An Open Letter to the Authorities of American Racing

By Evie

After yet another death at Santa Anita earlier this week, the cries for horse racing to be banned with the United States have grown ever louder, garnering support from the senators of both California and New York, as well as hundreds, if not thousands of ‘non-racing public’. Like it or not, these deaths, and the issues surrounding racing, must be addressed, if you want to maintain even the slightest hope of racing surviving well into the 21st century.

Those on the other side of the fence can say that people are being ‘snowflakes’ and are ‘more sensitive than they were in my day’ but people being more sensitive is not why more people want changes. Its because we have a more developed understanding of equine welfare, as well as the injuries that they will suffer. If the technology is newly available to prevent deaths, why should we not implement it? And if it doesn’t yet exist, why shouldn’t we strive to invent this. Racing isn’t a case of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. If racing wasn’t broken, the fatality rate would be much lower than it currently is.

You can say that by trying to bring changes into action, they are further harming the sport, but if anything, leaving racing as is will harm the sport more, because its the current form of racing that is being called to be banned, not a future form of racing that has stricter controls in place to protect the horses.

If you’re burying your head in the sand and ignoring what is currently happening across American racing, or even saying that racing is okay as is, you’re part of the problem. This dark cloud over racing isn’t just going to dissipate by pretending that it doesn’t exist.

To make it ever clear, in no way am I calling racing abuse. However, the current state of racing in the US at the moment is unacceptable, and needs to be sorted out. And at this point its not just Santa Anita. American racing needs a total reformation, or this threat of total closure will not be going away any time soon.

There is no denying that American racing supports the livelihoods of thousands of people and horses, and therefore protecting it is of the highest important. However, this won’t happen if racing stays stuck in its old ways.

Of course, its a given that everyone must support each other during these dark days. But people must not be so quick to turn down any changes suggested just because they are coming from a third-party you may not necessarily agree with. Just because PETA may support a Lasix ban, and you don’t think PETA isn’t the most reputable source, doesn’t mean you should completely write off a Lasix ban just out of stubbornness.

By all means, support the industry you love, but don’t turn the blind eye to the changes that are so obviously necessary. If you want racing to survive in the 21st century, you should be making any and all changes in order protect the horses. There’s no way that ensuring the welfare of horses to an even higher standard than it usually is, is going to be anything other than a positive change for this sport.

In times of trouble like this, American racing has to stick together. The lack of unification is what’s going to damage racing the most. Without one clear goal to work towards racing will likely go the way of the dodo.

There’s clearly two types of people during times like this, when massive changes are being called for. Those who are comfortable remaining in the old ways that have been used for ages before, and those who want to see active change, no matter how extreme, in order to protect the horses within the sport. I know which side of history I’d rather be on.

It’s clear to see that unless we are constantly striving for improvements, and not staying stuck in our old ways, racing will ultimately be lead down the path towards the guillotine.

Feel free to call me a snowflake, or that I’m personally going to affect racing more negatively by calling for change. Just know that myself, and many others, haven’t side idly by and ignored the issues that will continue to plague racing if nothing is done about them.

Racing is facing an impending judgement day, and no matter what way you look at it, changes are a must.

It’s not a revolution, its a reformation.

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