Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Post Time

Ah, finally, the cat’s out of the bag, sort of: story in the Oct 6 New York Times about a lawsuit over a racehorse that “has exposed the fault lines of administering legal drugs to America’s thoroughbreds.”

Seems that I want Revenge, a Kentucky Derby favorite, was scratched from the race with a bad ankle. Happens all the time, you say? Yes, indeed. But the interesting wrinkle here is the testimony of the veterinarians has exposed the typical example of injured horses being doctored up and run again, often without telling the owners or co-owners (in this case) with the horse breaking down later because it’s been run on an injury that may not have had time to heal (time in the barn costs money and scratched races mean loss of more money) and eventually the horse breaks down and there goes bazillions of dollars in winnings, not to mention lost bets. The horse, of course is often lost as well as a jockey or two.

Legal doctoring with steroid injections and other anti-inflammatories plus lax oversight or even a lack of consensus as to what constitutes correct treatment or overuse is the problem. Plus the love of money which too often times comes first over love of the horse. Plus the sad fact that thoroughbreds are unnatural creatures deliberately bred for speed which leads to the unfortunate and deadly consequence that they now have freakishly weak ankles and forelegs legs – in short thoroughbreds are not a horse that would survive without human intervention; too fragile.

And since they’re being used as a method of making money, you know that too many of them will be regularly overused and abused and when they founder, it’s time for the knackerman.

And it isn’t just race horses. If you remember the awful case of the string of Argentine polo ponies that suddenly died at a polo match in Florida. They had been given a specially mixed “tonic” and unfortunately the pharmacy that mixed it apparently got the amount of one of the ingredients reversed and a whole lot of the horses died very quickly. The “tonic” was totally legal, contained no forbidden drugs, and was administered because it allowed the horses to recover more quickly after a chukker so they could get back into the game again. When I first heard about the tragedy (and a devastating tragedy it was for these top riders who bond powerfully with their remarkable horses, many of whom they’ve trained from colt-hood and ridden for years), my first thought was, Why are you giving a “cocktail” to perfectly sound, perfectly conditioned and trained healthy horses? And if you’re giving them this cocktail so they can “recover more quickly” from a totally unnatural activity – chukkers are nothing that exist in nature; horses run away from danger for a short time then stop and rest; they do not run back and forth at high speed, with numerous ankle-wrenching stops and turns-on-a-dime for an exhausting period of time, again and again – then maybe you need to think about what you’re doing to your beloved horses and maybe need to allow a longer natural rest time (sans cocktails) by getting some more ponies as fill-in.

Of course, that would cost more money. So the horses get their cocktails and sometimes something goes wrong and they die. And race horses get their ankles doctored up and run before they’re healed and founder and die. And the money rolls on.

Free Rein, or Dead Hampsters Don't Count

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, an interesting “free speech” test case involving what are basically snuff films involving small furry animals being crushed by women in high heels or bare feet sold to sexual fetish sickos, as well as videos being sold (and owned) of a variety of animal snuff films – dog fights, dogs fighting and killing hogs, you name it, all for the stimulation of sickos who get off on that kind of stuff.

One group is arguing that it’s all a matter of free speech. The other group is arguing that animal snuff films have no redeeming value and should be illegal. The court seems to be leaning to the free speech side, which will certainly open the way for even more “creative” animal snuff films because one can never forget the unredeeming power of money and sexual sickos.

Interestingly, possession of child pornography is now an exception to the free speech rule – own that stuff you go to jail even though you did not actually molest a small child, just owned the video or owned or downloaded the pictures of the molesting, while it’s a good bet that owning animal snuff films and photos will be declared perfectly fine. In both cases, sentient beings are being injured and brutalized and abused for the enjoyment of sickos, an activiy that is utterly without redeeming social value, not to mention the socially redeeming issue that there is a powerful connection between animal abusers and human abusers, but in this case, animals don’t count.

