that they are the biggest, oldest and only thoroughbred retirement group that keeps horses for life. Well, that seems to be a bad policy to me. If you keep them all, you run out of room/money/resources. Seems they hit that wall 10 years ago.
All of this is my opinion only, and one I've formed over many years.

I should clarify that TRF does adopt horses out, but I know they've struggled in finding homes (just as the rest of us have)

jengersnap
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:21 AM
I am curious as to why no mention of the TRF?

Not that I even want to jump into this simmering pot of a post, but I had to say that the TRF is where my mind went as a foundation of a good idea. I think using the convicts as staff makes terrific financial sense, as well as gives them a skill set when they are ready to rejoin society. In a wide enough implimentation, those who don't want to work directly with horses can certainly find work mending fences and other groundswork, building run-ins and even barns, reparing tack, blankets, washing laundry, working fields and baling their own hay, and so on and so forth.

RedMare01
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:26 AM
I agree with Caitlin being a snob. Wouldn't it be great if racing were only about the big guys and the money horses. I'll tell you what that is, a whole lotta people looking for work.



I don't mean small breeders should stop breeding, and I do realize they are probably 75% of the market. BUT breeding should be well planned (and just because it has a uterus doesn't mean it should be bred) and the number of foals produced per year reduced. From what I've read of your posts, you seem to be a good breeder that cares about your horses. You were not the kind of small breeder I was talking about in my earlier posts.

I can't believe many of you thinking of solutions for unwanted thoroughbreds think it's elitist to want fewer foals, espcially out of mediocre and poor parents. These foals selling for 2K in an Indiana yearling sale are, what, somehow going to magically all be wanted at the ends of their racing careers and have great homes? I'm sure that one of them could be the next John Henry. But, guess what, 99.5% are not. And they're going to stop racing at some point.

Caitlin

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:57 AM
What about when the owners are lied to?

"I found CantHitTheBoard an excellent home at a summer camp for disabled kids!"

(not saying it's common, or anything, but I've run into it more often than I'd like)

No questions there are asshats in every walk of life. The point is it is not the trainer's problem to solve. They don't own the horse, they can ship it back at anytime to the people who do and be done with it. Aside from pocketing the few hundred bucks from the horse's dead body there isn't much incentive to lie. Just send him home.

NMK
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:59 AM
N&B&T--have you ever tried to get a horse into the TRF? Anyone?

By the way I applaud you N&B&T for taking your horses back and giving them retirement.

Nancy

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:03 AM
I have placed dozens of horses with TRF over the years. Many of my own as well as for other people. I haven't used them in years however. Ever since they started the policy of requiring a $2500 donation to accompany the horse. Its not too difficult to talk people into giving up the small amount of money they could get from the meat man but its hard as hell to get them to cough up $2500 on top of that. I don't even bother with them anymore.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:04 AM
Laurie--agreed. People are always quick to say "trainers", and I really try and work to say "owners and trainers". While trainers have a responsibility to train horses compassionately and educate owners about retirement, they should not bear the entire burden of retirement itself.
However, It's a thin blade trainers have themselves perched on, for many reasons. I cannot count the amount of times a trainer has called me desperate for help--the owner has stopped paying the bills, the stall needs to be vacated, and there is a no-tolerance sales/slaughter policy at the track.
Again with my original question, Where do these horses go??
<surrender barn!>

An admirable trainer will educate an owner and refuse to train for them unless they are responsible owners--through retirement or death. I know many people are like this (you included, Laurie!).
But trainers have themselves backed into a corner. Owners will just go elsewhere, and the cycle continues, so truthfully, the responsibility HAS to fall back on the owners.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:25 AM
With all due respect Glimmerglass, that’s right up there in my top ten lame-ass excuse/justifications I’ve ever heard. Congrats for making the top ten though!

Seriously? There are a *few* holes here with your argument. The NFL isn’t BREEDING football players to play football games.

Also, a lame football player can still sell his autographs on Ebay, or find another job, can it not? Bad bad bad comparison. Lets just pretend that didn’t even happen, shall we?

I'll be sure to print it out and mount it on my wall of honors :D

As I said, and I risked even in citing it, the comparison to other professional sports-based businesses might not be apt. Horse racing's cost haven't dropped - if anything they are higher - yet the opportunity for all horse race merchandising, tv revenue, grandstand ticket sales, etc have either been lost or are negligible.

I'll reiterate: horse racing and horse breeding are seperate. The NFL doesn't breed players but neither does NYRA or MEC who own the tracks. Trainer Nick Zito isn't a breeder. So to restrict the number of future unwanted, expended, illsuited for racing, horses post-racing you have to look first at controlling the volume of horses being breed for a racing future.

With any ex racer there should be everyone's 'oar in the water' to help row - including the track to some degree if only for a role of monitoring, control and enforcement of whatever plans could be developed. Just don't place a higher $$ expectation on the largest entity with the erroneously perceived deepest pockets.

Alice
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:37 AM
I have two geldings right now that were given to me. Both are sound, and mostly sane.

One was given to me by his owner/trainer who truly wanted a good home for him. He did come and check up on him, and we remain in email contact.

The other was given to me by the syndicate that owned him. They also check up on him.

If only more owners/trainers would be so caring! I do try to advertise what they have done, and I send email updates, pictures and promise to show them under their racing name. They seem to get a kick out of hearing show updates.

I've also updated the breeders on what these two are doing. I wonder if we could get better support if we made the effort to update the former owners/trainers/breeders?

Pronzini
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:43 AM
You're not including me in that generalization, are you? ;) :lol:

In all seriousness I believe FairWeather has seen more than her share of sad stories. Yes, you can find sad stories from any equestrian endeavor, but that doesn't mean we should accept it. With enough discussion perhaps solutions may be found.

You might get your wish. The USDA would like you to consider an 840 transponder (http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/naislibrary/documents/factsheets_brochures/840%20factsheet-horse%20owners-final.pdf) so that Big Brother can keep an eye on us all........

Seriously since as a TB owner I already live with Big Brother, it wouldn't bother me a bit. It might shake some people out of their smug complacency when they start seeing where pets and sport horses can end up when their usefulness is compromised by injury. It isn't all just evil TB racing and breeding by a long shot.

magnolia73
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:43 AM
Fairweather, how often does a horse come to you with a check? Do you think that they perceive they are giving you something of value? The reality is they are handing you a liability (in the case of an injured animal). Do you think giving the potential donor (boy is donor a bad name)...surrenderer of the horse a "bill" that shows those average expenses would be worth while?

Glimmerglass, I think breeders and trainers share reponsibility, because the horse has no say. Jake Delhomme can say, quit. Or say- my elbow hurts, throwing today would ruin my career. He can save the money he earns. His coach and owner pays him some of what he earns them. The horse gives all of his earnings to his owners and trainers.

The trainer often makes the decisions that leave Fairweather looking at an unadoptable horse. The breeder may cause excess horses, but the trainers create useless horses. Maybe one solution is that a cut of winnings goes "to the horses", to fund retirement homes. That way the horses literally earn their retirements. Or hell, put a tax on any revenue made from betting on horses, breeding horses, selling horses, training horses.... and allocate it to rescues.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:45 AM
Glimmer--
My opinion is that everybody who touches each horse (breeder, owner, owner, owner, owner, owner (and in some instances a trainer if they've run the horse successfully)etc...) owes it to that horse to ensure it's safe retirement--that means making the right (kind!) decisions, and ponying up the cash.
Just because someone drops a horse filled with knee chips in a claiming race and is lucky enough to have passed his/her problem to someone else, should not absolve them of responsibility.

So, lets make this a bit more real. There are several horses on CANTER right now desperate for a home. I don't know what will happen to them, but it's totally likely that they could end up at the kill pens.

What, Ideally, should be done with them?

magnolia73
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:46 AM
Seriously since as a TB owner I already live with Big Brother, it wouldn't bother me a bit. It might shake some people out of their smug complacency when they start seeing where pets and sport horses can end up when their usefulness is compromised by injury. It isn't all just evil TB racing and breeding by a long shot.

Amen. It isn't just TB's being left in the cold.

SEPowell
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:48 AM
I haven't read the whole thread, but just want to throw out that euthanaisa at New Holland Sales barn is $65.00 (or was in 2008). I don't know the details of their management of euth, but I know they don't operate in a deficit. Also, I disagree with the idea that euth would be a pr nightmare. I have seen many many racehorses for whom it would have been a kiss from god.

NMK
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:49 AM
Alice, not to call you out because I am very glad you took the two geldings, but would you have done the same if they were not sound? That is the real issue at hand.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:51 AM
Mags--
RE: checks, Not often--but the trend was swinging the right direction. It only swung the right direction because of one of the trainers we got horses from. He insists that horses are retired, and must be sent with money. It's not a lot of money, but it helps.

Of course, moot point as we're not taking horses anymore from that particular track.

Another very real scenerio. I have a SOUND, beautiful, kind broodmare--Seattle Slew grand daughter. Easy keeping, easy to ride (if green, but totally agreeable!), trail rides alone and in company and we cannot give her away.
Do we keep dumping money into her that we don't have?
http://calabriarose.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/canter-07-03-09-04.jpg?w=500&h=326
Do we put her down? She's sound! She's ridable! And I cannot give her away.

magnolia73
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:51 AM
What, Ideally, should be done with them?

Handed off to you with a check to cover care for the rest of their lives, contributed by anyone who made a dime or tried to make a dime off the horse. The track, the bettor, the owners, the trainers, the breeder, the jockeys, the grooms, the vets, the farriers and the state that makes $ off the track. basically, everyone who makes a livelihood off the horses...sliding scale of course, and perhaps the grooms owe nothing.

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:52 AM
I haven't read the whole thread, but just want to throw out that euthanaisa at New Holland Sales barn is $65.00 (or was in 2008). I don't know the details of their management of euth, but I know they don't operate in a deficit. Also, I disagree with the idea that euth would be a pr nightmare. I have seen many many racehorses for whom it would have been a kiss from god.

You know in all the times I have been there it never occured to me that you could take a horse there specifically for the purpose of having it put down. As awful as that may sound I think that is a wonderful idea. I have had horses put down at that auction before but they were horses we bought there that day. It was the lesser of two evils in those cases.

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:55 AM
Love the surrender barn idea.

How about this (the things you think of when cleaning stalls) When someone wants to breed their mare, in addition to the stud fee, they pay an, I don't know what you call it, another fee, maybe $500 - this money goes directly to a fund managed for retirement? And the stallion owner pays 1- 10% of the stud fee into the same fund.

this may have been mentioned here already. I know there are logistics involved, but maybe? also, on the other end, some way to incent the trainers?

I completely agree with whoever posted about the owners, in my experience, not as great as many of you, but about 32 years on and off, I have heard that many times - "the owner stopped paying the bills, etc. - from a CARING training desperate to do the right thing. More often than not.

Also, is there a way to "fan out" foster or emergency homes? i.e. a network of people around the country that could bolster the rescue network, even if on a temproary basis.

That does nto address the whole "dump on a rescue" or what to do with the ones that are not going to be anything other than pasture puffs, but might that buy some time?

We will never be able to get everyone to do the right thing, and giving the irresponsible ones the incentive to do the right thing may not be the answer, but if we can get a few answers going, maybe we can impact it.

Meantime, Fairweather, major hats off to you. I thank you so very much for what you do. Went I went home last night, I hugged both of my guys.

Lori B
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:59 AM
There have been a number of posts on here stating that they would (or do) euthanize horses who are unsound, only able to be pasture pets, hard to retrain, etc. I don't think there is anyone on this thread who has criticized that option out of hand -- it is unfortunate, but I think (I think) that you will see that many of us who are critical of slaughter prefer euthanasia or recycling to zoos / hunt packs to commercial slaughter because the profit motive in commercial slaughter erodes the likelihood of animals being consistently handled humanely in the process.

Should animals who earn people money (sometimes a LOT of money) have a moral claim to a retirement, that, to be honest, they've literally earned? I think so. And the way to make that happen is to require horse racing to provide for the horse's future FIRST, UP FRONT.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:01 PM
And then The New York Times has today's (8-25-09) editorial:
A version of this article appeared in print on August 25, 2009, on page A20 of the New York edition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/opinion/25tue4.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

Excerpt


A fee needs to be extracted at every level of racing — from breeders and owners as well as from bettors — to pay for the retirement of the very horses the sport depends on. (The same idea should be applied to the quarter horse world as well.) So far, efforts to do so have been voluntary and paltry at best. The Jockey Club, which maintains the thoroughbred registry, has instituted a voluntary checkoff program. The New York Racing Association has a voluntary $2 starting fee.

NMK
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:10 PM
So, can we come up with one? Who should contribute and how much?

Stallion owner
Mare owner
All consequent owners
All trainers
Bettors
Tracks
Horseman's associations
????

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:10 PM
Laurierace -
i agree completely:

You know in all the times I have been there it never occured to me that you could take a horse there specifically for the purpose of having it put down. As awful as that may sound I think that is a wonderful idea. I have had horses put down at that auction before but they were horses we bought there that day. It was the lesser of two evils in those cases.

LoriB -
Absolutely!
There have been a number of posts on here stating that they would (or do) euthanize horses who are unsound, only able to be pasture pets, hard to retrain, etc. I don't think there is anyone on this thread who has criticized that option out of hand -- it is unfortunate, but I think (I think) that you will see that many of us who are critical of slaughter prefer euthanasia or recycling to zoos / hunt packs to commercial slaughter because the profit motive in commercial slaughter erodes the likelihood of animals being consistently handled humanely in the process.


And again, what about the "underground railroad" idea? A network of people that could take them even if temporarily? I know that is a stopgap measure, but for instance, with Calabria Rose, even if someone could take her for 6 months, and look for a home for her, that is one less the rescue deals with.

People who want to participate would apply just as a foster home might?

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:22 PM
So, can we come up with one? Who should contribute and how much?

Stallion owner
Mare owner
All consequent owners
All trainers
Bettors
Tracks
Horseman's associations
????

Yeah, it's amazing how short on specifics people are.

Here the numbers to play with again. The first 3 figures are for TBs, the last number I'm not sure if it's just TBs or if it also includes harness racing.

~30-33,000 foals/year
~425,000 starts/year
~$667m in total purses/year

~$10b total wagered/year, of which approx
------- 79% is returned to pools
------- 8% returned to racing
------- 2% goes to government
------- 11% "other" deductions, operating costs etc I imagine.

Also, no one has come up with a ball park figure of much needs to be raised. Anyone involved in a rescue care to give a guess at a nationwide number?

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:30 PM
I'll reiterate: horse racing and horse breeding are seperate. The NFL doesn't breed players but neither does NYRA or MEC who own the tracks.

That analogy doesn't fly. The biggest single day(s) in racing is called the "BREDDERS CUP" and is funded in part by breeders. Then there are state bred programs in every state that inflate the purses of thousands of everyday races.
The two are inextricably linked.
As to MEC not breeding horses, I think you could take the following names and connect the dots... Magna, Stronach, Adena Springs.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:31 PM
Digging down into the numbers the Lexington Herald-Leader's Alicia Wincze (http://horseracing.bloginky.com/2009/08/14/jockey-club-projects-2010-foal-crop/) had this article:


The Jockey Club has revised its original estimate of registered foals for 2009 from 35,400 to 34,000.

The foal crop projection, traditionally announced in mid-August, is computed by using Reports of Mares Bred (RMBs) received to date for the 2009 breeding season. RMBs are to be filed by Aug. 1 of each breeding season.

“After remaining stable for more than a decade, the number of mares bred has declined annually beginning in 2006 and the rate of that decline has accelerated in each of the last two breeding seasons,” said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s vice president of registration services. “These declines will have an obvious impact on the business in the years ahead, most notably at the racetrack, where, on average, 70 percent of registered foals make at least one career start.”

So using the 70% average above and using 2009 data that means with TB race horses - 70% of 34,000 is 23,800 horses projected to have 1 career start.

Barnfairy
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:38 PM
re: foster homes

CANTER NE relies a great deal on foster homes. I fostered a horse with a fresh career ending bow on top of what should have been a career ending old bow a couple summers ago when I had a stall available, until arrangements could be made for him to go to a TRF satellite.

I would do it again in an instant if I had the space.

Foster homes are very useful, though not a solution within themselves. Depending on the arrangement, the horse may still remain a financial burden on the retirement organization. In my case, CANTER paid for my foster horse's vet bills, but I opted to cover all other costs of care.

Finding enough foster homes which can provide the facilities and skill set appropriate for the needs of race-fit and possibly injured horses coming straight off the track can be a challenge. Horses can and have met horrible fates while at foster homes. Actually visiting the foster homes, spread out over a region, to ensure that the standards of care remain up to snuff is a must but requires further resources, human and financial.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:40 PM
Digging down into the numbers the Lexington Herald-Leader's Alicia Wincze (http://horseracing.bloginky.com/2009/08/14/jockey-club-projects-2010-foal-crop/) had this article:



So using the 70% average above and using 2009 data that means with TB race horses - 70% of 34,000 is 23,800 horses projected to have 1 career start.

Which begs the question, are too many horses really being bred? I really don't know the answer to that, but the knee jerk reaction when horses go to slaughter is that there are too many. But then you look at race cards and see paltry fields and you have to think that there's hardly an overabundance of horses at the track.
If you reduce the number of horses bred it seems like that will have a knock on effect to the numbers of horses racing. Is it realistic to expect less racing? Maybe it is. There is a lot of crap racing out there and tracks closing.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:45 PM
As to MEC not breeding horses, I think you could take the following names and connect the dots... Magna, Stronach, Adena Springs.

Yes - connect the dots. MEC is publicly traded and Stronach had/has a controlling interest. I think you can appreciate that I do know that. I said previously that racing and breeding go hand and glove together but they are separate entities. A shareholder in MEC does not see a nickle if Adena has a spectacular breeding season and have triple their stud fees.

