It’s widely known that racehorses, like other animals trained for sport, are often victims of abuse by their owners. This is taken from the PETA website: “They weigh at least 1,000 pounds, they have legs that are supported by ankles the size of a human’s, and they’re forced to run around dirt tracks at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour while carrying people on their backs.(1) Racehorses are the victims of a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing, and many horses’ careers end in slaughterhouses.” The PETA site outlines just about every problem associated with horse racing; check it out for lots more info.
It seems there are two sides to this story, just as with any other. On the one hand, many horse owners invest countless hours and tons of money to ensure their horses are at their prime condition. Championship horses have the best living conditions, receive expert veterinary care, receive regular massages, have constant attention from humans, and have overall great care. Even breeding horses receive the best conditions to ensure the strongest offspring possible. And when these horses retire, they enjoy an equally pampered existence.
On the other hand, many horses are not on the championship level, and generally receive worse treatment the worse they perform. They tend to be treated as commodities rather than living creatures. Horses may be overworked, over-drugged, beaten, surgically altered, and not get proper treatment for the host of health conditions they are likely to endure. Those that are not as lucrative tend to change owners regularly, diminishing the likelihood of a loving bond, and may simply be sold for slaughter once they are no longer racing material.
So overall, this question is rather complex. Many race horses are treated very well, but generally those that are very good at the sport or who are lucky enough to have owners that are in it for the love of the animals. Many organizations, however, advocate the end to horse racing because there are horses that are treated very poorly period.
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