Horse races support a lucrative business in which thousands of animals are the object of ruthless exploitation in order to obtain financial gain from their performance.
To satisfy the demand for new specimen, the mares selected as breeders are subjected to successive pregnancies during their fertile life, through artificial insemination. After each birth, the foal will be prematurely separated from the mother to begin training, causing immense suffering to them both.
Only a small percentage of the thousands of horses reared to compete will be declared fit for this purpose. The rest will be considered useless and their destination is, in general, the abattoir. Those who do fulfil the physical and behavioural standards which the business is founded upon will be subjected to extremely hard training that begins when the horse is one and a half years old. At that time, the musculoskeletal system is still developing, and, in spite of their immaturity, the young animals will have to tolerate strict working sessions in which they are forced to run until exhaustion and carry large weights on their backs, causing excessive strain to their bones and joints.
Mistreated race horses:
Horses used for racing are subjected to an unnatural, reduced and energy-rich diet, which maximises muscle growth and activity levels. As a consequence of this food, a chronic increase in stomach acid is produced, which results in gastric ulcers in 90% of the animals. In addition, the excessive exercise forced upon them and the extreme fatigue which it results in causes 82% of racehorses over 3 years old to suffer lung haemorrhage, and all of them suffer bone weakness which can make them vulnerable to injury during races. Similarly, many young racehorses suffer from myalgia in their shins due to lack of rest, experiencing intense pain at the slightest contact. On many occasions, injured animals are forced to continue competing and are given hormones, bronchodilators, clembuterol or morphine so that their suffering does not affect their speed.
During the race, the horses suffer extreme physical and psychological stress and are systematically spurred on and violently whipped on the neck, shoulders and hind quarters.
In cases of serious fractures which would require long convalescences and large costs to recover from, the animals are cast aside and murdered. In the best case scenario, racehorses can remain in competition until 4-6 years of age, at which time racing performance declines. Then, exhausted and with multiple injuries, they are discarded and end up in the abattoir or sold at a low price to individuals who, in many cases, are ignorant of the needs and costs of maintaining the animals and keep them in miserable conditions.
Horse races are the source of suffering and death for thousands of animals which are considered mere machines, competing to serve the industry.