Again - I'll refrain from using all caps - I am not advocating against MEC or NYRA or [insert anyone assocaited with racing down to the feed guy] having a role to play in fixing the problem.

Barnfairy
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:46 PM
Magna, Stronach, Adena:

Last I knew the Adena Springs in-house retirement program would take back Adena bred horses for retirement.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe it was ruled recently that Stronach could be sued in the wake of Magna's failings. Usually business entities are kept separate; I have no idea what if any impact the ruling would have on Adena.

ETA: Magna Entertainment creditors can sue Frank Stronach (http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/fp/Magna+Entertainment+creditors+Frank+Stronach/1905630/story.html)

Barnfairy
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:48 PM
But then you look at race cards and see paltry fields and you have to think that there's hardly an overabundance of horses at the track.Maybe there are too many tracks. Or perhaps I should phrase it: maybe there should be fewer tracks.

Nlevie
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:53 PM
This is a great thread - I too worry about all these horses that no one wants to put down.
But it has always seemed like such a waste to me when rescues put their limited resources into horses who will never have a great quality of life. We need to get our emotions out of it and do what is best for the horse ! Which in many cases is to put it down humanely.

Agree that there must be a way to make euthanasia more affordable AND more acceptable !

Louise
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:12 PM
Magna, Stronach, Adena:

Last I knew the Adena Springs in-house retirement program would take back Adena bred horses for retirement.



Adena Springs will take retire and retrain, if possible, any horse retiring after racing for their own stables. They will not, except in very rare instances, take a horse that they have bred, that has gone on to race for other owners.

I don't know what the solution is. Even in instances where there is a track sponsored retirement program in place, the glut of horses exists. Like Canter, these programs are also having a hard time placing their horses. I know that Finger Lakes is.

The only way I can see any kind of a solution is what has already discussed, a fee structure set up for these horses set up to involve all of the people from the breeding of the horse to retirement. And, I don't think even that would begin to cover it. There are just too many horses out there, and too many horses who don't race long enough to begin to have enough contributers to cover their own expenses.

Besides, trying to set anything like that up would be a logistical nightmare. Would any of you want to be involved with it, or should it be "somebody else?"

I know this. More rescues aren't the answer. They fill up, and then, they have no room, either because they have taken too many pasture ponies, or because times are bad, and horses aren't being placed.

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:17 PM
Sorry, just reeding the Tour of the Cat thread, and after all he did for so many people, the horse welfare advocates (thank you so much) had to get $5000 of donations to get him to retire him!? What is wrong with those people???

Someone hear mentioned that the Fairweathers should get a check when a horse is "donated" - yes! Certainly not the other way around.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:20 PM
I need to make this very clear if anybody cares, or if anybody wants to know just how bad the "market" has become for anything other than a sound, 16.2 hand non-cribbing gelding.

We are not just talking about euthanizing horses with crippling injuries--I've gotten disturbingly good at making that decision :(

We are talking about putting down the excess--which includes horses who are happy and healthy and living just fine, but we can't find them homes.

The mare I posted about (15, but sound and happy and rideable!) has been with CANTER almost 2 years, and nobody has been interested (Katarina's Song, not Calabria Rose). We cannot keep funding her retirement if no home can be found. WHAT do we DO with her?!!

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:27 PM
Would it be worth it to try to have an "adoption day" for horses like this? Maybe at Fair Hill CCI, where there is a trade fair, dog agility, etc.? They have the booths, but what if some temp stalls, with some of the adoptable ones? Or at the track? Or even at other shows?

Or at State Fairs? I know, green light thinking, it might be silly.

I am really glad that we all are having a very useful discussion, though.

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:29 PM
Brandy--me too, super helpful to air this stuff and get feedback!

RE: adoption at fairs etc--you run the risk of a horse going to an unsuitable home. :(

Barnfairy
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:37 PM
Would it be worth it to try to have an "adoption day" for horses like this?For the past couple years CANTER NE has held an event they call the Suffolk Downs Showcase (http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/11/30/canter_ne_helps_place_retired_thoroughbred_race_ho rses/) not with the purpose of actually adopting out horses that day, but rather, to raise awareness and allow prospective buyers to view many of the horses which are available to be rehomed (most still residing on the track) all in one barn. I think it's a great idea. Many people are intimidated to go talk to race trainers one-on-one, but this setting allows for a prospective buyer to meet the horses and see them move without feeling on the spot.


Adena Springs will take retire and retrain, if possible, any horse retiring after racing for their own stables. They will not, except in very rare instances, take a horse that they have bred, that has gone on to race for other owners.
Thank you for clarifying, Louise.

stoicfish
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:38 PM
If anyone could show me anyplace on the planet where slaughter is currently administered in a consistently humane way, and where violations of humane regs were punished with something just short of castration with a rusty knife, I would be interested in considering that solution, ShawneeAcres. Otherwise, no thanks. I think the problem of poor enforcement and not being able to persuade any jurisdictions that they have a reason to actually spend time and money caring about enforcing those kind of laws is pretty intractable. THAT is why I oppose slaughter.

It's not that it's not possible to slaughter humanely. It's that no place does it that way reliably. A solution where no one stands to make any $$ seems to have better prospects for fewer abuses.

This might be covered in a post I did not read, sorry if that is the case.
I come from a farm background, and actually our cows that we used for meat where shot at the farm, and taken away in a refrigerated truck. It was still sad, but we feed them grain, their heads were down and they never knew what hit them. NOT a bit. The meat is very nice because there is no stress, and there should actually be a profit from the deal to help with the living horses. You just need to find someone that will do the business. It seem that wouldn't be too hard, since they would make a profit and could export the meat. Sounds weird, but maybe setting up your own system for slaughter that would be done on farm, so monitored would be a solution, and would make money. Would that be legal in the USA?
I have seen the needle too, not as quick. I think that would be a great solution to keep the animal in the market system, but afford them dignity with no suffering at the end.

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:49 PM
Brandy--me too, super helpful to air this stuff and get feedback!

RE: adoption at fairs etc--you run the risk of a horse going to an unsuitable home. :(

You're right.

What about what Barnfairy suggested below? I'd come volunteer for that.
I have also found that the more talk there is at shows, clinics, other disciplines, the more chance for a home.

Also, maybe a euthanasia clinic would be an answer too, maybe twice a year, in several locations, same time - ish every time. It would help on a lot of levels - but a very important level would also be to reduce the stress/fatigue/heartbreak on people like Fairweather.

Everyone - fingers crossed - I think we have a forever home for my foster, then it's back to the track for another!

YoTambien
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:05 PM
You guys act as though the industry has done nothing. But I know that Carma fees have been taken out of my account this year.

http://www.carma4horses.org/

I have no idea what the money goes for (which frankly bothers me a bit) but everytime I run a horse in California, they get a piece of it.

If you like, I can put in touch with rescue organizations that have dealt with CARMA however you probably will not find their experiences to be encouraging. Suffice to say that CARMA is about as well run and realistic as the rest of the California racing scene. Think about how the track replacement at Santa Anita was handled and you get the idea.

I don't know that any of those folks would actually go on record as saying so since it might jeopardize the few crumbs they do receive from that fund.

NMK
Aug. 25, 2009, 03:39 PM
Brandy, that euthanasia clinic date has some merit, thank you. It may be, sadly, time for responsible rescues to set date limits on how long they can keep horses looking for homes.

I still go back to having surrender barns with euth. services at the racetracks, avoiding shipping fees and the financial (and emotional) burdens it puts on re-homing groups. But I think along with that you also need support the re-homing/outplacement groups. I don't think anyone who has been involved with this sport would argue the need for both.

It's just that no one wants to fund them. And no one has good answers to how to do it...YET. I think there is a way and there should be, for the good of the sport.

Lori B
Aug. 25, 2009, 04:16 PM
Of course that's the way it goes when you slaughter your own cattle. But that's not what happens when horses from an auction are shipped off in bulk, by people who wanna move as much meat as they can for as little money as they can spend, to the slaughterhouse. That's the point!

N&B&T
Aug. 25, 2009, 04:16 PM
Sticking my oar in just once more, briefly, to say thank you to those who made responses re the TRF. It's unfortunate that something similar isn't available for more horses.

I don't know much about this subject, was impressed by the thread and had a question. That's it, no simmering pot :eek: except I do think the situation is untenable now; my hat is off to those of you who are dealing with it and brainstorming to come up with some solution.

For the record, my horses were long past their racing career when I got them.

Will read the rest with interest.

sisu27
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:26 PM
Great thread with amazing contributions from some really cool, intelligent COTHers.

Now, lots of good ideas but how do we make it happen? Is it all pipe-dreams? Will it only happen if those with the $$ and the influence get on board? Can simple non-rich horse owners, who happen to love the thbd, like myself do something to help?

I love the idea of paying a fee upon registering a foal with the JC. Why couldn't that happen?

Not being sarcastic in any way....not involved with the race world and really don't know how realistic any of these ideas are.


LoriB, I wish I could take another as I would take that Slew grand daughter in a heartbeat....I have a grandson and he is a fantastic fellow.

danceronice
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:27 PM
This might be covered in a post I did not read, sorry if that is the case.
I come from a farm background, and actually our cows that we used for meat where shot at the farm, and taken away in a refrigerated truck. It was still sad, but we feed them grain, their heads were down and they never knew what hit them. NOT a bit. The meat is very nice because there is no stress, and there should actually be a profit from the deal to help with the living horses. You just need to find someone that will do the business. It seem that wouldn't be too hard, since they would make a profit and could export the meat. Sounds weird, but maybe setting up your own system for slaughter that would be done on farm, so monitored would be a solution, and would make money. Would that be legal in the USA?
I have seen the needle too, not as quick. I think that would be a great solution to keep the animal in the market system, but afford them dignity with no suffering at the end.

I'm not anti-slaughter, but you do know that's not even how 99% of beef and pork are slaughtered, right? And that it would border on being impossible to make a profit by small-batch slaughter by gun? You wouldn't get enough meat to make it worth the time and effort involved to hand-shoot hundreds of horses each year, or enough to make it worth the expense of shipping it out of the country as there's next to no market in the US for horsemeat. You might be able to argue for feeding to zoos, but the ideal there is still not horses pumped full of drugs so you'd have to have a quarantine period.

It is possible to slaughter humanely using a captive bolt, but the mechanics involved with restraining a horse for the purpose are different than for a cow. I dont' like the idea of mass euthanasia because that's a lot of meat going to waste, but even then racehorses aren't an ideal source for human-grade meat anyway. At least rendering uses it somehow, but there isn'ta renderer on every corner and it costs money to have them hauled away. It would be easier to find a way to simply not breed so many, but that has its own problems.

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:43 PM
Great thread with amazing contributions from some really cool, intelligent COTHers.

Now, lots of good ideas but how do we make it happen? Is it all pipe-dreams? Will it only happen if those with the $$ and the influence get on board? Can simple non-rich horse owners, who happen to love the thbd, like myself do something to help?

I love the idea of paying a fee upon registering a foal with the JC. Why couldn't that happen?

Not being sarcastic in any way....not involved with the race world and really don't know how realistic any of these ideas are.

But isn't it people like us that can make a difference, too? Yes, I know the starfish story, and I agree with it, but I agree, what would be a way to start, with people like us, who are scattered around the country with various experience, but our hearts and minds are in the right place with some great ideas.
The fact that this thread has remained positive and constructive speaks volumes. This subject is very near and dear to my heart, and I do what I can, but want to do more.
I know others that feel this way, maybe not rich, or influential, but might have great input.

Daydream Believer
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:54 PM
I dont' like the idea of mass euthanasia because that's a lot of meat going to waste, but even then racehorses aren't an ideal source for human-grade meat anyway.

Uh no. Any horse that has ever had Bute is forever considered unedible for human consumption. I have no idea how common that drug is in race horses but it's very common in show horses....so very few American horses are truly safe to eat by human beings. Withholding periods are very rarely known or followed either. I believe there are a lot of other drugs that racehorses typically get like Lasix, and I have no idea of what the legal withholding period is for that drug. Food animals are regulated in the US but since horse meat is not consumed here, withholding periods for horses are poorly enforced..if at all. Carcasses are only spot checked for drug residues.

Now, I'd think for zoo or kennel use, that might not be such an issue but I sure as heck would not want to eat an American horse. Considering how tough the EU is on drugs in horses over there...bute is outlawed in the mainland Europe for use in horses at all, and the UK has a passport system for all horses to declare them fit or unfit for human consumption...I'm shocked at how accepting they are of importing very likely tainted meat.

Brandy76
Aug. 25, 2009, 06:04 PM
http://www.habitatforhorses.org/whatsnew/HHC.html

ivy62
Aug. 25, 2009, 07:03 PM
This is a great a brain storm.. .Honestly, part of the problem is irresponsible breeding. If there were less horses that might help or if the tides would change and every show horse was no longer a German import at least those with possible careers would get the chance...
Euthanasia has a place but it has to be controlled. I would rather see a horse go to sleep gently then but starved and forgotten....I always said, If I had money I would have a barn full of 3 legged horses...
I have an OTTB that I had great hopes for but he sustained a major injury and I have been working on him for over 3 years to rehab, mostly from misdiagnosis..I would take another on in a heart beat and I would love a 15 year old that was already retrained....
I would donate what little time I have to help the rescues or go on fund raising missions...
The bottom line is someone has to take responsibilty, the owners, breeders, trainers and the Jockey Club...
The saddest part is that I believe the largest group of horses led to slaughter are not Tbs but Paints and Qhs....
If someone can come up with a solution I would help in anyway possible..I just do not have the answers...Wish I did....

YoTambien
Aug. 25, 2009, 07:24 PM
FWIW - Back in 2004, the University of Arizona Racetrack Management Program students prepared a study into funding sources for Racehorse retirement.

You can view their efforts here:

http://ua-rtip.org/students/research/other_research/the_last_resort_study.ppt

http://ua-rtip.org/students/research/other_research/the_last_resort_data.xls

and some of the other student research projects on this page:
http://ua-rtip.org/students/student_research.html

I honestly do not know if anyone ever did anything with this report. I have forwarded it to countless folks in the industry as well as people involved in adoption and retirement. I have never heard any feedback as to how feasible the ideas are.

For those interested, here is the main link to the Symposium held every year, and you can view the past industry presentations as well:

http://ua-rtip.org/symposium/index.html

kcmel
Aug. 25, 2009, 07:43 PM
Maybe there are too many tracks. Or perhaps I should phrase it: maybe there should be fewer tracks.

I agree with this. In this age of simulcasting there is no need for so many regional tracks. Maybe limit it to one major track in each region. That would eventually lead to a reduction in the number of horses bred, and (hopefully) to an increase in the quality of horses bred. (Sorry, small time breeders and trainers!)

With fewer starters each earning more money, it would also be easier to "skim" more cash from the purse to help pay for retirement.

Of course this is never going to happen, because of the money that the tracks bring into a state.

ivy62
Aug. 25, 2009, 08:06 PM
So many of the tracks are in trouble, OTB in NY is going bankrupt! They have been trying to get slots forever and the handle at the tracks is way down too....How do we bring racing back to the glory days and save as many as we can too? That's a mouthful!!
I am always proud when I see an oTTB doing well in a second career..I love the breed and when someone taked the time to retrain and figure out what they do best it is a push for the breed.....
Having been involved with eventing now it is a shame that they are tayloring it to the warmbloods.....no roads and tracks......Check out Courageous Comet or go back in the archives to Idle Dice....

stoicfish
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:17 PM
I'm not anti-slaughter, but you do know that's not even how 99% of beef and pork are slaughtered, right? And that it would border on being impossible to make a profit by small-batch slaughter by gun? You wouldn't get enough meat to make it worth the time and effort involved to hand-shoot hundreds of horses each year, or enough to make it worth the expense of shipping it out of the country as there's next to no market in the US for horsemeat. You might be able to argue for feeding to zoos, but the ideal there is still not horses pumped full of drugs so you'd have to have a quarantine period.

It is possible to slaughter humanely using a captive bolt, but the mechanics involved with restraining a horse for the purpose are different than for a cow. I dont' like the idea of mass euthanasia because that's a lot of meat going to waste, but even then racehorses aren't an ideal source for human-grade meat anyway. At least rendering uses it somehow, but there isn'ta renderer on every corner and it costs money to have them hauled away. It would be easier to find a way to simply not breed so many, but that has its own problems.

Yes I do realize how animals are slaughtered, I live in Alberta as in "Alberta Beef". That is the reason I suggested this method instead of just shipping them. When they are done on the farm, it is controlled and quite humaine. I think you might have missed the point I was trying to make. I also respectfully disagree with the notion that it would not be profitable. Having people bring the horses to the rescue, then having someone local putting them down, would have to be cheaper (as far as cost to meat production) then buying them and paying for a truck to haul a load to Can or Mex. The price of the animal to the meat buyer would be set at a standard $100 or whatever, (so very cheap for the butcher, as compared to the cost of conventional slaughter).
Do you realize how much of a mark up there is from on the hoof to on the table? The cost of beef when we did our own was waaay cheaper then going to the store. There is tons of money to be made in processing.
And shipping the meat would be no different than the cost of traditional slaughter.

And what is the difference between gun and bolt as far a cost? Bullets are not that expensive.

P.S.
I don't like the idea of unwanted horses to start with. I have personally never sold any of my own. But a dignified, kind death is better then the alternative.
http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=220120

sisu27
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:17 PM
But isn't it people like us that can make a difference, too? Yes, I know the starfish story, and I agree with it, but I agree, what would be a way to start, with people like us, who are scattered around the country with various experience, but our hearts and minds are in the right place with some great ideas.
The fact that this thread has remained positive and constructive speaks volumes. This subject is very near and dear to my heart, and I do what I can, but want to do more.
I know others that feel this way, maybe not rich, or influential, but might have great input.

