Despite the fact that horse racing is one of the world’s most popular sports, it also has one of the biggest animal welfare problems. A recent report from ABC 730 reveals that American race horses are slaughtered at rates more than three times what the industry says is reasonable, highlighting a crisis that could ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars if it continues unchecked.
Horse racing started in Europe, where it began as a form of gambling and quickly evolved into a legitimate sport. Aristocrats were a big part of the industry, and they often imported Thoroughbreds to America. These equines were bred to be leaner and faster than other horses, a trait that helped them excel in battle.
The first documented horse race in the United States was held on December 5, 1752, in Gloucester, Virginia, near Williamsburg. This was a race that featured an extraordinary challenge by the aristocrat William Byrd: he put up 500 Spanish pistoles, a staggering amount of money at the time, to any horse in the land that could beat Tryal, the horse that Byrd had imported from Spain.
Byrd’s gamble paid off. He won the race, and he made a fortune. He even bred the breed that would come to be known as Thoroughbreds, a cross between Middle Eastern sires and English bloodlines that was intended to be faster than its predecessors.
As the sport spread across the colonies, new oval tracks were built. These tracks were faster and gave spectators a better view of the action.
While horse racing has benefited from technological advances in the modern world, it still maintains a number of old traditions and rules that make it a unique and highly controversial sport. These include the use of Lasix, a drug given to many horses in order to avoid pulmonary bleeding.
The diuretic affects a horse’s system and causes it to urinate massive amounts of water, usually twenty or thirty pounds. The urine makes the horse feel thirsty, but it can also lead to serious health issues if it is not diluted properly.
It can cause bloating and weight gain, which can make it harder for the horse to jump over fences. It can also increase heart rate and cause a horse to become anxious.
This can lead to a horse losing its balance and falling. In the worst cases, it can cause the horse to be trampled or killed.
Over the years, horse racing has also suffered from a number of scandals. The deaths of a polo pony named Mongolian Groom and the horse Just Grazed Me at Santa Anita Park in California in 2010 led to new safety rules.
These changes were designed to help ensure the safety of racehorses and track employees, but they were not without flaws. The laws that govern horse racing vary from state to state, and trainers and owners can often violate these laws in one jurisdiction and continue racing in another.