Friday, March 16, 2012

Neigh, Neigh

            PETA strikes again.  And in their usual self-promoting fashion, they hit the wrong target. But the target they hit is an easy one that will get them the headlines with little or no effort.
            Anybody who’s even vaguely aware of thoroughbred racing, -- and who hasn’t heard of the Kentucky Derby? – knows that horse racing is a dangerous business for horses and jockeys.  There have been 5,000 horse deaths on tracks since 2003.  About 2 -3 horses are put down a day on the tracks throughout the country.
            The reason, of course, is because horse racing is all about speed; speed and money.  Which means we’ve created a fragile, Darwinian-unhealthy, animal whose great speed is paid for in the price of fragile legs.  And when the legs go, the horse goes. Plus, in a crowded field of huge, thundering horses, one slip, one bump can mean death to both horse and rider.
            Even the jockey’s are at constant risk because of the need for speed at all costs.  Superb athletes, they’re often forced to regularly undermine their health by too rigorous diets to maintain the lowest weight possible, not to mention the diuretics they often take to get that water weight off before raceday.  Destroyed kidneys, ruined health, busted up bodies from falls make that sport dangerous for humans as well.
            So, given all that, does PETA move to shut down racing?  Go after the Kentucky Derby?  No.  They force the cancellation of a MOVIE about racing. 
            The series, “Luck,” which was created by producers David Milch and Michael Mann, was set at a racetrack and involved a huge cast of characters whose lives revolved around racing, gambling and . . . luck.  Initially the producers agreed to suspend filming of any scenes that involved horses until an investigation into the horse deaths was complete.  The film company was working in conjunction with the American Humane Association and racing experts to ensure horse and rider safety using the various protocols that are used by the film industry.  Despite their efforts, three horses used in the filming died, including one that died in a freak accident while walking back to the barns after filming had been completed.  That death is not a rare incident.  Said Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director at the racing board, “We see several of those injuries in the stable area every year.”
            But facing a PETA threatened publicity onslaught, the series was canceled and production stopped. Which was sooooo PETA.  They’ll shut a movie about racing down but won’t shut racing down.  With them, it’s all about picking the easy target, garner headlines, rake in the donations then move on to the next easy target.
            And real horseracing is one industry they’ll never target; too hard to do, too much money in that particular sport.  And you sure didn’t hear a peep out of them when hard times resulted in thousands of horses being abandoned by their cash-strapped owners and were being sold off for slaughter.  Nope.  When there’s a real issue involving animals, don’t look to PETA to go to the heart of the matter.  Instead, they’ll shut a movie down then mix up a few mint juleps and head for the Derby to dream up some other stunt. Typical.   

Thank You Mr. Greg Smith

            The retired executive director at Goldman Sachs, who made sure his bonus check was cashed, waltzed out the door and wrote a blistering Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, spilling the beans about Goldman Sach’s “ethics.”  Hahahahah. Actually, Mr. Smith, you’re too late.  Matt Taibbi, in his brilliant original pieces on the Wall Street debacle and later in his book, Griftopia, has already said all that needs to be said about that company, calling the firm “a vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
            But, good on Mr. Smith anyway.  When a company gets a critical level of employees who actually have ethics, then the company ceases to be a squid.  Unfortunately, Mr. Smith left the building which likely means Goldman Sach’s “ethical” level has been reset at zero.

Meanwhile, Happy St. Paddy’s Day.  Take an Irish personage to lunch. 


Alon Perlman said...

Maybe it's also about being the "thought police" and the instant gratification of "winning one for our cause" Never mind thay the cause doesn't give a whinney.

Churadogs said...

Peta, because they're very savvy about getting the attention of the media, could point with alarm, view with dismay, the issues behind the issues -- like going after the AKC and their phony, mail-fraud "registration papers," without which "purebred" puppy mill dogs would be worth zip, thereby putting a huge monkey wrench in the puppy mill industry, or, in this case, going after the racing industry itself, not just a movie, or taking a look at the thousands of unwanted horses, including racing horses no longer winning and wanting that get loaded up and shipped to inhumane slaughter in Canada and Mexico because we don't have the collective guts to kill them here and at least do it humanely, and, and, and, the list goes on.

But those targets are rich, powerful, lawyered up, so PETA sticks with the cheap, low-lying fruit which garners them headlines and donations and does nothing to solve the problems or improve the lot of the animals they profess to love so much. American Humane Society does the same thing. Wayne Purcell's out there with a smile, doing . . . as little as possible. Typical.

The HBO series, ironically, was all about the love of horses, really, and a fabulously done piece. It's a shame it couldn't be completed. When the DVD series comes out, if you get a chance to watch the 9 or 10 episodes, you'll be well rewarded with an amazing piece of work.