Horse racing is a multi-billion dollar industry that exploits horses for their speed and strength. Despite the popularity of horse races and the sport’s storied legacy, there are serious problems associated with racing, including horse welfare and cruelty. The racetrack industry must improve its treatment of these animals to increase fan and spectator interest and prevent equine deaths on-and-off the track.
In order to run a horse race, the horse must have a pedigree (parents) that are purebred of the specific breed that it is racing. To be considered for a race, the sire and dam must both be purebred horses that meet certain requirements, such as being registered with the Jockey Club. In addition to the genetic requirements, a horse must be healthy and physically sound to participate in racing.
One of the most dangerous aspects of horse racing is its high injury rate, which can occur during any stage of a race. Some injuries are due to the horse being pushed beyond its limits, while others occur because of faulty equipment or training practices. The grueling race environment can be extremely stressful for horses, and many suffer from catastrophic injuries like broken bones, lacerations, and concussions.
Other issues include the use of illegal drugs, excessive and prolonged use of training methods, and the transport of injured horses to slaughterhouses. Several organizations, including PETA, are fighting to put an end to this cruel industry.
In a race, horses are often forced to gallops for long distances at top speeds. This can cause the horses to become dehydrated, and it can lead to a condition called exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which is bleeding in the lungs. To combat this, horses are given cocktails of legal and illegal drugs, which are intended to mask the bleeding and enhance performance.
Although most people know that horse racing is a cruel sport, they may not realize that it is also illegal in some places. There are a number of ways that horses can be illegally raced, including being trained on unauthorized tracks and being ridden by unlicensed jockeys. These unauthorized tracks, or bush tracks, are often located in rural areas and have poor conditions for the horses.
During elections, media outlets that feature political news stories that focus on who is winning and losing—a practice known as horse race reporting—discourage voters from exercising their right to vote. A new study finds that this type of news coverage promotes cynicism and distrust toward the political process. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon, analyzed newspaper articles that discussed political races for governor and U.S. Senate in 2004, 2006, and 2008. The authors found that newspapers that were owned by large chains were more likely to publish horse race reporting. They also discovered that this form of journalism disproportionately appears in news outlets with left-leaning audiences. The study’s findings suggest that this style of news reporting discourages voting among young people, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of strategic news coverage.