So let's not just let this thread be the hot topic of the week and then fade away to page two, three etc

My resources are not of the traditional kind ($$) but I have other things to offer, like many here.

What next?

I am not anti-slaughter nor anti-euthanasia but it is a band aid solution right now to a massive cluster of a problem. I would love to see a day when it wasn't the go-to method of solving this nightmare.

I have such a love/hate mentallity about the thbd industry. Without it we would not have these amazing animals but it has created a situation where those same amazing animals are treated like garbage. It is so awful.

I've seen the power of COTH do some pretty amazing things. Let's at least see what we can do.

Idealistic ramblings perhaps and I certainly am not the one with the answer nor even a plan but I sure am game for helping in any way I can.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:24 PM
FWIW - Back in 2004, the University of Arizona Racetrack Management Program students prepared a study into funding sources for Racehorse retirement.

You can view their efforts here:

http://ua-rtip.org/students/research/other_research/the_last_resort_study.ppt

http://ua-rtip.org/students/research/other_research/the_last_resort_data.xls

and some of the other student research projects on this page:
http://ua-rtip.org/students/student_research.html

I honestly do not know if anyone ever did anything with this report. I have forwarded it to countless folks in the industry as well as people involved in adoption and retirement. I have never heard any feedback as to how feasible the ideas are.


That's quite interesting stuff. Nice to see someone put some hard numbers on it all.

ivy62
Aug. 25, 2009, 09:26 PM
I, too, would go door to door with fund raising or something but if we can brain storm an idea that would work I would help too!

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:04 PM
I think part of the probelm is the way the purses are structured. Lots of 'older' horses could have longer careers as runners but there arent races written for them. This is great for the breeders but it means there are tons of obsolete horses around. The horses need more low-level tracks like Thistledown and Suffolk where old timers can be useful for 8 or nine years.

Also CANTER and similarly-themed organizations do little for the horses. Mostly they are just tax dodges for uppity horse chicks (many of them lead double lives as breeders if you know what I mean) that 'rescue' a bunch of horses that would have found homes anyway. Somehow the tax dodgers and their friends always get the best horses out of the deal as well. If the do-gooders focused on legitiamte rescues, there would be less to slaughter.

kcmel
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:16 PM
Also CANTER and similarly-themed organizations do little for the horses. Mostly they are just tax dodges for uppity horse chicks (many of them lead double lives as breeders if you know what I mean) that 'rescue' a bunch of horses that would have found homes anyway. Somehow the tax dodgers and their friends always get the best horses out of the deal as well. If the do-gooders focused on legitiamte rescues, there would be less to slaughter.

:lol::lol::lol: That's funny! Where on earth did that idea come from?

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:29 PM
I think part of the probelm is the way the purses are structured. Lots of 'older' horses could have longer careers as runners but there arent races written for them. This is great for the breeders but it means there are tons of obsolete horses around. The horses need more low-level tracks like Thistledown and Suffolk where old timers can be useful for 8 or nine years.

Also CANTER and similarly-themed organizations do little for the horses. Mostly they are just tax dodges for uppity horse chicks (many of them lead double lives as breeders if you know what I mean) that 'rescue' a bunch of horses that would have found homes anyway. Somehow the tax dodgers and their friends always get the best horses out of the deal as well. If the do-gooders focused on legitiamte rescues, there would be less to slaughter.

What rock did you just crawl out from under?

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:32 PM
it may be funny, but it aint no joke...

chaltagor
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:38 PM
Big Yellow Taxi you've got a mighty big green chip on your shoulder. Take a seat and rest a while; it must be tiring to carry that around.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:43 PM
OK so what about the horses?

Laurierace
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:45 PM
I don't see anyone laughing. What the hell are you talking about?

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:51 PM
Guess you missed kcmel's post. What rock did YOU crawl out from?

FairWeather
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:52 PM
oooh, we have our first troll!

I wish I had more friends, I wouldn't have to turn away so many horses :( Tax Shelters? Breeders? Thats awesome! Add some little people and a ski- ball game and we've got a circus!
pfft, go away.

Yo Tambien--i've not seen those links before, I'm going to read over them tomorrow, Thanks!!

And thanks all, for all of the constructive feedback. I hope it keeps coming.

Meredith Clark
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:38 PM
Also CANTER and similarly-themed organizations do little for the horses. Mostly they are just tax dodges for uppity horse chicks (many of them lead double lives as breeders if you know what I mean) that 'rescue' a bunch of horses that would have found homes anyway. Somehow the tax dodgers and their friends always get the best horses out of the deal as well. If the do-gooders focused on legitiamte rescues, there would be less to slaughter.

He's right.. after I rescued my first OTTB from Penn my sorority sisters nominated me for Homecoming Queen and I got a huge tax return that I spent on tanning and long fake nails in bright colors.

Unfortunately I got a gelding so I couldn't breed him but I've already collected samples so I can clone his cribbing, headshaking, kissing spine flesh over and over and over...

kcmel
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:42 PM
OK, I know I started it, but maybe we could try to stop feeding the troll and get back to brainstorming!

Essentially there are too many TBs being bred. There aren't enough homes--the idea of a network to foster is a great one, but it wouldn't take long for everyone to "fill up". The rescues are already full. Money from the industry for rehoming would help, but I don't see it as addressing the essential problem. I don't think there can be any long-term solution that doesn't address the overbreeding.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:45 PM
Rescued him from what? All the things you say are wrong with him didnt matter when he was a racehorse.

Muleskick
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:47 PM
A real question...are there any owners on this board that are willing to take a horse back that they bred? Have you done so? I would like to hear your story. I know we sent one back to the late John Hettinger. It was on her papers and no questions were asked.

I now attach stickers to the back of all of our horses papers with my contact info and a statement that says to contact me if the horse needs assistance or a home (this includes ones we breed, claim, or purchase). I will take any of them back.
I have only ever received one such call and it was before the stickers. aIt was for a horse I had trained and lost thru the claim box, he was purchased at New Holland and the rescue wanted a donation. He was a 17 hand 6 year old gelding, he had a breathing problem and mentally was not suited to be rehomed. I informed the rescue of this and said we would we would take the horse back but they were not interested in that and did not contact me further. I was later told by his breeder that he donated 500$ to them. They charge "adoption fees" into the 1000's for their horses.
Great discussion here. Canter is a great orginazation and has listed and sold nearly 40 horses for me.
Bravo for you brave posters bringing up humane slaughter, what if they use the meat in this country to feed the starving.
At my track removal of the euthanized horses is free to us as long as they are on the grounds, the only cost to us is the vet @100$. And yes I have done it on several occasions, my only thoughts being for them and to end their suffering.
Okay way to long. Keep it up this is a great thread.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:48 PM
OK, I know I started it, but maybe we could try to stop feeding the troll and get back to brainstorming!

Essentially there are too many TBs being bred. There aren't enough homes--the idea of a network to foster is a great one, but it wouldn't take long for everyone to "fill up". The rescues are already full. Money from the industry for rehoming would help, but I don't see it as addressing the essential problem. I don't think there can be any long-term solution that doesn't address the overbreeding.

You dont think the purse structure has anything to do with what you call overbreeding? Nothing at all?? If the (ahem) Breeders Cup had a $13 Million race for 9 year olds there would still be just as many 4-7 yr olds who cant pay their way? Are you sure?

soduswoods
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:56 PM
for this information on putting a horse down at a track i was informed by the vet it is free. even pickup is free. so that is not the reason trainers are dumping the horse. it is because they dont have the heart to do it. most trainers really care for the animals and a hope that there is a life after racing helps them cope with all that does go wrong. that is why they give them away. there are those few who sell to make a buck at the end of the horses career. even a little is more important then a good home.

Meredith Clark
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:56 PM
Rescued him from what? All the things you say are wrong with him didnt matter when he was a racehorse.

I was joking.. and it did matter when he was racing. He was hell to gallop in rain (which triggered his head shaking) and the kissing spine effects his soundness.

Anyway.. back to the topic

I have bought 2 horses from CANTER. I purchased them, I paid money and they were nice horses (abet Jay did have problems..) but they were not on their way to slaughter. Jay was scheduled to race the week I got him and Shorty was living at home with his owner/trainer.

CANTER PA is more like a connection service between buyers and sellers, they don't take horses and rehab them or anything (at least they didn't) so they are different than CANTER Mid Atlantic.

I did rescue a horse from another OTTB rescue. I say "rescue" in this case b/c they advertised her as "one hoof on the slaughter truck" or something that tugged at heartstrings and I got her for free. She ended up having a chronic and progressive condition that I later found out the trainer/owner knew about but by giving her to me I paid for her to be put down (after paying lots of $$$ for diagnoses and treatment that didn't work).

I reported this to the organization and they STILL work with this trainer meaning more and more people may get ripped off.

Am I glad that she got to live out her last few weeks in my nice green field.. yes. Am I angry that the owner didn't take responsibility himself.. hell yes.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:06 AM
Sounds more like cash for clunkers than an equine dating service, but what do I know - I pay taxes and everything.

soduswoods
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:09 AM
i agree that if the races supported the older race horses they would run longer. a horse runs because they want to. you cant force a horse to give its best. in fact many of these ex racers end up running in local fair hunt races. that is just about the same thing except it is not bet on. but it has a purse and the horses run and jump at top speed.
as for injured race horses there are as many injuries in the hunter jumper end. these are athletes where there is a sport there are injuries. in fact i know of a few horses who died from injuries that happened in pastures. we could out law turning out horses, out law riding, showing. if you try to protect a tb by keeping them in the stall they hurt themselves in the stall. no where is safe.

Meredith Clark
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:14 AM
Sounds more like cash for clunkers than an equine dating service, but what do I know - I pay taxes and everything.

I guess you could say that about Jay (the one with problems) but don't say it if I'm in punching distance* :winkgrin: I love that horse

As far as the other horse I got the better deal. He ended up being an amazing little eventer that was worth a LOT more than I paid for him.



*disclaimer since you seem to take things literally.. I am not threatening to physically harm you.. I am joking again as indicated by winking smiley.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:18 AM
OK so the one that turned out to be a find - he woulda been dead without CANTER?

Meredith Clark
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:35 AM
OK so the one that turned out to be a find - he woulda been dead without CANTER?

Don't have my crystal ball on me but that's why I didn't consider him a rescue. He had been on the CANTER site for a while (he was really short so a lot of people passed on him) so maybe the owner would have gotten tired of him and gotten rid of him.. who knows?

I didn't see it as any different than a normal horse sale. Any person with any type of riding horse they are trying to sell might, could, would send a horse to slaughter if it doesn't sell or euth. it.

I can't speak for anyone else but I don't have a sense of entitlement or pretentiousness because I got a horse from CANTER. I don't expect people to thank me anymore than you would thank a person who made a Western Pleasure horse into a show jumper.

*shrug*

Not sure what i'm really defending anymore.

Back to the topic at hand..

There's so many unwanted horses in this country. I did my Jr. Thesis for college on the topic if anyone wants a long read with lots of Statistic. :lol:

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:42 AM
Ok so whats different from any normal horse sale is they get a tax dodge. And at the same time divert $ from legitimate rescues. You wouldnt give a tax break to a dating site for ugly people, would you? And if you did, wouldnt it be a pisser if they turned out to be an escort service?

Laurierace
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:48 AM
Who the heck is "they" and what tax dodge is who getting? By the way I don't think its a coincidence that you picked late at night to start your BS. Hopefully the mods will weed through this crap in the morning.

Meredith Clark
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:49 AM
Ok so whats different from any normal horse sale is they get a tax dodge. And at the same time divert $ from legitimate rescues. You wouldnt give a tax break to a dating site for ugly people, would you? And if you did, wouldnt it be a pisser if they turned out to be an escort service?

Am I the whore in this analogy or are the race horse owners? :lol:

I think someone else needs to take over this fight.. I honestly just like riding ex-race horses.

goodnight!

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:14 AM
'They' is the CANTER parasites and the tax dodge is their non-profit status which the website clearly describes (notice how Microsoft never applied for non-profit status?).

And no, its not a coincidence that I started posting when I did. I was leaving your orgy of self-congratulation alone until I read the part about too many tracks (?). I'm sure the breeders, owners and horsemen will be thrilled to learn someone close to the organization they work with so closeley is advocating shutting down all but a few tracks across the country.

kcmel
Aug. 26, 2009, 08:55 AM
I'm just a humble volunteer:). But I stand by my opinion that there are too many tracks, and too many race horses.

FairWeather
Aug. 26, 2009, 09:07 AM
I think it's really unfortunate that someone who has what seems to be a personal beef with me (for message board administration?? oooohkaaaay??) is trying to derail the thread.

While I can respect someone may have a negative opinion of CANTER and how it operates (it is their opinion after all), I don't feel this is the right thread to discuss it--particularly by someone who is hiding behind an alter.
I can also respect that this thing has an opinion that we give all the "good ones" to friends ( :lol: :lol: :lol: not true in the least!) but again, not the place to discuss it, not to mention I'm not going to argue with someone who is just trying to be destructive to the thread. :rolleyes:

What I will answer to is the "tax-shelter" comment (even though I don't feel it's germane to this discussion), but I can only answer for my group. In the past year, we've given two people donation letters for horses, and only because they asked for them specifically. While it's well within their right to write off what the IRS allows, I personally feel like any horses over a 1,000$ value should have to be appraised. Most of the horses we get are worth meat price or just above (but not all, we've gotten some nice horses too, but they all need rehab and time off). Most people donating horses either don't care because they have plenty of tax-writeoffs already, or they don't care because they don't pay taxes.
That said, back to the issue at hand.

Thanks for the feedback on the euthanasia at the racetracks!

I'm wondering if something could be worked out with groups who need to euthanize horses who came from a particular track, even if they've left the track.

Are catastrophic injuries handled by the state vet or private vets? Does the state vet have any involvement once a horse leaves the actual racing surface?

Pronzini
Aug. 26, 2009, 09:20 AM
And no, its not a coincidence that I started posting when I did. I was leaving your orgy of self-congratulation alone until I read the part about too many tracks (?). I'm sure the breeders, owners and horsemen will be thrilled to learn someone close to the organization they work with so closeley is advocating shutting down all but a few tracks across the country.

I happen to like Canter and I believe with the exception of some rogue volunteers in the past, Canter does that far less than some other rehoming/rescue type organizations but I also think it is a fair criticism. Mile in the moccasins moment: what kind of reaction do you think you will get from oh professional hunter jumper or dressage trainers if your message subliminal or not is "What would really make the world better is less of you."

When someone advocates fewer tracks, less horses and less racing, they are in essence attacking someone's livelihood. If that's your position, fine but don't be surprised if the industry then turns a deaf ear on your proposals. That's not the evil racetrack--that's human nature.

The other problem with imposing all of these fees--especially with other people's money--is that there has to be an efficient, transparent way to administer the program so it does the best good. Otherwise you are just engaging in a kneejerk feelgood solution with other people's money that is absolutely ripe for fraud and mismanagement. I decided to opt in to Carma because the little dribbles really meant nothing to me and I had vague hope that maybe the money might do some good. But I'm cynical enough that if you showed me that it was not actually getting to the retirees and their caretakers, I wouldn't be shocked.

DLee
Aug. 26, 2009, 09:34 AM
I think part of the probelm is the way the purses are structured. Lots of 'older' horses could have longer careers as runners but there arent races written for them. This is great for the breeders but it means there are tons of obsolete horses around. The horses need more low-level tracks like Thistledown and Suffolk where old timers can be useful for 8 or nine years.

Also CANTER and similarly-themed organizations do little for the horses. Mostly they are just tax dodges for uppity horse chicks (many of them lead double lives as breeders if you know what I mean) that 'rescue' a bunch of horses that would have found homes anyway. Somehow the tax dodgers and their friends always get the best horses out of the deal as well. If the do-gooders focused on legitiamte rescues, there would be less to slaughter.

Think I'll change my name to UppityHorseChick since I have two CANTER horses and a Finger Lakes one. :rolleyes:

FairWeather
Aug. 26, 2009, 09:46 AM
The other problem with imposing all of these fees--especially with other people's money--is that there has to be an efficient, transparent way to administer the program so it does the best good.

Pronzini--totally correct. Absolute nightmare in administration.
Now, while I can point to every penny of [our] budget and show how it was allocated and to what horses that came from which track, I don't know if thats the norm for other groups (but probably is? maybe? hopefully?).

What I envision the nightmare to be is every fly-by-night group out there applying for funds to take care of horses that should be euthanized, then drop the ball in fundraising themselves. There has got to be an equal mix here somehow, and there has to be incentive for people to do right by these animals, but how?

What if funding were set aside *just* for euthanasia within a certain time from leaving the track, or something along those lines? I'm honestly just brainstorming here. That way you don't have to deal with the people milking the system to keep horses funded to limp in fields for the rest of their lives when they should be euthanized.

there could be an application process where someone would have to have a form filled out by either non-profit groups, or whatever is pre-determined that clearly identifies the horse (tattoo, markings, papers, etc) and applies for those funds back?

The horses who are successfully placed and never come back to the group have funds that get put into the big pot.

I don't know, just some thoughts.

I gotta go run, I've got some uppity errands to run! ;)

kcmel
Aug. 26, 2009, 10:23 AM
When someone advocates fewer tracks, less horses and less racing, they are in essence attacking someone's livelihood. If that's your position, fine but don't be surprised if the industry then turns a deaf ear on your proposals. That's not the evil racetrack--that's human nature.

