Animal rights group wants horse racing abolished
SARATOGA, NY -- As fans entered the main entrance to the Saratoga Race Course on Sunday they had to walk past animal rights activists holding signs with messages about recent equine deaths at the track. The protest was organized by Patrick Battuello, founder of Horseracing Wrongs. Battuello belives that 2,000 horses die each year at US racetracks. “Through Freedom of Information Act Requests and my daily tracking of race charts I estimate that roughly 2,000 horses die at American tracks annually,” Mr. Battuello said. The group is no longer satisfied with the implementation of safety protocols-Battuello wants racing abolished in the United States. “We’d like to see an end to horse racing. We’re not interested in reform. We feel that the time has come where 50 years ago, this was the only legal way to gamble. No such excuse exists today. We’re here to tell people that if you want to gamble go to a full service casino, or play the state sponsored lotteries but don’t gamble on the backs of horses,” Mr. Battuello said.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission there have been a total of seven horse deaths at Saratoga since the meet began on July 22. Four deaths occurred during the running of a race, one happened during training and there were two non-racing fatalities. Prior to this summer’s meet there were two training related fatalities bringing the total number of deaths this year to nine.
In response to the protest a spokesman for the New York Racing Association sent this statement to CBS 6. “The New York Racing Association cares deeply about, and takes very seriously, the health and safety of its equine athletes.
In 2012, NYRA’s catastrophic injury rate was 2.2 injuries per 1,000 starts; a rate well above the national average. Three years later, not only have our annual figures consistently dropped below the national average, but we have actually cut this rate in half - ending 2015 with a CRI for thoroughbred flat racing of 1.09.
We continue to work closely with New York State’s Equine Medical Director, our safety steward, our horse watch detail and NYRA’s Equine Safety Committee to make our racing even safer for the future.”