Which is ironic because about 100 years ago, there were a few animal cruelty laws on the books but NO child cruelty laws on the books, so an animal cruelty law was used by the good people of New York to shield and save a child – who, it was decided, was an “animal” after all. That case led to a raft of child welfare laws.

Too bad the favor will not be paid back in this case.

Calling All Doggies

Saturday, Oct 10, SLO-4-PUPs will be having our 8th Anniversary celebration and fun/fundraiser for the Off Leash Dog Park at El Chorro Regional Park. (Full disclosure: I’m on the Board of SLO-4-PUPs). The event will run from 10 a.m. to about 2 pm-ish. There’ll be an fun quasi-“agility” course for your dog to run through, a “Not So Serious Dog Show,” with certificates for all participants, lots of chances to win really cool raffle baskets, an official Canine Good Citizens Test (those aren’t available very often so here’s a great chance to have your dog certified), the Department of Animal Services will hold an adopt-a-pet booth (time to adopt a dog), and we’ll have a hot dog BBQ and lots of swell cake!

So, bring your pooch (or come down and adopt a dog) and stop by for some fun.


Alon Perlman said...

There is a direct link between animal torture in childhood and Adult escalation against humans.
Jeffery Dahmer is the "Poster Child" for that phenomenon.
As with Child porn, Animal snuff videos may have a small percentage of "Aficionados" who once satisfied with their "Jollies", continue their life without harming another living being. The percentage of those who escalate their addiction with the easily available "Click here for instant gratification" and then go out to the real world for more is probably higher. And while the "Using drugs helps Terrorists" campaign, was as Bogus as Bogus gets, (and was indirectly responsible for our causing regime change in the Second Country in the middle east where Bin Laden would never had hidden), the principle is that that those who actually pay for Harmful (Unconsented) Porn (Illegal or not), support new acts. That principle of "action at a distance" still holds.
For example, the exception that proves the rule; videos of beatings, posted on Youtube (now well policed) by teenagers and their adult equivalents have a "payoff" to the posters, and perpetuate that it is "OK", "Cool, hurry up, post a better one".

Churadogs said...

Your mention of "action at a distance" apparently may not apply to animal snuff films? Clearly, there's a connection since if it's a money maker, no matter how disgusting, somebody will make and sell it, which then means the buyers are actually involved in creating the "action." If the anti-child pornography was based on that principle, I wonder why it wouldnt' apply to animal snuff films, except that animals are snuffed all the time (slaughterhouses) so drawing the line between stomping on the head of a little chick while wearing high heels so you can sell it to some sicko, and tossing the same little chick into a shredder at a facory egg farm (which was recently "uncovered by PETA or some other humane group) so you can increase your profits by getting rid of unwanted chicks is different . . . . how?

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

With regard to adopt-a-pet, I just ran into our dog Beau's foster mom yesterday on her way to inspect a potential foster home in SLO. She said that foster homes are in short supply and are desperately needed right now. She told me that the available foster homes are bursting. So she asked me to spread the word in the hope that someone might see fostering a dog as a special calling. Anyone wishing to volunteer can call SLO County Animal Services or any of the various animal rescue groups.

Our Beau passed through at least four Animal Services foster homes before finding the foster parent able to meet his special needs and nurse him back to health from years of abuse, neglect, starvation, and Valley Fever. We are grateful for all the foster parents who took him in while he waited for us to find him and bring him home at last.

Alon Perlman said...

Yeh Ann, "Prurient interest?",
Instant oblivion in the mouth of an industrial device, though Alarming to us, is within our norms, and is subject to FDA inspection, though not focussed on "humane treatment".
Dehydrating in a box with or without a cou-de-gras from the stilleto heel of another "hot Chick" is another matter.

Churadogs said...

Alon sez: instant oblivion vs. dehydrating in a box before "purient interest" crushing. Ah, there's an interesting point. Is how and why we kill animals the key? Killed with reverence and thanks and used to nourish the body - OK? While tortured and killed for "purient satisfaction" is sicko? For the animal, dead is dead, but for humans, perhaps the reason for the killing should be of grave concern.