Absolutely agree, which is what I stated in my original post. But I just don't see how to humanely handle the large number of horses coming off the track with a limited amount of resources. There are just not enough homes.

Moderator 1
Aug. 26, 2009, 11:24 AM
We've had some OT questions raised about the mechanics/mentality behind organizations like CANTER and reps have had the opportunity to address them. Let's all please return to the main topic of this thread and if there are further questions re: the overall functioning of the organizations, please address them in a new thread.

Thanks,
Mod 1

hitchinmygetalong
Aug. 26, 2009, 11:34 AM
I've followed this thread with great interest as I have often pondered the question of what is to become of all these horses. I mean, think about it. There are enough horses coming off the tracks in this country to make every little horse-crazy eight year old girl happy for the rest of her life. But the fact of the matter is there are simply not enough homes for them all.

The loss of the domestic slaughter plants has pushed this problem onto the front burner and there are a lot of people scratching their heads about it.

I don't have any suggestions that haven't already been offered in this thread, but I want to reiterate the overbreeding aspect. I feel strongly that if people would be much more selective in their breeding choices, and not breed mares who were poor performers simply because they can, it would be a huge step in the right direction.

One thing has me really wondering, though. Wholesale euthanasia. I have to wonder who the poor slob would be that would be stuck with that job. Some fresh-out-of-school vet who needs a paycheck? "Here you go, dear. Your job is to nuke horses at the track. Every day. That's what you do. Kill horses." Can you imagine?

Barnfairy
Aug. 26, 2009, 11:49 AM
One thing has me really wondering, though. Wholesale euthanasia. I have to wonder who the poor slob would be that would be stuck with that job.Maybe the same slob who has no qualms about tapping joints and prescribing race day drugs to keep horses running on legs that should have been retired long ago?

'Just checking in from my fabulous double life as a breeder.

Brandy76
Aug. 26, 2009, 11:52 AM
Okay, flame suit zipped. I have some thoughts- with many holes in them, but we're brainstorming, right?

I tried to come at this from several angles:

non "rehabable" -

*the surrender barn idea. Whoever had it is genius. Trainers take horses their, vets come once or twice a week. Especially if it's free. Trainer doesn't have to face it, horse is treated with dignity. There actually was a little something like this at Hialeah in the
70's. Unofficial, hush, hush, but I knew several trainers who used it.

*euthanization clinics - October and April - 6 or 8 across the country, same time every year. Vets can offer reduced fees, or done on the track (especially if free!), or done at rescue(hate that option) - People could volunteer (vet students, etc) to hold horses to reduce fatigue/heartbreak on rescue workers that face this stuff daily.


Horses with options:
* rating system - when a horse arrives at trainer, OWNER writes a check for $200.

Upon horse's career end, and given to rescue/canter what have you, horse is evaluated by vet/rescue:
A- horse is sound, ready to go - no fee, $200 is refunded to owner, unless they choose to leave as donation
B- horse can be retrained with minimal rest say 1- 4 months, and go on - fee $50, remainder refunded to owner unless they choose to donate
C- horse has questionable futeure or longer rehab - fee $100, remainder refunded to owner unless they choose to donate
D- worst case scenario - fee $200, at least might defray cost of off track euthanization
If they pay up front when the glow is still there, when the horse is at the end, it might encourage them to not run horse into ground - financial incentive to do so.

Not the best answer, I know, but it might be a start.

At the start:

Breeder - on the both sides pays a specific fee to go directly to Retirement fund.

After the track:

Form a group to support the rescues. They are in the trenches daily, why can't we encourage fund raising, placement, networking, awareness, etc. We can offer a layer of support, arm them with more tools, by being their "troops"

Partner with:

AVMA and vets ( I know the AVMA is pro, but I am looking at solutions)
Farriers
Vet schools
Feed companies
Supplement companies
Companies that make horseshoes
Tack companies
Product companies
Drug companies
Sport horse trainers
Discipline association
Thoughts - all horse vets donate one hour per month - kind of like continuing education
Farriers could donate one hour per month
Feed companies could donate portion of proceeds, etc.

Form a Thoroughbred Performance Horse Association - yes, there is somehting similar out there now, but it is pricey, and doesn't really recognize until horses get to upper levels of ther disciplines. I am thinking to model it like the AQHA - well, not the ugly parts. Have TPHA shows, with points, etc, World Championships, etc.

Partner with discipline associations i.e. USEA, USDF, PRCA (yes, rodeo, I've known some great ottb barrel horses) etc., I know a lot of event people who ride TBs, and are softies for them. On entry forms for events, etc, have a line that says "Would you like to donate $x to the National Retirement fund? This could be for all horses.

The more interest/desire we can create for the horses that can go right into careers, the more breathing room the others can get.

Hell, I was even thinking of a bake sale! Or a holiday bazaare type thing!
I know most of this is TB specific, but can be used for all horses.

Will there be abuses? You bet? Those who milk the system? You bet. We can establish ways to mitigate that, I just wanted to start somewhere.
Find a way to reach out to non horsey people - racing fans, etc. - It the HSUS can do it , we can.

Ok, enough. Sorry it was long, and I am sure many of these things wouold be logistical nightmares, so flame away, I just wanted to throw some things out there.

You can't offend me. Last night, I promised my two - my horse, and my foster horse - who have run 84 races between them, that I would not let them down.

Big Yellow Taxi
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:07 PM
Lots of sarcastic responses. Guess thats the play of the day then. Poor horses.

NMK
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:28 PM
I have talked to several folks within racing organizations about the surrender barn idea...actually they think that a few surrender stalls would be appropriate, until I gave them some statistics. One of the things we must consider is that the last owner of some of the horses we help should not bear any (or very little) cost. There is too much competition at that juncture.

I read the stats from the studies done (thanks whomever posted that link) and it had anywhere for 11-20M per year in costs associated with retirement. Just a $50 sire fee per year may generate up to 2.5M. I am going to take a further look at the stats and add in the euth factor, which is missing from the study. It's a start, and Brandy, thank you for the brainstorming. Much appreciated. As an aside, did you have horses at Del Park in the 70's?

Nancy

caffeinated
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:33 PM
Ok so whats different from any normal horse sale is they get a tax dodge. And at the same time divert $ from legitimate rescues. You wouldnt give a tax break to a dating site for ugly people, would you? And if you did, wouldnt it be a pisser if they turned out to be an escort service?

Who gets a tax dodge? Horses purchased through trainer listings are straight purchases, no tax benefits apply to that at all.

The donated horses are different, but as much as you seem to think that's all fun and games and passing out horses that would have been fine without the rehoming group, I can think of five horses in CANTER pasture right now that nobody would have taken right off the track. One with an old hind fracture, one who bowed the same leg twice, and fairly badly. One with ankles that look like bombs went off in there if you look at x-rays. One with a knee the size of a watermelon. And the one I got to put down last week who was missing half his coffin bone in one foot.

So you can gripe about tax dodges all you want, or whatever it is you're upset about, but for each nice and useful horse we get in that we network and rehome (and yes, sometimes to friends, that's how networking works, right?) there's two or three who wouldn't have found a home straight off the track, and who we take care of and pay for for years. Would some of them easily have found homes off the track? Very likely, at least, provided the right people see them and want to buy them. If listing services like ours didn't exist, I think it would be a fair bit harder.

Sorry if I'm ranting, it's just that I've been involved for several years now, invested a lot of time both in the trainer listing program and the adoption program, pay for a lot of stuff out of pocket (including getting horses out in front of the public, the occasional shoe job, and the seemingly endless supply of fly spray we go through), so all this chatter about it being some sort of fun club where we hand out tax breaks to each other over martinis gets my hackles raised a little tiny bit.

Pronzini
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:40 PM
Lots of sarcastic responses. Guess thats the play of the day then. Poor horses.

I wouldn't call it sarcastic. I believe these responses are genuine and well meant. But the perspective seems to me to mostly from the outside looking in imperfectly. That's why there are suggestions to "fine them" or "impose new fees" or "close down Podunk Downs". When I see that, what I actually read is "I love horses and I don't like or understand you much Mr trainer, owner or breeder."

Of course, as horse owners, we are all a minority that other people perceive as being rich and maybe even a little extravagant and irresponsible. Before you all put your heads and brainstorm fixes for a world you may or may not belong to (or want to) remember that the unwanted horse problem is way bigger than the racetrack and how you might feel if the majority of non horseowners decided what you personally should do financially and otherwise for a dilemma that you personally didn't create. You might feel a little bit put upon and maybe even resentful of the "do-gooders."

Just sayin'.

Brandy76
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:41 PM
Caffeinated:

First - I'm sorry for what you had to do last week, and I thank you for doing it. Everything in your post -- right on!! There will always be those like byt, let them stew.

Thank you for wht you do, and you know what? I bet 75% of the horses placed are because of CANTER, ReRun Mid Atlantic, Exceller, etc.
Back in the 70's, yeah if you worked at the track, or knew someone, there was always giveaways, but other than that, none of the exposure these horses get now.


NMK- no, I galloped at Hialeah, Calder and Gulfstream on and off 70's and 80's, plus worked on some farms. thanks for the encouragement! We can do this! There will always be the naysayers, but then-- there's us.

Laurierace
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:41 PM
Well maybe she is on to something. Let's have an open house and pass out martini's to potential adopters until all the horses have found homes! The more crippled the horse, the more vodka you add. Rinse, repeat. Where do I sign up? Of course we will keep the nice ones out back where no one can see them so we can take them home ourselves.

caffeinated
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:49 PM
Of course, as horse owners, we are all a minority that other people perceive as being rich and maybe even a little extravagant and irresponsible. Before you all put your heads and brainstorm fixes for a world you may or may not belong to (or want to) remember that the unwanted horse problem is way bigger than the racetrack and how you might feel if the majority of non horseowners decided what you personally should do financially and otherwise for a dilemma that you personally didn't create.

Also a really good point. :)

And probably a much bigger problem, really, in the big scheme of things. It can be hard to remember the big picture when you're seeing one corner of it and focusing on that corner.

danceronice
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:50 PM
I was going to ignore the troll, however:

CANTER either provides a no-charge listing service to connect trainers to potential buyers, or they adopt harder-to-place animals, do what rehab they are able to do, and they try to find a home, for which the adopter pays a fee. They are an IRS-approved nonprofit organization, which means THEY ARE NOT IN BUSINESS TO GENERATE INCOME FOR OWNERS OR SHAREHOLDERS and are therefore in a different tax bracket than a for-profit business. They make money, which they use for their operating costs. That does not mean their books have a zero balance-what many people do not seem to grasp about NFP status is that it does NOT mean that you want your account books to balance out to zero at the end of the day with income exactly equalling expenses. You WANT a profit, because that provides a cushion for operating costs, business expansion, unexpected expenses, emergency funds, etc. There is no NFP that wants at the end of the day to not have made money, because that's when you go out of business.

Also, anyone who knows NFP accounting (for animal-realted NFPs or not--my experience is in the nonprofit sector but not charitable or animal funds) knows that the idea of getting rich off it is, as a rule, laughable.


To the discussion I was having two pages ago: why is a bullet more expensive than a bolt? Well, set aside the bolt is reusable, it costs more to have one guy go from animal to animal, reload, shoot, move the carcass or move the shooter. Plus aiming a gun involves a larger possibilty of human error--there are people who can put a horse down with one shot but it takes practice. Because it's slower, you must by necessity do smaller batches. The less of any product you process per hour, and the more labor involved to produce it, the more you have to charge for it. Mass-produced beef is cheap because the volume industrialized processing permits makes it more efficient and reduces labor costs. The more work you have to put into producing something, the more expensive it gets. Food producers ARE in business to make money. With horse you might be able to pull off a small-scale boutique slaughter operation if you had a close market for the meat simply because it's not a high local demand product, but the price would be high, and it would also not be able to process hundreds and hundreds of animals which makes using it as a disposal method for ex-racehorses somewhat moot.



But that also assumes again that ex-racehorses are an ideal or even halfway desireable source for human-consumption slaughter. Given that for true food safety they really ought to have 90-180 days on a feed lot to get everything out of their system, and that they're relatively lightweight animals with a lower carass yield on average than, say, a draft horse or a halter AQHA, that's even more expense in using OTTBs as meat animals. The more trim and unuseable bits you have, the more expensive your meat becomes because it's now harder to process and you're wasting a lot of the live weight so you have to make it back somewhere. So if you tried to do small-batch slaughter with OTTBs as your market animals, you'd end up spending a LOT and not getting as much as you would just raising, say, a feeder draft horse for two years and small-batch slaughtering that.

mmt
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:15 PM
Why isn't euthanasia for racehorses that cannot be rehomed funded from a tax on gambling proceeds? There is certainly enough money that changes hands to fund it, and given the betting is on the horses themselves, it seems equitable.

Barnfairy
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:21 PM
Of course, as horse owners, we are all a minority that other people perceive as being rich and maybe even a little extravagant and irresponsible. Before you all put your heads and brainstorm fixes for a world you may or may not belong to (or want to) remember that the unwanted horse problem is way bigger than the racetrack and how you might feel if the majority of non horseowners decided what you personally should do financially and otherwise for a dilemma that you personally didn't create. You might feel a little bit put upon and maybe even resentful of the "do-gooders."The racing industry does have a problem regarding what to do with all its retired equine athletes, even if it is just a microcosm of the unwanted horse problem at large. Trying to pass the buck or deny the problem just perpetuates it. No one wants to take responsibility. Don't take a cut of my purse. Don't stop me from breeding. Don't close my track.

Here's the thing: resent it all you want to, but if the racing industry itself doesn't come up with solutions for its equine welfare and retirement issues -- real and meaningful solutions, not paltry percentages or voluntary check-offs-- , the do-good members of the general public will, and/or call for the sport to end altogether.

Inability to self-regulate is a recurring theme with the racing industry, ultimately one which very well may lead to its demise.

FairWeather
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:30 PM
I'll agree with Barnfairy on this one--I wouldn't say i'm exactly an "insider" but I'm not exactly an "outsider" either.
If racing was not dependent on people actually going to the races and supporting racing through wagering, there would be nothing to worry about. AQHA (evidence points to them being the biggest contributor to horses going to slaughter) is not struggling to keep their show arenas open, ya know?

We're not just talking about the survival of horses, we're talking about the survival of racing. It's not going to survive in it's current state, save for a few high-dollar players/tracks, IMHO.
I've watched Maryland racing decline to the point that not even slots could bring it back (though do we want ALL racing propped up by slots? really??)

smilton
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:40 PM
I can say I've done it. 4yr old TB mare trashed knee that would require bute to be pasture sound for life, a 16yr old mustangx mare that would literally try to kill anyone with in a mile of her, a 2yr old gelding with undiagnosable metabolic problems, 2yr old stud STB severly sway backed to the point of nuero problems, 19yr old APHA stallion knees shot from barrell racing sweetest horse ever but began to have difficulty getting up and down, 5yr old pony mare severe vaginal tearing infection. Just to list a few from the past two years.
With the exception of one I only owned these horses about 4-6 weeks. Some I purchased from auction, some off the track and some I picked up rather than leave them where they were.
Its not an easy decision to make but having been present for several of the necropsies and seeing the pain these horses had to have been but only outwardly displayed a small portion of did justify the choice. I'm amazed after seeing some of the damage how much they handle. I absolutely loved the paint stallion purchased for $50 but the vet after seeing the damage was amazed he was still standing.
If given the choice I will put effort into the ones that are rehomable before I sink money and time into those with a very limited future.

Equilibrium
Aug. 26, 2009, 01:46 PM
I'll tell you a little story and then you all can have your opinions because I would like to see what others think.

A year ago a trainer friend put a 6yo mare down in her favorite field after a big huge breakfast and lots of treats. He stayed with her til the end. Remember most trainers here are training on a farm situation.

Here was her story. She came to us as a yearling to be broken. She was a stroppy very opininated filly. She was one of those that as soon as you put driving lines on she peed all over herself. But she was never nasty to the point of not doing what you asked. She had her ways and you worked around her. Company was out of the question because she kicked the crap out of everything. She went on to win 5 races with numerous placings. She also cheated herself out of a few races when deciding enough is enough spinning her tail and pinning her ears. At some point the owner didn't want her anymore and trainer kept her. We were asked if we would take her and give her a home. To be honest, the only horses I'm going to have back that I can manage on a keep for free basis is ones I have bred. Right or wrong, I am trying to make a living and also do the right thing and if they are going to eat I can't keep them all.

Mares pedigree was so so and really being a broodmare wasn't the best option just because she had the parts. She was a tricky mare who could only stand the odd horse in the same paddock as her. She was never a brilliant mover and if you weren't a capable horseman she could give you the odd kick if you weren't paying attention.

So this trainer elected to have her put down. He called us and said in the end I did the best thing for her. He said I could have tried to rehome her but he didn't want her going to somewhere she kept getting traded until she ended up in the slaughter house, nor did he want her to go somewhere she could end up being abused and starved. Now he did spend a year thinking of options for her all the while he paid her bills. He has 60 horses that pay his and his staff wages and not a lot of room for a horse just hanging about.

Now I'm guessing some of you will think he probably should have kept her about. That's an opinion that I'm sure will be discussed. Personally I think he did the right thing. He didn't throw a life away in my opinion. She had a very good life and was well taken care of for her 6 years and most importantly she was treated with respect and dignity until the end. And in a Country where slaughter is a real option he chose the better ending.

The problem you see is the human element. We humans know a horse could live til 30 plus years of age. A horse sure doesn't know that. So it's more us feeling that 6 years is an awful waste of life. I'm certainly not advocating just putting them all down after racing - that's not what this is about. To me it's quality over quantity. Can you imagine if this trainer decided, well I'll call up the TB rescues and get her into them and my hands are washed clean. Now the rescue is faced with making the same decisions he had to make and blocking a space for a horse better suited to finding a decent home.

