The Ugly Truth About Horse Racing


UNITED STATES- The Kentucky Derby is an important day for many, and highly celebrated by  horse lovers across the country. The Kentucky Derby is a pageant of beautiful horses, colorful jockeys, glamorous fashion, and the anticipation and excitement of fame and fortune.  

On the surface, it seems clean, wholesome, cultural, and family-friendly.  This traditional sport of horse racing has been active in one form or another for many thousands of years.

In earliest times, it consisted simply of pitting horses with riders against one another to determine who was fastest, strongest and most skilled. The bond between horse and rider was an important aspect of the sport.

Today, however, horse racing is big business and we stand on the brink of an age where it attracts a lot of support, but also a plentiful amount of criticism.  The fact is, horse racing is beneficial, but also detrimental to not just the horses involved, but society as well.

“Racing is a hard sport, and young horses are started in it as two-year-olds when their bones are not fully grown. They are highly prone to injury in which some injuries are fatal, and over twenty horses die in racing in the U.S. alone, every week” (Ellis).  

In general, racehorses normally only race two to four years before going into retirement.  This is mainly because all racehorses endure intense workout schedules to build up their endurance through constant conditioning which takes a toll on their bodies after just a few years.

These horses are kept on daily high quantities of grain and hay to keep their fast working metabolisms satisfied.  However, very often race horses are given dangerous painkillers and other drugs within their food to help them cope with pain from injuries and to enhance their performance.  

In addition, racehorses are often lonely and anxious because they are prevented from socializing freely with other horses in a pasture setting.This is a horse’s natural way of living and when they are prevented from doing so, the consequences can be deadly.

The horses that do not win races are often shipped off to slaughter in Mexico or Canada. The trip, alone is grueling as they are packed into cattle trucks and shipped several thousand miles without food or water.  

Many horses shipped to slaughter die on the way and once the survivors arrive at their destination, they are cruelly killed.  Beyond the immense stress that these horses undergo, the horse racing industry is huge, and like any industry that is designed around the premise of making money with live animals, there is lots of room for corruption, exploitation and cruelty.  

It is also an industry that is built around gambling, which is an extremely addiction-prone behavior.  It’s easy to see that there is lots of potential for harm and sorrow in many aspects of the racing industry.


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