A race to the grave


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Lauren Bickett, Staff writer

Growing up, I spent my early years watching horse related films to feed my growing obsession. From “Black Beauty” to racehorse biographies such as “Secretariat,” all these films were a key part in what made my childhood. Today, although I am not the equestrian I wanted to be at a young age, I do still have an affectionate spot for the sport. Recently, while searching through the Internet, I came across a story about horse-racing, something I had always found astounding and of course considered for myself at a young age. What I read scarred me; the creatures I grew to love were victims of harsh abuse and forced into deadly conditions all for sport.

Animal rights organization, PETA, did an undercover investigation regarding the reports of abuse and what they found was shocking. During their investigation, they discovered trainers giving the horses for hypothyroidism that speeds up their metabolism and causes them to lose weight, therefore, making them faster in races. From drug abuse to harsh conditions of brutality, the horse racing industry consisting of millions should be put to an end.

According to PETA, it is estimated that about 750 racehorses die on the track each year. Many go on with serious injuries. With 24 dying on the track each week. These animals become victims of violent abuse and overdose. Each year, the horses suffer traumatic injuries, but trainers keep them in training and continue to race them and give them drugs to mask their pain.

“While gamblers at the Kentucky Derby sip mint juleps the horses are served a steady diet of drug cocktails,” according to an undercover investigator for PETA.

It was 2011, the first year I watched the Kentucky Derby; I was only nine years old sitting in front of my grandma’s TV. At a young age, I was oblivious and only saw magnificent creatures with such amazing speed. I didn’t see what was behind the scenes, the abuse and the overdose. I remember Animal Kingdom winning that year. Nehro, a fellow racehorse that placed second in the Kentucky Derby was a focal point in PETA’s investigation. The racehorse was forced to continue his training afterward besides the fact that his feet were chronically damaged.

Nehro was under Assmunsons’s training at the time. Assmunson is a very successful horse race trainer but at what cost for the cruelty he condones. Video from commodities PETA’s investigation shows the cruelty the racehorse suffered and the conditions that he faced.

“From birth to death racehorses are treated as disposable commodities,” says an insider.

After years of abuse and suffering, Nehro died on the day of the 2013 Kentucky Derby due to severe bout and colic.

Next time you see celebrities such as Kendall Jenner or Kim Kardashian at the races, who claim to love horses or see a racehorse crowned and flowered with affection for winning a race. The millions going into an industry that takes innocent creatures and races them to the death for sport. Think about the cost that is to be paid and if all of it is worth it.