A little fodder for thought!
Terri

YoTambien
Aug. 26, 2009, 02:04 PM
The racing industry does have a problem regarding what to do with all its retired equine athletes, even if it is just a microcosm of the unwanted horse problem at large. Trying to pass the buck or deny the problem just perpetuates it. No one wants to take responsibility. Don't take a cut of my purse. Don't stop me from breeding. Don't close my track.

Here's the thing: resent it all you want to, but if the racing industry itself doesn't come up with solutions for its equine welfare and retirement issues -- real and meaningful solutions, not paltry percentages or voluntary check-offs-- , the do-good members of the general public will, and/or call for the sport to end altogether.

Inability to self-regulate is a recurring theme with the racing industry, ultimately one which very well may lead to its demise.

I can vouch for personal experience. I USED to be a huge fan of racing. I have books and books and books on the history of the sport, the theories on breeding, etc. I would go to the track whenever I could and be glued to the set to watch (rare) television coverage of stakes races when I couldn't be at the track. I love Thoroughbreds and would marvel at the glorious sight of these horses as they raced at the track and yes, I would bet on the races as well.

However, after being involved for ten years in efforts to provide a better ending to the horses I loved so much, I am not much of a fan these days. It is rare that I ever go to the track, and as far as watching the races on TV, I might see some coverage of a Triple Crown or Breeders Cup race on the sports highlights on the evening news, or look it up online, or not.

I have lost my enthusiasm after years of seeing how the racing industry AS A WHOLE is pretty much apathetic about the fate of the horses.

stoicfish
Aug. 26, 2009, 02:31 PM
To the discussion I was having two pages ago: why is a bullet more expensive than a bolt? Well, set aside the bolt is reusable, it costs more to have one guy go from animal to animal, reload, shoot, move the carcass or move the shooter. Plus aiming a gun involves a larger possibilty of human error--there are people who can put a horse down with one shot but it takes practice. Because it's slower, you must by necessity do smaller batches. The less of any product you process per hour, and the more labor involved to produce it, the more you have to charge for it. Mass-produced beef is cheap because the volume industrialized processing permits makes it more efficient and reduces labor costs. The more work you have to put into producing something, the more expensive it gets. Food producers ARE in business to make money. With horse you might be able to pull off a small-scale boutique slaughter operation if you had a close market for the meat simply because it's not a high local demand product, but the price would be high, and it would also not be able to process hundreds and hundreds of animals which makes using it as a disposal method for ex-racehorses somewhat moot..

I am a food producer as in raising commercial livestock. Are you? I am personally familiar with the process as in seen it from beginning to end. Are you?
I am not trying to be rude, but you are dismissing some of my ideas and I am not sure by your arguments that you are really personally equated with the subject. Am I wrong?
I wasn't kidding about having your own meat done the way I described and it being cheaper then buying in a store. So obviously there is room for profit on this. This is true for other livestock such as sheep, chickens, swine, buffalo, elk etc. Have you ever bought an animal and had it processed to know those costs? And there is a market for TB meat somewhere, for the simple fact that people are spending money shipping them to another country to be processed.
I can not argue that a plant can process meat cheaper per pound. What I am saying (and not the first time) is that a) there is enough profit that even with a slightly higher cost of processing per pound there is still room for profit. b) you must subtract the cost of shipping and handling (by independent companies also making a profit).

The guy doing the slaughter is very good at this, and 99.9% of the time will be quicker than a needle. Needles don't go smoothly 100% of the time either, as I am sure many people have had that experience. And re-loading is an issue? Ever shot a gun? Once again, many people make their living off of processing meat like this now. Do you have any personal experience with someone in this market?
Just an idea, but that was what is post is about. Setting up a system of slaughter seems counterintuitive to helping these animals, but really it is just euthanasia that is economically sustainable. Landfills cost money and are not the best strategy, so think of it as recycling. There is a viable product there
I wish there was a better solution then killing them, like many of the discussions of reduced breeding - which is my personal favorite. But Tb’s are not the only type being bred in excess. So until people change their ideas about breeding, we need a solution, that can be put in place quicker so as to save thousands of horses from a horrible end.
Do you have too many jobs in your area now that people are not looking for work or new business ideas?

NMK
Aug. 26, 2009, 02:35 PM
Are we any farther along than we were from the 08 Congressional hearings? Read Squires' new book. It's a doozy. Even if we were to come up with a plan, there are too many fractured interests with no governing body with any teeth to speak of (or bite with) in order to implement it. However, that is not going to keep us from trying to formulate some sort of solution. We have to--many of us are very, very tired. The fact that (with one exception) this thread has not gone down in flames is very indicative of its importance.

Terri, I applaud that trainer for his realistic approach to his horse's welfare. We need more of him. He's a horseman of the highest order in my book.

Barnfairy--amen to the perpetuation statement. And we're also tired of the paltry plans designed mostly to make the fractured interest look like they give a damn. It's not working, not on any level.

Nancy

texang73
Aug. 26, 2009, 03:27 PM
Caffeinated:

First - I'm sorry for what you had to do last week, and I thank you for doing it. Everything in your post -- right on!! There will always be those like byt, let them stew.

Thank you for wht you do, and you know what? I bet 75% of the horses placed are because of CANTER, ReRun Mid Atlantic, Exceller, etc.
Back in the 70's, yeah if you worked at the track, or knew someone, there was always giveaways, but other than that, none of the exposure these horses get now.


NMK- no, I galloped at Hialeah, Calder and Gulfstream on and off 70's and 80's, plus worked on some farms. thanks for the encouragement! We can do this! There will always be the naysayers, but then-- there's us.

Some very thoughtful and thought provoking ideas in both posts. Thanks. :)

ivy62
Aug. 26, 2009, 03:38 PM
What would it take to have a governing body for ALL racehorses?and what would the scope of practice be? Any ideas? Responsibility is what is missing in my book, I too, have always loved the Tb and racing but as I have gotten older and been more educated to what happens to these wonderful animals who run their hearts out for us; I get crazed...Not only look at Old Friends but how about Our Mims..What happens to the old broodmare who cannot produce anymore? It makes me sick. Like I said before, I do not have the answer but if someone came up with an idea that we thought would work I would certainly donate my time!
I LOVE my OTTB and would love to have another but I cannot...
Sorry for the rant....

sassybride
Aug. 26, 2009, 05:51 PM
I've been reading your posts with much interest, since I believe that the issue of humane slaughter for racehorses is very urgent. As a teenager I worked at Hollywood Park - I was a groom for 13 low-level horses, trained by a very kind, level-headed, trainer. We had two mares that were somewhat promising - Debaranda and Sassy Bride - but the rest was too slow to earn a good living. I remember asking what would happen to them, and my trainer shrugged and told me about the "Wednesday Auctions" where all non-winning horses ended up. I started doing research about this and have been doing it ever since, dismayed at the cracks that most horses fall through, so quickly.

The mare I loved most, Sassy Bride, ended up as a broodmare for eight years or so, but then I lost track of her.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. What I want to say here is that the slaughter industry will never go away as long as there is supply and demand. Both won't cease to exist, even if a much overdue detailed documentary about the drug-infested quality of horsemeat were to be published in horse-meat eating countries. The connection between the animal and the product is too far-fetched. The consumers of horse-meat won't care about the problems in the countries that send horses to slaughter.

On our end, euthanasia remains too expensive (I'm all for it, having put down my best friend at age 25 and seen how humane it can be), and securing retirement funds from each thoroughbred registration is unlikely, since it requires a huge amount of administrative logistics from the Jockey Club, which also, in turn, needs funding.

SO: this makes me think that the only really effective improvement to this situation is the reform of slaughter houses. Temple Grandin has done incredible work in this regard, against the greatest odds (money) and the greatest critics (the cattle industry). Making small changes in the set-up and operation of slaughter houses can have a huge effect. She justified these changes by elucidating how the quality of meat would be improved. She didn't talk about animal rights and was thereby not dismissed from the discussion, which is money-driven and will always remain so.

From what I have found out about the slaughter houses, the most urgent issue is that the kill box isn't designed for horses but for cattle, and that horses are prodded into it, not led by the head. If they were led in and their heads held in place, the killing by electric bolt would be swift and humane. The recent Canadian horror stories of horses slaughtered without prior killing is due to the difficulty of keeping a horse's head in place in the kill box that isn't designed for a horse.

Changes in equipment would be inexpensive and lasting, compared to the costs of retiring thousands of race horses each year.

I look forward to your responses - thanks.

sassybride
Aug. 26, 2009, 05:52 PM
P.S.: here is a link to the Canadian story I mentioned:

http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/special_feature/no_country_for_horses/no_country_for_horses.html

chaltagor
Aug. 26, 2009, 07:44 PM
It's a shame there can't be an on-site shelter for the horses accessible to the public in the front, run like a county animal shelter. The horses would have a chance to be adopted and if there was no interest then they would get a humane ending with the knowledge that the horse had exposure to the public.

vineyridge
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:10 AM
Racing would never want its broken horses out in public view, even for adoption.

What would $5 per start from the owners/trainers and 1/4 % of the total betting pools bring in for retirement? Surely the states could forego some of their cut, and so could the purses.

Vitriolic
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:08 PM
Racing would never want its broken horses out in public view, even for adoption.

What would $5 per start from the owners/trainers and 1/4 % of the total betting pools bring in for retirement? Surely the states could forego some of their cut, and so could the purses.

They look better fresh off the track than after someone wanting a freebee tosses them in a field for a year without adequate food or care.
LongRun in Canada does a great job advertising and fostering horses. Unfortunately, they can only do so many.

darsa50
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:43 PM
I'm a little late to the discussion, but just rec'd my OK to post. As far as euthanasia goes I think it definitely has a place in the management of so many unwanted and unsound horses. Personally, I have in the past donated unsound horses to vet schools where they were euthanized and I like to think provided some clues to improved veterinary care for other horses. I have now been dealing with a horse for 7 years that has been unsound off and on that entire time and am at my wit's end. She's now 9. She will be treated with Tildren next month which as a friend of mine noted: at least you have a rabbit to pull out of your hat. This is the last rabbit in the hat for this horse.
In this economy I can only afford one horse. If this medication doesn't help her and make her the sound horse that I can do more with I am seriously considering putting her down. She's had 9 great, spoiled years and I would prefer to see her euthanized rather than sold off to be neglected or abused, or slaughtered. Tough choices.

Blueshadow
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:07 PM
It's not clear to me that the cost of euthanasia by lethal injection for a very broken horse at a racetrack is so high for its owner(s), relative to the monthly vet bills that many if not most have paid to keep that horse running.

Maybe the cost of xrays and ultrasound to actually diagnose the phsyical injuries of the horse and provide a prognosis is sufficient disincentive.

Low cost euthanasia is just as much an enabler for irresponsible horse ownership and stewardship as is slaughter.

Barnfairy
Aug. 27, 2009, 03:11 PM
Low cost euthanasia is just as much an enabler for irresponsible horse ownership and stewardship as is slaughter.I very much see your point there, but the status quo isn't working either. Low cost euthanasia could provide relief where none exists right now (and I direct that comment towards the unwanted horse problem on the whole, not just limited to racing.)

re: TRF

Getting back to FairWeather's question... a farm I've been retraining some retired racehorses for just got one of their horses into Kentucky. They told me it was very hard getting him in, and that they are required to pay TRF monthly to contribute towards his care.

darsa50
Aug. 27, 2009, 03:15 PM
Very few - if any individuals - will or can afford to keep a very broken horse. So, what's the answer if euthanasia is an easy out, as you suggest, for irresponsible horse ownership? Is it better to put those horses down, rather than flood horse rescue organizations with horses they won't be able to save or rehome, while leaving sound horses behind or left to be sold to slaughter? It's a very difficult situation with no easy answers.

Faircourt
Aug. 27, 2009, 03:17 PM
Racing is a business. End of story. The business is not going to change. Euthanasia and yes, horse slaughter is a part of that business. Rehoming broken horses is probably a short term solution as at some point most of those horses will wind up back in the system. I think rather than fighting horse slaughter which very sadly at this point is a necessary evil, we need to fight to make it a much more humane process than it has been over the years. We owe that to the racehorses but I don't think it is financially possible to absorb the cost to euthanize the abundence of animals who get beaten down at the track and just don't have a future...it is hard enough to find homes for the sound ones. Perhaps that sounds callous but I think it is a realistic part of an industry.

I also think that those involved in the rescue of horses need to be very careful in deciding what the future of those re-homed horses may be. I know that some of the mares are saved to become broodmares but often wonder about that train of thought - it is really the only form of rescue where the animals are not altered to prevent more over-population problems. Given the amount of family pets that are put down each year, I don't think the horse slaughter phenomenon is really that much of a phenomenom. We keep breeding sub-par animals, we keep breeding animals that have a "job" that lasts four years for most, tops.....I really don't see any answer for that type of overpopulation other than euthanasia and slaughter as sad as that is. I think those in the rescue business are doing a thankless job, like the old saying of saving the one starfish makes a difference to that starfish - and need to be sure that their actions are above those of us not in rescue by not creating more of a burden on an already streatched population of animals.

chaltagor
Aug. 27, 2009, 08:48 PM
Racing would never want its broken horses out in public view, even for adoption.

Are you saying the CANTER sites aren't in public view? The track itself isn't in public view? What's the difference? Are all the horses available from CANTER broken?

chaltagor
Aug. 27, 2009, 09:00 PM
Low cost euthanasia is just as much an enabler for irresponsible horse ownership and stewardship as is slaughter.

Americans' taxes are paying for the euthanasia of thousands of cats and dogs every year, don't forget. Most of the people posting here are already contributing to cover the cost of irresponsible pet ownership. Many people (and zoning boards) consider horses as pets.

Blueshadow
Aug. 28, 2009, 06:55 PM
Sometimes I think you have to go with "the big picture". What policy/action improves incentives for more responsible breeding and ownership?

I think providing low cost euthanasia for racing owners does NOT improve incentives for responsible breeding and ownership - it distorts them in precisely the wrong direction.

Disagreeing also that the racing industry doesn't want its broken horses on view - or at least, not enough to prevent that. CANTER listings, and numerous thoroughbred adoption and retirement centers, are full of broken racehorses that are donated or listed by their connections.

What it may not want is a higher on-track/recordable euthanasia rate.

On another note, the CHRB/UC-Davis necropsy report just out in CA is one of the most transparent and informative reports of training and racing deaths I've ever seen. Not saying that the record keeping is perfectly reflective of the actual death rate - but they are actually discussing (gasp) pre-existing injuries as the key correlate with racing and training deaths. Rick Arthur has even gone public recently with statements about more aggressive training methods, and breeding for precocity, as possible sources of higher racehorse injury rates. It is all relatively impressive.

Frog
Aug. 28, 2009, 08:52 PM
Humane and fits into a business model? How about slaughter without traveling out of the country?

DressageFancy
Aug. 31, 2009, 01:44 AM
I don't have any solution to this problem. I did read a very informative article on the closing of U.S. equine slaughter plants. Go to www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-slaughter and then to the article "A study of equine slaughter/abuse patterns following closure of horse slaughter plants in the U.S." I also read that the EU buyers are in the process of passing inspection standards requireing horse meat sold for human consumption to be free of drugs (similar to standards required of cattle) and that will effectively end the horse slaughter market as feedloting of horses for the time period necessary to ensure "clean" meat will be cost prohibitive.
The other thing I find upsetting is the local humane societies "rescueing" equines that are in need of very expensive care to "save" them. Often these horses will be saved to only be pasture pets that they (the humane soc.) then cannot find homes for. I truely believe that the more responsible finiancial route in these cases would be to put these animals down upon seizure.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 31, 2009, 02:01 AM
I am not involved in the racing industry. My interest? I have an OTTB that came off the Fairmount track in southern Illinois - the first time I visited that track last summer, my heart sank - I grew up going to "Breakfast at Belmont" as a kid. This is not a track that makes much money for anyone - not surprising considering the population it serves (largely rural, lower income). Few of the horses racing at Fairmount win big.

Since owning my horse, I have become more educated - just as I knew about dogs and cats and shelters, now I realize the same situation exists for horses. However, it is far less expensive and far easier to adopt a dog or cat than a horse.

I think what CANTER does is fabulous. To try and offer an option to trainers who no longer wish to keep a horse - the horse wins, the trainer wins, the new owner wins. My boy did relatively poorly on the track - lifetime earnings of about $5000 in 26 or so starts. Pretty boy - but a lot of attitude. But to me? I've owned him for over 11 years. In clueless hands (mine), he became a regional and GMO dressage champion at Intro, Training and First. I've taken him to shows, to clinics, on trails. And he is as valuable to me as he must have been worthless to his trainer on the track.

I think it is critical that trainers realize that while they may not recoup their financial investment, that there is still a market. I also think it is critical to have this discussion about euthanasia as well, since not every horse is a candidate for rehoming.

And when it comes time for my next horse, since there is no longer a CANTER SoIL - I will be contacting those I know from here (Fairmount may well be closed, their season was shortened this year). And that includes CANTER. I think they are an incredible resource and perform a wonderful and humane service.

In my dealings with diverse rescue groups as a co-founder of Special Horses Inc (which includes some of the CANTER chapters, for the Secret Santa for Horse Rescues) I can assure you that the legitimate organizations are not a tax dodge. (And in keeping with the 501(c)3 spirit, Special Horses Inc has also started out in the red...it's generally those running the organizations who donate their funds as well as their time!!) I also realize that euthanasia costs - for the veterinary service, for the removal (or the backhoe). It is a legitimate option but one that needs to be financed.

