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.