I think if there could be (even a loosely united) convergence of interested groups - CANTER, ReRun, Exceller, TRF, OFF, United Pegasus, etc etc to speak as one voice to trainers, tracks, breeders to discuss these ideas and develop programs...the benefit to all would be incalculable.

Brandy76
Sep. 1, 2009, 12:26 PM
You are amazing! I agree on all your points. I have been going to the tracks since 1973 to get my horses - not lots - but it is the only place that I will look for a horse.

Banding together can give us more power and visibility.

smilton
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:00 PM
I just brought two home this weekend and I have 6 more to pick up this month.
One was NASTY at the track. Bit people, ran off with riders, required a chain to lead anywhere - He has been a dream since coming off the trailer. He is on stall rest for a couple weeks and I couldn't ask for a better behaved boy.
The other is depressed since coming home and misses all the attention he received at the track. I'm having to hand walk, hand feed, and groom him multiple times a day just to perk him up.
I grew up going to Keeneland every year and breakfast at the track. Belulah, Thistle, River and Mountaineer are a good bit different but several of the horses I have brought home started their careers at Keeneland, Churchhill and Belmont.

FatDinah
Sep. 1, 2009, 01:37 PM
There are moments when I think I will have to give up being a racing fan because of injuries and deaths on the track or the horrifying stories of abandoned horses.
But I have to say, at least racing folks and thoroughbred folks are TALKING about the problem and making small efforts through groups like CANTER and TRF, etc., to address it. That is far, far better than other breeds and, most horrible, the PMU and nurse mare industries.
We have an overpopulation of horses, that is the bottom line. And everyone that contributes to that by breeding, whether it is Sheik Mo or backyard breeders or thoroughbred or warmbloods or quarterhorses or Arabians or mutts, needs to face their responsibility and most need to stop breeding.
I, too, am horrified when I see some hapless thoroughbred mare offered up as a broodmare to get her a home.

SleepyFox
Sep. 1, 2009, 03:43 PM
I agree with this. In this age of simulcasting there is no need for so many regional tracks. Maybe limit it to one major track in each region. That would eventually lead to a reduction in the number of horses bred, and (hopefully) to an increase in the quality of horses bred. (Sorry, small time breeders and trainers!)

I find this statement quite offensive. By that logic, we should then ban everything but A-rated shows, too. Everyone knows there is a glut of stock breed horses out there. Let's get rid of every show but a couple of the really big ones like Congress and the Dixie Nationals - that will limit the number of horses bred, right? What about all the grade stock being bred in backyards? Let's put an end to trail riding and fun shows - that will give those breeders something to think about, too. How f***ing elitist can you be???


There is a lot of talk here about increasing the quality and decreasing the quantity of Thoroughbreds produced. The talk of quality illustrates a gross misunderstanding of racing and race breeding. And is a good example of why people in the industry get tired of listening to the pretty pony petters.

The talk of quantity also has some problems with its basic logic. The majority of horses in need of homes are horses that are not suitable for racing because they have either become injured or they have proven themselves to lack any real talent - they are no longer suitable for racing. It is not the case that there are hordes of perfectly suitable horses out there waiting for an opportunity but no one has room for them because there is such a glut. Rather, in fact, fields are short at a lot of tracks - a sign that there is a shortage of suitable horses. Even if production were cut in half, there would still be the problem of horses that become injured or lack the talent to earn their keep. And, because racing is a business (which, evidently, is the heart of the problem for most of the pretty pony petters), even if stock is scarce, people aren't going to invest more to keep a horse in training that they can possibly hope to recoup.

To answer the OP's question: I'm all for euthanasia, but as someone else pointed out, I have no doubt it wouldn't take long before certain groups jumped on us like they have dog racing. But, really, shouldn't these questions have been answered before slaughter was banned?

Jessi P
Sep. 1, 2009, 04:09 PM
There is a lot of talk here about increasing the quality and decreasing the quantity of Thoroughbreds produced. The talk of quality illustrates a gross misunderstanding of racing and race breeding. And is a good example of why people in the industry get tired of listening to the pretty pony petters.

The talk of quantity also has some problems with its basic logic. The majority of horses in need of homes are horses that are not suitable for racing because they have either become injured or they have proven themselves to lack any real talent - they are no longer suitable for racing. It is not the case that there are hordes of perfectly suitable horses out there waiting for an opportunity but no one has room for them because there is such a glut. Rather, in fact, fields are short at a lot of tracks - a sign that there is a shortage of suitable horses. Even if production were cut in half, there would still be the problem of horses that become injured or lack the talent to earn their keep. And, because racing is a business (which, evidently, is the heart of the problem for most of the pretty pony petters), even if stock is scarce, people aren't going to invest more to keep a horse in training that they can possibly hope to recoup.

To answer the OP's question: I'm all for euthanasia, but as someone else pointed out, I have no doubt it wouldn't take long before certain groups jumped on us like they have dog racing. But, really, shouldn't these questions have been answered before slaughter was banned?

Excellent post!

Barnfairy
Sep. 1, 2009, 08:33 PM
Why does it always have to come down to "pretty pony petters" vs. "dirtbag race trainers"? Those damn broad brushes whitewash the world with ignorance.

Yes, racing is a business. It is entirely possible to be a responsible horse owner and concurrently run a solvent horse business.

kcmel
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:18 PM
I find this statement quite offensive. By that logic, we should then ban everything but A-rated shows, too.

Not at all the same. My point is that since the majority of handle comes from simulcasting, as an industry racing does not need so many tracks. That doesn't have any relationship to your analogy. I really don't know why you find this statement offensive.

Laurierace
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:31 PM
I imagine her point is sort of like saying we don't need so many auto workers which is all fine and dandy unless you happen to BE an auto worker. It sort of hits home when people are talking about doing away with a portion of your industry.

kcmel
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:42 PM
Well, of course that is true. We probably don't need so many universities either :lol:.

EqTrainer
Sep. 1, 2009, 10:46 PM
Wow, I am so impressed that this thread is still going, with so many great and constructive posts.

There are some interesting things brought up. One is that the EU is not going to continue to tolerate importing meat with unknown contaminants in it. Where is Gail Vacca to elaborate on this? So basically, slaughter as we know it is going to change. The idea, I think, at that time (2 years ago, maybe 3) was that horses were going to be ranched like cattle and sold to slaughter the same way, and that race horses were going to be taken out of that loop. And I have said this before - if anyone with global connections really wanted to put an end to the exportation of horse meat to the EU, all it would take is a public campaign of awareness. It would not be hard.

So if there is any truth to this, it would be wise to dismiss reforming slaughter (as it pertains to OTTB's, anyway). I think slaughter reform is the wrong way to go, anyway. It takes everyone off the hook and makes it too easy to just call the man and forget about it. These horses don't deserve that. It needs to be *easier* to call the man and have them euthanized, IMO, and the bill needs to have already been paid. If it's any harder than that it's not going to happen.

Of course the only way to do this is for the JC to charge a fee for each horse registered, which would potentially also cut down on breeding which is no small bonus - and to charge a entry fee and a cut of every purse. I have no idea how you would run it from there but IMO the JC owes it to the TB to figure this out. And really.. yes, there would be backlash like there was with greyhounds, but no one was slaughtering and eating greyhounds if they weren't fast enough. It's not hard to make a case for euthanasia over slaughter, even my kids at 6 and 9 understand it's kinder to euthanize a horse than slaughter it or let it suffer.

JMO.

SleepyFox
Sep. 1, 2009, 11:29 PM
Not at all the same. My point is that since the majority of handle comes from simulcasting, as an industry racing does not need so many tracks. That doesn't have any relationship to your analogy. I really don't know why you find this statement offensive.

Yeah, it is the same. If you want to limit the scope of one industry that you think fuels overproduction of horses, then it only makes logical sense that you should want to to limit the scope of all equine industries that lead to what you perceive as overproduction.

Handle, including simulcast revenue, goes to the individual tracks - which are individually owned and operated. It is not one industry-wide monopoly that owns the tracks. Tracks operate just like any other gambling operation - if they can obtain the proper licensing, they have a right to operate and the market can determine if they are successful. Anything short of that would be obstructing fair trade.

equineartworks
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:45 AM
Racing would never want its broken horses out in public view, even for adoption.

What would $5 per start from the owners/trainers and 1/4 % of the total betting pools bring in for retirement? Surely the states could forego some of their cut, and so could the purses.


Are you saying the CANTER sites aren't in public view? The track itself isn't in public view? What's the difference? Are all the horses available from CANTER broken?

I agree vineyridge. It is a don't ask, don't tell business and the racing industry has some serious pull on the media. It is a multi-billion dollar industry and American tradition.

chaltagor, the truth is this...unless you are an avid fan of horse racing or a horse lover visiting sites like this you don't know anything about the issues at hand or groups like CANTER. Take the Paragallo case for example, besides the trade papers and some regional coverage it was basically non-news outside the race world. One would *think* cruelty on that scale would be national news, but when it comes to racing...not so much. Gotta protect that image and keep those dollars coming in.

Pronzini
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:48 AM
Why does it always have to come down to "pretty pony petters" vs. "dirtbag race trainers"? Those damn broad brushes whitewash the world with ignorance.



But broadsides against the racing industry by people who obviously don't know much about the racing industry don't lead to greater understanding either. I feel the frustration expressed by Sleepy Fox and Jessi P.

What I don't understand is why the opinions of posters like Sleepy Fox who clearly are in the industry in a day to day way are dismissed so readily. She's telling you something--if you want to change the world, you don't do it effectively by imposing yourself on those you want to give tough medicine to. No one here is a horse czar and maybe the beginnings of a dialogue start with listening.

Drvmb1ggl3
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:57 AM
I agree vineyridge. It is a don't ask, don't tell business and the racing industry has some serious pull on the media. It is a multi-billion dollar industry and American tradition.
.

Yeah, the racing industry has such big pull with the media that it's biggest day of racing each year is banished to a cable channel and NTRA has to practically pay for it to be aired. The rest of the year is like three famous races on network TV.
You will not even see coverage of racing in newspapers or news sources outside of maybe those three or four select races, and then you're lucky if it's more than a 15 sec soundbite or a 1/2 inch of newsprint.
Yeah, pretty powerful alright.

equineartworks
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:17 AM
Yeah, the racing industry has such big pull with the media that it's biggest day of racing each year is banished to a cable channel and NTRA has to practically pay for it to be aired. The rest of the year is like three famous races on network TV.
You will not even see coverage of racing in newspapers or news sources outside of maybe those three or four select races, and then you're lucky if it's more than a 15 sec soundbite or a 1/2 inch of newsprint.
Yeah, pretty powerful alright.

you missed my point...the racing industry is selective as to who sees what, it is very much an "old boy" network. They like the private club they have created and want to keep it that way.

TouchstoneAcres
Sep. 2, 2009, 11:46 AM
Can't the Jockey Club start up a program & add on so much money to every foal that's going to be registered. Just increase the registration fee.... It would take a few years to get everything in order, but would eventually work out. To even the money up (covering all foals registered up till this date)they could take donations into a euthanasia fund now. Also -- it would be mandatory that the trainers NOT get reimbursed, but that the track pay for the euthanasia TO the vet & that the track get paid from the Jockey Club. Therefore tattoo could be checked by the vet. That would prevent all scam artists from getting money to put a horse down & then not doing it. Something along those lines....just thinking....

I register TB foals for riding not racing and don't want to be taxed unless all registries do the same for their breeds. Unwanted horses are not just TBs. There are many QHs, misc. crosses and yes even WBs in need of rescue/euthanasia. Racing should contribute perhaps. I like the % of winnings idea. However, if euthanasia were free, would it not encourage more low level horses being run into the ground? There would be no risk to claiming a cheap horse if you could get rid of it totally free.

Barnfairy
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:30 PM
But broadsides against the racing industry by people who obviously don't know much about the racing industry don't lead to greater understanding either. I feel the frustration expressed by Sleepy Fox and Jessi P.

What I don't understand is why the opinions of posters like Sleepy Fox who clearly are in the industry in a day to day way are dismissed so readily. She's telling you something--if you want to change the world, you don't do it effectively by imposing yourself on those you want to give tough medicine to. No one here is a horse czar and maybe the beginnings of a dialogue start with listening.I actually agree with you on this. My point was that both sides are making gross generalizations and getting nowhere fast.

Racing is in the limelight compared to other horse sports and as such, right or wrong, is going to be subjected to impositions from the public. The fact is there are unfortunately plenty within the racing industry who use up horses hard and throw them away like trash -- and I'm saying that as someone who loves racing, remains an active fan, and also as someone who has met many wonderful trainers and owners who do care and who have done well by their horses. I'm also saying it as someone who is actively trying to be part of the solution; I retrain exracers without being paid for it, I support CANTER and the TRF, I've fostered, and I've bought horses straight off the track.

Saying racing is a business is not an acceptable excuse for not having a plan in place for the unwanted horses the industry produces. The general public, upon whom racing still depends, is saying that slaughter is not a viable option. If you don't like what the outsiders are saying, you had better come up with a solution yourselves then or be prepared to watch more and more tracks go the way of greyhound racing in Massachusetts.

Iron Horse Farm
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:24 PM
I think some vets could do to be educated also--as many younger vets it seems do not want to put a "heathy" horse down unless you can convince them the horse is in severe chronic pain (not just unsound pasture ornaments). But who wants to have to argue with a vet or be required to let the vet "evaluate" whether a horse should be put down (i.e., pass judgement on your already painful decision).

I know they have a right to practice medicine that way, but I thought having to put animials down was a very real and unpleasant part of being a vet.

I have to respectfully disagree. Put yourself in our shoes. It is not the job of a vet to be your garbage disposal and rid you of your problems. Not everyone does research before deciding to euth. You must think quite highly of yourself that you need to "educate" veterinarians who have been schooled for at least 8 years in what you have not. Convienance euthanasias are one of the reasons that we are in this problem - the creation of a disposable society. Burnout is a very real part of this profession and instead of criticizing, you should be happy that your vet still cares enough about the animals that he treats to question wether this is necessary or if thei are other options. I have been in on countless euthanasias where the people simply did not know of a cure or another treatment (because they use BBs or the internet as their veterinarian) and had decided on euth without having all of the answers. Some of these we were able to treat and some of them not, but you really don't want an owner coming back to you a year later saying "why didn't you tell me that xx was treatable?".

All of that said, I do think that animals that are suffering should be put down humanely, and those are not the cases that haunt me when I sleep.

equineartworks
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:31 PM
I have to respectfully disagree. Put yourself in our shoes. It is not the job of a vet to be your garbage disposal and rid you of your problems. Not everyone does research before deciding to euth. You must think quite highly of yourself that you need to "educate" veterinarians who have been schooled for at least 8 years in what you have not. Convienance euthanasias are one of the reasons that we are in this problem - the creation of a disposable society.

^^^^^this...amen^^^^

Laurierace
Sep. 2, 2009, 01:52 PM
I register TB foals for riding not racing and don't want to be taxed unless all registries do the same for their breeds. Unwanted horses are not just TBs. There are many QHs, misc. crosses and yes even WBs in need of rescue/euthanasia. Racing should contribute perhaps. I like the % of winnings idea. However, if euthanasia were free, would it not encourage more low level horses being run into the ground? There would be no risk to claiming a cheap horse if you could get rid of it totally free.

So there is no way one of your TBs might ever be in need of a home under any circumstances? Not to mention the one's with the least amount of earnings tend to be the ones who are the most in need of a home.

Iron Horse Farm
Sep. 2, 2009, 02:23 PM
Several years ago I bought three mares off the track to be broodmares for a sporthorse breeding program. Mare #1 raced 44 times, had a good sporthorse pedigree and career limiting injuries (big ankles, pelvic fractures - healed and overall soreness and arthritis). She also had FABULOUS conformation. She was approved into the highest Oldenburg book and to date has produced several superior foals including an open jumper champion.
Mare #2 was lame on a giant knee but had good conformation and great hunter lines (directly back to The Axe). By the time we figured out that she was not going to throw superior foals (two years), she was sound on the knee. She now is a lovely lesson and low level show horse adored by her adult owner. Mare #3 is still here. She was lame on both front ankles and was in foal to a racing stallion when I found her (on a trip to look at something else). She was not for sale as she had good "racing lines" for breeding, but as with most horse owners, she had a price and I liked her enough to pay it. She was my hunter, but her true calling has been as a sporthorse broodmare, where she has excelled.

My point? Mares one and two would have been euthanized by most of the standards that we are discussing. Although I am anti backyard or fugly breeding, I am not put off by someone using some of these nice TB mares to produce future event horses etc.

Pronzini
Sep. 2, 2009, 05:27 PM
Saying racing is a business is not an acceptable excuse for not having a plan in place for the unwanted horses the industry produces. The general public, upon whom racing still depends, is saying that slaughter is not a viable option. If you don't like what the outsiders are saying, you had better come up with a solution yourselves then or be prepared to watch more and more tracks go the way of greyhound racing in Massachusetts.

I'm actually not convinced that the general public really cares about what moves us on COTH. Someone on this thread said that racing is suffering because of PR problems. I think that's wishful thinking. You know what one of the most popular meets is in the country? Del (How many have died today) Mar. The track with day to day death watch being played out in the LA Times and the San Diego papers.

A horse can breakdown today and 25-30,000 people can show up tomorrow. When's the last time Belmont had that kind of attendance outside of the Belmont S?

I keep thinking breakdowns will be the end of Del Mar but people keep flocking there. I'm beginning to think that the "public" outside narrow focus forums like this one really doesn't care overly much. I know the people that I work with it's not a hot button on their radar.

YoTambien
Sep. 2, 2009, 06:27 PM
Bottom line is still this - A number of Thoroughbred racehorses die each week whether it is due to breakdown on the racetrack or being dispatched at a slaugherhouse.

While we can debate all day long how preventable those deaths are from breakdown, the deaths at the slaughterhouse ARE entirely preventable except for one huge obsticle: The funding does not exist to keep them out of the slaughter pipeline.

And yes, one can argue that there are plenty of other horses fueling that slaughter pipeline so it's not fair to single out racing, but I got drawn into the sport because of the beauty, majesty and spirit of the Thoroughbred. I simply cannot reconcile the appreciation of the Thoroughbred with the rather casual "oh well - they all gotta die sometime" attitude that seems to make it okay for these horses to disappear down that slaughter pipeline.

So at the end of the day, do we simply give in to the inertia that bogs down this entire sport and give up trying to make a difference to at least some of these horses? Do we just stop caring what happens to the horse we cheered to victory a couple of years ago?

Laurierace
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:43 PM
Not sure who you are directing your questions to but I feel as if I do make a difference. Now if only we could get everyone on board the job would be a lot more manageable.
PS Its about time for the mods to go home. Wonder if we are going to get the nightly troll invasion?

YoTambien
Sep. 3, 2009, 02:28 AM
Not sure who you are directing your questions to but I feel as if I do make a difference. Now if only we could get everyone on board the job would be a lot more manageable.
PS Its about time for the mods to go home. Wonder if we are going to get the nightly troll invasion?

I was directing my questions at some of the circular trends in this thread that seem to shoot down any ideas about changing the status quo - resident troll notwithstanding.

I think the biggest issue when it comes to having a euthanasia program is that few people want to be directly responsible for taking the life of a horse that "could" have become, perhaps, somewhat sound enough to be in a pasture someday and perhaps the perfect forever home would have been found for him.

If instead the horse "goes away", there is perhaps a small possibility that someone bought him and gave him that perfect forever home. And if the horse went instead to slaughter, well - it was someone else that ended his life.

It's like the Equine Pontius Pilot Syndrome.

That, or this whole post could be result of brain damage from banging my head against a brick wall for way too long. Funny thing is, after donating close to $50,000 for rescue, rehab and adoption efforts over the last few years, I still do not have a horse of my own!

Come to think of it (okay - I'm rambling now...), anyone know of a good stable where I could keep a calm Thoroughbred gelding who must be kept on dry footing (he has laminitis and pedal osteitis in his left front but he's doing much better) that is not too far from the San Fernando Valley? He can't be kept in a stall because of the moisture. The vet advised he should be kept on dry sandy soil to minimize the progress of the pedal osteitis. I honestly couldn't tell you if the P.O. is due to the laminitis or the white line disease that also raged in that foot when he first came off the track.

Yes - this would be my chance to "grab" one the "better" horses for myself! Wu-hoo!!! He is an Exceller Fund horse and most recently was on a trial adoption for a few months to a family whose little girl was just learning how to ride. He was perfect for her (he's calm and takes a western saddle with no problem), but now she's progressed in riding skills beyond what he can do and he's back with The Exceller Fund. **sigh**

Currently he's located too far away for me to see him very often. Oh - who am I kidding? I would be a first time horse owner, and I would need a full service stable since I wouldn't be able to take care of him on a regular basis (crazy work schedule that involves out of town travel) and then I would feel guilty for not going to see him and as it is I barely find time to walk my dog. Oh yeah - I would need to make sure I would have access to a good farrier that will work with that hoof.

But here's a photo of this handsome dude - He's a 7 year old son of Mr. Greeley. http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y123/Exceller/Exceller%20Fund%20Updates/GiffordsKid-2008-07-c.jpg


Gets up to put the Bailey's and rum away before this post gets too-o-o long. The Pity Party is now over. Thank you all for coming and have a nice evening.

Barnfairy
Sep. 3, 2009, 09:34 AM
But here's a photo of this handsome dude - He's a 7 year old son of Mr. Greeley. http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y123/Exceller/Exceller%20Fund%20Updates/GiffordsKid-2008-07-c.jpg


Gets up to put the Bailey's and rum away before this post gets too-o-o long. The Pity Party is now over. Thank you all for coming and have a nice evening.Damn, I missed the Baileys? Shoot.

Aww, he is a hunk Yo. Love him all westerned out too. Looks like it suits him.

I had a TB who was diagnosed with P.O.; he responded very well to wedge pads & aluminum eggbars...in time we were able to go to just the eggbars minus pads. I have run-out stalls here so lots of turnout, but mud is unavoidable for us at times. It was actually hard ground that aggravated the condition, though, on his blasted pancake TB feet.

Back to the issue at hand:

When the topic has come up elsewhere, I've been quick to point out that TBs are not the only horses to be found in the kill pens. That said, however, it would be wrong to say that the thoroughbred racing industry bears no responsibility for solving the unwanted horse problem because the quarter horse industry is even worse. That would be like saying baseball shouldn't have to clean up its act because doping has been going on in cycling for years. At least in those sports, the athletes make their own choices.

The issue of regulating drugs --not just banned substances, but the therapeutic ones that keep horses going which maybe would otherwise be rested or retired before their injuries become so debilitating-- is relevant because while low-cost euthanasia may bring some immediate relief to the question of "what do we do with them all", a true solution can only come from looking so much deeper than that.


I'm actually not convinced that the general public really cares about what moves us on COTH....I'm beginning to think that the "public" outside narrow focus forums like this one really doesn't care overly much. I know the people that I work with it's not a hot button on their radar.What? There's life outside of COTH?! Noooo. You jest.

The voting public still outnumbers the wagering public, at least in these parts anyway. One wouldn't think dog tracks are on the forefront of most people's minds either...and yet when presented with the question on the ballot, the voters of MA voted to ban greyhound racing. Maybe it's because I work with an awful lot of dog and horse people, but my experience differs than yours. Get them started on the topic of horse racing, and you'll find that it does, indeed, have a PR problem.

danceronice
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:38 PM
The voting public still outnumbers the wagering public, at least in these parts anyway. One wouldn't think dog tracks are on the forefront of most people's minds either...and yet when presented with the question on the ballot, the voters of MA voted to ban greyhound racing. Maybe it's because I work with an awful lot of dog and horse people, but my experience differs than yours. Get them started on the topic of horse racing, and you'll find that it does, indeed, have a PR problem.

No joke. This is largely because the majority of voters are in eastern MA, which means Boston and the 'burbs, where the average voter can't tell one end of a horse from another, doesn't know what real farmland looks like, and who voted, I shee-it you not, because OMG THE POOR DOGGIES THEY'RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEE AND IT'S SOOOO CRUEL. What they think is going to happen with the dogs of trainers who can't afford to ship out to another state or who just don't want the hassle I don't know, but for all they like to call themselves intellectuals the average Boston voter isn't very smart. After the election I asked a few people how they liked putting people out of work and killing dogs?

Believe me, the typical bleeding-heart will indeed vote to get rid of horse racing, not because it's on their radar or they know the end that eats from the end that poops, but because they believe whatever animal-rights extremists tell them about it and it makes them feel good. Your average city folk do indeed think that if you ban racing (or polo, or rodeos, or whatever) then the cute fuzzy animals will all get sent to live out on a nice farm somewhere, just like their parents told them the dog that chewed the furniture did. Get a ban on racing like Mass's ban on dog racing and I HOPE that most trainers who can't sell to private owners opt to ship for slaughter and that the voters get a video of it, with an explanation on how it is, in fact, their fault.

(Yeah, rant. I just escaped from the People's Republic of Taxachusetts and believe me, you couldn't pay me enough to move back. At least not any farther east than Pittsfield, and there I'd need to make about 500k a year to make it worthwhile. Yes, the voters there really are that dumb. And I doubt that most big cities, especially in the northeast, are any different.)

EqTrainer
Sep. 3, 2009, 01:43 PM
It's not as if creating a built-in euthanasia option for all registered TB's means that it would HAVE to be used if the horse was no longer able to race or never did. It would just mean that it would be a do-able option, and as easy for a race trainer to use as sending them to the dealer. And it would give the legitimate rescues a free euthanasia ticket for those who, after they've sorted thru them, were not going to be retrainable or rehomeable.

Obviously that's not all there is to it, but it is part of the public eye issue.

Frog
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:07 AM
What you're forgetting is that the horse "we cheered to victory a couple years ago" is someone else's horse. Someone else's property. Someone else's livestock. And if you want him, you're more than welcome to approach his owner at any point during or after his career and offer whatever sum of money for his purchase.
"The funding" that does not exist is the lack of people that want to buy retired/finished racehorses. If they were desirable, "the funding" would come from buyers that wanted these horses.
I'm sorry that you don't like the fact that money (not attitude, as you stated) makes a difference on decisions to keep or sell livestock. If you want them, go buy them.
Death is not the worst thing that can happen to livestock, and I don't understand why using drugs to kill him is any better, particularly when it makes the carcass completely useless.





Bottom line is still this - A number of Thoroughbred racehorses die each week whether it is due to breakdown on the racetrack or being dispatched at a slaugherhouse.

While we can debate all day long how preventable those deaths are from breakdown, the deaths at the slaughterhouse ARE entirely preventable except for one huge obsticle: The funding does not exist to keep them out of the slaughter pipeline.

And yes, one can argue that there are plenty of other horses fueling that slaughter pipeline so it's not fair to single out racing, but I got drawn into the sport because of the beauty, majesty and spirit of the Thoroughbred. I simply cannot reconcile the appreciation of the Thoroughbred with the rather casual "oh well - they all gotta die sometime" attitude that seems to make it okay for these horses to disappear down that slaughter pipeline.

So at the end of the day, do we simply give in to the inertia that bogs down this entire sport and give up trying to make a difference to at least some of these horses? Do we just stop caring what happens to the horse we cheered to victory a couple of years ago?

EqTrainer
Sep. 4, 2009, 09:13 AM
Death is not the worst thing that can happen to livestock, and I don't understand why using drugs to kill him is any better, particularly when it makes the carcass completely useless.

I think everyone here agrees that death is not the worst thing.. death is not even a bad thing. It's just something that happens, sooner or later, and can be a choice in the horses best interest.

Using drugs to kill them.. versus them being slaughtered? Is better because they don't suffer being in a feed lot, they don't suffer being transported and they don't suffer being killed using a methodology that was developed for cattle. Watch a video of a horse being slaughtered and watch one of a euthanasia... heck, even a gunshot done well is "better" than being slaughtered.

As far as euthanasia rendering the carcass completely useless, the drugs that are used in OTTBs *should* be rendering their carcasses totally unfit for human consumption but for some reason the EU has not laid down the law about that - yet. When they do, the demand for horse meat for the plate will go down, down, down IMO.

equineartworks
Sep. 4, 2009, 10:07 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the general public really cares about what moves us on COTH. Someone on this thread said that racing is suffering because of PR problems. I think that's wishful thinking. You know what one of the most popular meets is in the country? Del (How many have died today) Mar. The track with day to day death watch being played out in the LA Times and the San Diego papers.




So true! And the only reason the papers cover it is because of the money being spent there. DelMar leaves a bad taste in my mouth because of some serious "rescue" hypocrisy I know of going on there. :mad:

The truth is, the public doesn't care what we think here...not at all. In fact, if it did we wouldn't be here discussing it. There would be laws, there would be action. Like I stated above with the Paragallo case, all those horses seized were not news worthy and that was shock and awe to the highest.

We see what racing wants us to see. Period. Remember the HBO documentary AC4H was featured in? Guess why there aren't more of them...ugly, truthful stories mean a quick death to an American Tradition. I know there are responsible trainers, owners etc, and I commend them for their dedication. But the issues are bigger than that.

If we want to see changes come about we need to address the media ourselves and stop debating on BB's. I blog about it often and on my featured community blog in our local paper. If I didn't no one would know about the dirty little secrets. We have the always infamous Unadilla auction in our area and you all would drop when I tell people that the horses that go through there go to slaughter.

I bet most everyone here has the ability to take their feelings to the media just like I do. Post those news stories, write letters to the editor. Offer to write features for your news outlets. BLOG! Bring it out in the open and then you will see change. :)

YoTambien
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:05 PM
What you're forgetting is that the horse "we cheered to victory a couple years ago" is someone else's horse. Someone else's property. Someone else's livestock. And if you want him, you're more than welcome to approach his owner at any point during or after his career and offer whatever sum of money for his purchase.
"The funding" that does not exist is the lack of people that want to buy retired/finished racehorses. If they were desirable, "the funding" would come from buyers that wanted these horses.
I'm sorry that you don't like the fact that money (not attitude, as you stated) makes a difference on decisions to keep or sell livestock. If you want them, go buy them.
Death is not the worst thing that can happen to livestock, and I don't understand why using drugs to kill him is any better, particularly when it makes the carcass completely useless.

Which is precisely why I have lost my enthusiasm for racing. So the person who wants to exert his or her rights to do with their livestock whatever the heck they want to should not wonder why the sport they are in is struggling more and more each year to keep going.

As far as there being less racetracks, etc., it's not the wishes of the "pretty pony club" that will make that happen, it's the economic reality that many tracks are no longer viable.

MintHillFarm
Sep. 4, 2009, 02:36 PM
[QUOTE=Barnfairy;4328190]Euthanasia is the norm in Puerto Rico (http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080516/NEWS11/80516002/-1/rss01), even for those race horses whose only injury is a chronic case of the slows, because there is absolutely no question that there are not enough resources to provide healthy retirements for them all.


It is my understanding that in PR after the race season is over, a majority of the horses at the track are put down...

lolalola
Sep. 5, 2009, 11:58 PM
I have to disagree that the Paragallo case was not newsworthy and/or covered. The New York Times ran a major article on it and has provided regular updates. I believe it was featured on World News Tonight - it was featured on at least one evening broadcast, and that is the show I'm most likely to watch. I've seen AP reports on it in my local paper.

Barnfairy
Sep. 6, 2009, 12:32 AM
The truth is, the public doesn't care what we think here...not at all. In fact, if it did we wouldn't be here discussing it.Take a look at the comments in response to this article in the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/horse_racing/articles/2009/04/29/for_horses_safety_he_thinks_outside_the_hocks/?comments=all). I have found that, when prompted, a lot more people than you might think, at least in the New England area, do care about some of the same issues we have discussed here.

Whether or not they take action on their beliefs may be a different story.


As far as there being less racetracks, etc., it's not the wishes of the "pretty pony club" that will make that happen, it's the economic reality that many tracks are no longer viable.True that.

equineartworks
Sep. 6, 2009, 09:06 AM
Take a look at the comments in response to this article in the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/horse_racing/articles/2009/04/29/for_horses_safety_he_thinks_outside_the_hocks/?comments=all). I have found that, when prompted, a lot more people than you might think, at least in the New England area, do care about some of the same issues we have discussed here.

Whether or not they take action on their beliefs may be a different story.

True that.

The last part of your statement seems to be the problem though...everyone gasps and then goes back to watching reality TV and forgets all about it.

But this is the case in most everything, people only get as involved as their arm chair allows them too. It is more fun to debate it and pretend a difference is being made than to go out there and actually make it.

evans36
Sep. 6, 2009, 10:37 AM
So, I read this entire thread before posting - because my real interest here is just that I have owned 2 OTTBs and I love them. But over the past 12 pages I've been impressed with the debate and have a couple of humble suggestions for thought...

It seems like the issue of performance enhancing drugs might be the first thing that should be tackled. This would (1) increase the likelihood of a horse's coming off the track without being totally broken down, and (2) make humane slaughter an economically viable option because horse meat was legally edible and the meat quality is not as good if the horses are slaughtered inhumanely. It would also not kill racing as an industry - it still survives overseas with stringent medicinal regulations. Plus, there is already concern in the industry about this, so the PR is already out there and the cause has already begun. This seems to be the low-hanging fruit that will be the first step to at least getting horses off the track while they're still usable for another career.

The thing that really concerns me about all the talk of creating this retirement fund with various monies is that it's sounding a lot like social security, and we all know what a clusterf*** that has turned out to be. While the ideas I (as an admitted outsider) believe make the most sense are to raise registration fees on new foals and to take a cut of the purse (the PR there is easiest - x% to owner, x% to trainer, x% to jockey, x% to horse, something for everyone on the team), I really worry about the administration there, especially after hearing (even vaguely) about the problems in Cali.

I think it's a really great idea and certainly should happen in some form - but what would the admin look like? Would it go into a fund that would give grants to orgs like CANTER? Would it create one centralized national rescue with animal-like shelter locations at tracks? Not sure about that one.

To the poster who breeds registered TBs to ride but not race, but doesn't want to pay the extra fees: These horses don't NEED to be registered for anything but racing. Competition horses don't need papers. If it's worth it to you, you'll pay the price, and if the price is too high, you won't. But you can't let that argument hold back something that will help so many horses.

What if the jockey club created a limited-registry like the AKC? Horses are registered, but their registration is limited until they have proven by performance (racing record, show record, young horse inspections, etc) that they are top-of-the-crop and should be able to produce top foals. They are then granted full registration where their progeny can be registered. I think that this could even be taken to another level as well, where the full registration only lasts 5 years - long enough to get a couple foals on the ground and working. If the foals aren't premium at inspections/race winners/young horse show winners, then the contingent full registration does not become full registration. That might solve the quality over quantity debate, or at least help it.

Finally, to the rescues: THANK YOU. Also, I'm interested to know what role the ASPCA has taken in this debate. Seems to be pretty close to its mission, and it has a pretty badass PR machine. The public seems to accept its notion of euthanasia vs. starvation after an adoption period has passed. Is there a reason we haven't gotten the ASPCA to also take up the cause of the horse? Just curious.

SleepyFox
Sep. 6, 2009, 11:35 AM
Evans, your post is intersting and thought-provoking. I'm going to address a few points just as clarification.


It seems like the issue of performance enhancing drugs might be the first thing that should be tackled. This would (1) increase the likelihood of a horse's coming off the track without being totally broken down, and (2) make humane slaughter an economically viable option because horse meat was legally edible and the meat quality is not as good if the horses are slaughtered inhumanely. [QUOTE]

There really aren't any performance enhancing drugs allowed on raceday anymore. Lasix is the only drug allowed within a 24 hour period and Lasix isn't a performance enhancer. In La, you can give either bute, banamine OR ketophen 24 hours out and none of them are performance enhancers, either. That's it.

[QUOTE]What if the jockey club created a limited-registry like the AKC? Horses are registered, but their registration is limited until they have proven by performance (racing record, show record, young horse inspections, etc) that they are top-of-the-crop and should be able to produce top foals. They are then granted full registration where their progeny can be registered. I think that this could even be taken to another level as well, where the full registration only lasts 5 years - long enough to get a couple foals on the ground and working. If the foals aren't premium at inspections/race winners/young horse show winners, then the contingent full registration does not become full registration. That might solve the quality over quantity debate, or at least help it.

Interesting thought, but it's imporant to remember that racehorses are being bred for a different purpose than show animals. With show animals, easily judgeable traits like conformation and type are key considerations. With racehorses that is not the case. There are many, many outstanding runners who have seriously flawed conformation. And, more importantly, it is not uncommon for unraced mares to produce outstanding foals and conversely, outstanding mares and stallions to be total flops when it comes to production.

evans36
Sep. 6, 2009, 01:55 PM
So is that the case everywhere about the drugs? Folks have made mention of trainers using drugs to increase a horse's running time - what drugs are those? Just asking so I can understand better. Do they allow things like injecting joints/adequan, that sort of thing?

As far as the registration idea, I know TBs are bred for sport and for racing, that's why I was thinking different avenues - performance for racers and horses that show, but also some sort of inspection like the warmbloods have - wouldn't that cover the mares who produce but only have a production record? Just a thought.

I guess the other thing that occurs is that to really solve the problem, there is going to have to be a short-term solution that will take care of the horses who are not usable right now, and hopefully a long-term solution that focuses less on damage-control through euth but more on damage prevention. I would see something like the creation of the retirement fund to initially be just as much about dignified death as about re-homing, but would hope that the long-term goal would be implementing other measures (less breeding, better training practices, incentives for retirement, etc) that would shift the view of the horse from just a disposable racehorse to an animal that spends the first part of its life doing one thing, then transitions to another life after its race time. If that makes sense?

misita
Sep. 6, 2009, 04:24 PM
This is such an important topic. I haven't read all the posts yet but did want to add that I found myself, for the first time ever, adopting 2 4 1/2 month old foals from a rescue. These poor babies were on the verge of death themselves. I've been unable to take any more because I need to make sure I feed the horses I have.

I don't understand why the owners of the race horses aren't held accountable for the euthanasia of their own horses. After all, don't they reap the benefits of their horses that are winners?

I absolutely feel the responsibility belongs to the horse owner. As for my 2 rescue babies, I'll continue to feed them along with the rest of my herd.

I also want to add that as a breeder of Sporthorses, when one of my horses has a traumatic injury or becomes ill, I never send them to rescue. I always pay for them to be treated at home or be humanely euthanized and then taken away by the truck to a crematoriam. Why should race horses be different? The horse owner should be responsible or they shouldn't own the horses at all.

This just makes me so sad. A special 'THANK YOU' to those of you who are trying to help these poor animals either find a home or have a painless death.:sadsmile::sadsmile:

YoTambien
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:10 PM
With respect to the medications, Bute is one of the most common and is also (supposedly) a big No-No when it comes to food animals.

http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/apr03/030415d.asp

From the article:


Phenylbutazone is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, and thrombocytopenia, and can result in death. Hypersensitivity reactions of the serum-sickness type have also been reported. In addition, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program.

For animals, phenylbutazone is currently approved only for oral and injectable use in dogs and horses. It is not approved for use in any food-producing animal, and its labeled use in horses is limited to horses not intended for food.

rcloisonne
Sep. 6, 2009, 07:38 PM
I absolutely feel the responsibility belongs to the horse owner.
So do I. Rather simple when you think about it. ;)

Where it gets muddy is the majority of racehorse owners have little to no interaction with their horses other than standing there for win photos and paying the bills. Little to no emotional investment.

They completely rely on trainers to make all of the decisions regarding the horse. And trainers want it that way or should I say, demand it. I can't think of any other equine activity that has so little owner involvement. It's probably a safe bet most owners believe their trainers find GREAT homes for their horses when they can no longer race.

I don't see any of this changing any time soon. :no:

Woodland
Sep. 6, 2009, 08:25 PM
CANTER (and I bet most rehoming groups) have been getting inundated with horse donation inquiries recently--more so than usual. Most of these horses are severely injured, or useful for pasture ornaments only. I know that my group (CANTER Mid Atlantic) has stopped taking horses from racetracks other than Delaware Park completely due to a lack of funding and I would imagine many are in the same boat, and even from Delaware we can take only two injured horses at any given time due to finances, manpower and room.

The question is, what do we do with these broken horses?? There are NO homes for them it seems. We have sound horses we cannot giveaway because they aren't 16.2, male, and showing at 3'. Very, very frustrating, but also a really big problem.

I've thought long about the issue as there are many facets. Euthanasia is expensive--really, really expensive by the time you factor in renderer pickup.
It's almost like Trainers/owners seem to believe that horses are all "fixable" if they just get to the right home--or they don't want to deal with the finality of putting one down. I've rarely heard of horses being euth'd at the track except in emergencies--is it done for non-emergencies?

We've had horses donated to us that were said to be "sound" or "fine with some layoff", but x-rays reveal what appears to be a pipe bomb having gone off in the joints. This just makes us feel like dumping grounds for owner/trainer problems, and it doesn't seem fair. So we've now got the responsibility to make the decision, and to hold the end of the lead rope and watch them hit the ground dead, and pay for the heartache in mental trauma AND cash!

Do any tracks offer low-cost euthanasia programs?

So, what say you? What do we do with these animals?

Obviously this doesn't apply across the board. I know some AMAZING trainers, some AMAZING owners who always--no matter the cost--do right by their animals. Lots don't. Worse yet, lots thing that just getting them out of sight absolves them of responsibility.

Very very frustrating.

We organized a euthanazia "clinic" last fall. We held it at a local fair grounds. We had three vets and a rendering truck. The horses were elderly lame or unsafe. Nothing that was "salvageable". There was no "advertising" just word of mouth. 23 horses went to God's greener pastures that day for about $90 each.

More people need to do this! Race tracks need to plan these. An October culling if you will. Simply ask the track. Ask the vets. Ask the renderer. Every one was willing and a bit relieved.

Because this caused a weird reaction from the bleeding heart crowd on the Of Course board last year I will not even via PM give any more information than I have offered here. Just ask & organize. Our only stipulation was no salvageable horses be done in. It was calm organized and the horses doted on completely.

INoMrEd
Sep. 6, 2009, 08:38 PM
The upside I see to this bad economy is this great news: 2010 projections: Jockey Club projects smallest foal crop since 1977 (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2009/August/14/Jockey-Club-projects-foal-crop-to-be-smallest-in-32-years.aspx)



It should be another 25% lower in my view.

Maybe if a fatter live foal registry fee - like $300 which would go towards the horse's "social secuirty" - was mandated then it would stop some of the mass production.

Great Idea pay it forward. Why not charge a $1000 fee for this fund as part of the entry fee for the horse's first race? I'm betting that would help out with the unwanted horses who are done with their careers. This would affect a lot of different breeds of horses used for racing.

SleepyFox
Sep. 6, 2009, 09:31 PM
So is that the case everywhere about the drugs? Folks have made mention of trainers using drugs to increase a horse's running time - what drugs are those? Just asking so I can understand better. Do they allow things like injecting joints/adequan, that sort of thing?

Medication rules vary by jurisdiction, but only slightly. There are no performance enhancing drugs allowed on raceday in any jurisdiction. Joints may be injected, but, again, that is not a performance enhancer.

Also, remember that state veterinarians inspect each horse in the barns prior to the race. They must jog for the vet and the vet will physically inspect each leg. The state vets are also present in the paddock, behind the starting gates and along the rail when the horses jog back for unsaddling. Any horse that exhibits lameness will be scratched and placed on the vet's list. Once on the vet's list, the horse must work (breeze) at least a half mile in front of the state vets and then undergo a lameness exam before it can be entered again.
And, yes, they really do scratch horses.


Where it gets muddy is the majority of racehorse owners have little to no interaction with their horses other than standing there for win photos and paying the bills. Little to no emotional investment.

They completely rely on trainers to make all of the decisions regarding the horse. And trainers want it that way or should I say, demand it. I can't think of any other equine activity that has so little owner involvement. It's probably a safe bet most owners believe their trainers find GREAT homes for their horses when they can no longer race.

Excellent point, rcloissone.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 7, 2009, 12:32 AM
Part of the issue with rescue organizations organizing euthanasia clinics, I think, is that they are completely dependent upon public donations, and as such, they are forced to be responsive to public opinion. I think that most of the general public does not appreciate the costs associated with upkeep of a horse, or even why a fracture can ultimately be lethal. I agree, the ASPCA has a successful PR machine: although there are no kill facilities, euthanasia of unwanted dogs and cats is part of the public acceptance.

Ideally, of course, you don't want there to be a need for euthanasia, except in the case of traumatic injury, illness, old age or safety issues. But that gets back to the breeding issue, and fostering the concept that, appropriately raised and treated, there is a market for second careers.

TBCollector
Sep. 7, 2009, 09:34 PM
Yo, I'm going to PM you about a place for this guy.


I was directing my questions at some of the circular trends in this thread that seem to shoot down any ideas about changing the status quo - resident troll notwithstanding.

I think the biggest issue when it comes to having a euthanasia program is that few people want to be directly responsible for taking the life of a horse that "could" have become, perhaps, somewhat sound enough to be in a pasture someday and perhaps the perfect forever home would have been found for him.

If instead the horse "goes away", there is perhaps a small possibility that someone bought him and gave him that perfect forever home. And if the horse went instead to slaughter, well - it was someone else that ended his life.

It's like the Equine Pontius Pilot Syndrome.

That, or this whole post could be result of brain damage from banging my head against a brick wall for way too long. Funny thing is, after donating close to $50,000 for rescue, rehab and adoption efforts over the last few years, I still do not have a horse of my own!

Come to think of it (okay - I'm rambling now...), anyone know of a good stable where I could keep a calm Thoroughbred gelding who must be kept on dry footing (he has laminitis and pedal osteitis in his left front but he's doing much better) that is not too far from the San Fernando Valley? He can't be kept in a stall because of the moisture. The vet advised he should be kept on dry sandy soil to minimize the progress of the pedal osteitis. I honestly couldn't tell you if the P.O. is due to the laminitis or the white line disease that also raged in that foot when he first came off the track.

Yes - this would be my chance to "grab" one the "better" horses for myself! Wu-hoo!!! He is an Exceller Fund horse and most recently was on a trial adoption for a few months to a family whose little girl was just learning how to ride. He was perfect for her (he's calm and takes a western saddle with no problem), but now she's progressed in riding skills beyond what he can do and he's back with The Exceller Fund. **sigh**

Currently he's located too far away for me to see him very often. Oh - who am I kidding? I would be a first time horse owner, and I would need a full service stable since I wouldn't be able to take care of him on a regular basis (crazy work schedule that involves out of town travel) and then I would feel guilty for not going to see him and as it is I barely find time to walk my dog. Oh yeah - I would need to make sure I would have access to a good farrier that will work with that hoof.

But here's a photo of this handsome dude - He's a 7 year old son of Mr. Greeley. http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y123/Exceller/Exceller%20Fund%20Updates/GiffordsKid-2008-07-c.jpg





Gets up to put the Bailey's and rum away before this post gets too-o-o long. The Pity Party is now over. Thank you all for coming and have a nice evening.

TBCollector
Sep. 7, 2009, 09:40 PM
I've probably rescued/taken in 100 TBs in the past 15 years (and kept some for myself that I couldn't bear to part with). One of "my" guys is now 21 years old, and was the first million dollar winner owned by a guy who won the $1 million Del Mar Futurity today. Has the guy ever come to see his retired horse? No. Does he ask about him? No.
You can't fix don'tgiveashit-itis.



So do I. Rather simple when you think about it. ;)

Where it gets muddy is the majority of racehorse owners have little to no interaction with their horses other than standing there for win photos and paying the bills. Little to no emotional investment.

They completely rely on trainers to make all of the decisions regarding the horse. And trainers want it that way or should I say, demand it. I can't think of any other equine activity that has so little owner involvement. It's probably a safe bet most owners believe their trainers find GREAT homes for their horses when they can no longer race.

I don't see any of this changing any time soon. :no:

tma
Sep. 8, 2009, 06:01 AM
I've read all but the last couple of pages of this thread. Please forgive me if I've missed something crucial, or if these have already been suggested.

I admit that I'm not as "up" on TB registrations/breeding as I once was, so I have a question first; do stallion owners have a breeding report or some such, that is recorded with the Jockey Club indicating which mares were covered by which stallions during the current breeding season?

If so - maybe a $20 "fee" per mare covered, payable by say Dec 31 of the year that the mare was exposed to any stallion could be generated for such a fund.

I think the number discussed earlier was 33,000 or 34,000 new registrations in the past year? By including every mare actually covered regardless of whether the mating ultimately results in a live, registered foal, there would be more $$ into the fund spread out among a larger number of horses. And condition registration so that no registration is available for a foal for which the fee isn't paid for it's dam (that would encourage participation/contributions).

Add a $20 or $25 per month per stall add-on to stall fees on the racetrack grounds, and a $25 "trailer in" or "day" fee for each horse brought in just to race that day, or any horse brought in to train/school/work that didn't have a stall on the grounds for at least a month prior to that day/race day. Maybe this could be an alternative to a per-start charge?

This way, if a horse makes it to race training but never actually starts for whatever reason (too slow?) at least there is something contributed to the fund.

Let an owner apply for reimbursement for reasonable/average euthanizing and rendering costs upon proof of such costs incurred - if it happens when a horse is off the track, and therefore is not free to the owner. Maybe make it contingent on proving that the horse had been under constant vet's care from the time of the horse leaving the racetrack grounds?

Or the owner can apply for a comparable amount if the owner can prove that the horse is accepted by and surrendered to a legit recue (the amount then payable to the rescue)?

I don't think that these amounts suggested would be a "make-or-break" amount for an owner or a breeder.

I like the idea of a surrender barn or designated surrender stalls, but I'm still thinking through ways to make that work for all involved.

Again, I don't know if this would be entirely workable.

Just tossing out thoughts for consideration - for whatever they are worth (or not! ;)

ivy62
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:44 AM
Ya know reading this is an eye opener..I believe euthanasia has its place but so many unwanted horses are NOT Tbs! What do we do with the paints and QHs that are cast a side? ALso, the backyard breeder who has no clue why they are breeding...There was a mare at my barn that was off the track, she did nothing there and was dangerous to handle...the owner said well we can breed her..WHAT! What attributes does she have that you'd want to pass on? Only because there was nothing else for her to do!

Also, racing stallions have a higher stud fee then most horses that can be bred AI...so I think there are more throw aways elsewhere....
Wish I had an answer....

Laurierace
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:50 AM
Ivy I agree completely that the unwanted horse issue goes well beyond TBs. Statistics showed in the last year that the plant operated in TX that when you added in appys and paints that had QH blood in them that QH's accounted for 85% of the horses slaughtered. The problem is way too large for any one entity to handle, let alone the TB industry to handle. That said, if we all clean up our own backyard suddenly the world gets a whole lot cleaner. The key is to break it down into countless small tasks instead of one overwhelming task. Each industry needs to look after their own and then we are just left with the FUGLY's that don't fall into any category.

ivy62
Sep. 8, 2009, 10:05 AM
If you are going to breed to keep for yourself by all means do it BUT if you are thinking you will make money selling that is another...There are some very good responsible breeders out there along with some owners but that is not generally the case....
I think that controlling the breeding is the bottom line....If you go back in history how many horses were registered compared to now? The industry because of cost has actually gotten smaller yet the amount of animals produced has increased how many fold? As I said before I wish I had an answer and would gladly donate my time to help but where do we start?
By all means if your Junior humter is living a life f retirement and you are taking vare of him so veit but what about everyone else?
I'll get off my soap box now....

Barnfairy
Sep. 11, 2009, 04:15 PM
From the Blood-Horse opinions blog this week, tangentially related to some of the discussion in this thread:

Keep Up the Heat (http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/wgoh/archive/2009/09/09/keep-up-the-heat-by-eric-mitchell.aspx) by Eric Mitchell, Executive Editor for Digital Media at the Blood-Horse


(excerpted from link above)

...While the Eight Belles tragedy attracted a lot of intense and unpleasant scrutiny, it lit a bonfire under industry leaders who produced some admirable results within a year. Most notably, all North American racing jurisdictions now ban the use of anabolic and androgenic steroids within at least 30 days of a race; and, the NTRA has implemented its racetrack accreditation program, with 10 tracks approved so far.

These accomplishments and others were heralded during last month’s Jockey Club Round Table with lots of well-deserved congratulations.

...True, rules were adopted to ban race-day use of steroids, but to say steroid use has actually been eliminated is a stretch. Consider the comments by Dr. Scott Palmer, chairman of the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Racing Committee, who said our current medication policy, though well-intentioned, is compromised by a lack of uniformity and financial support in multiple racing jurisdictions. Here is the heart of Palmer’s message the industry needs to embrace: The time for extended diplomacy is over. To the extent that medication reform can help save our industry, we must act now with deliberate speed and conviction.