Report on Horse Racing and Its Widespread Abuse of Animals

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 5:00pm
Race horses

Although it’s Triple Crown season, the horse racing industry has little to celebrate. A grim cloud of animal cruelty and cheating continues to hang over the sport.

The New York Times recently published the latest article in its series about the widespread, dangerous practice of racehorses being drugged—the drugs enable horses to run through pain and gain a competitive edge. The Times piece revealed that Steve Asmussen (the second-most-winning trainer in thoroughbred racing, with career earnings over $214 million) and some of his associates stand accused of animal abuse after an undercover video proved that many of the horses in Asmussen’s care were subjected to cruel and illegal training methods, including doping and electric shocks.

The video provides irrefutable evidence of what we’ve known for decades: In the race to compete, horse welfare finishes dead last. In 2012, a New York Times exposé revealed that 24 thoroughbreds die at American racetracks every week. The Jockey Club found that thoroughbred racehorses in the U.S. are dying at twice the rate of racers competing in other countries—not surprising given that the U.S., unlike most other countries, has no uniform medication rules for horse racing.

It is time to clean up the U.S. horse racing industry by passing the federal Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act (HISA), H.R. 2012/S. 973. Introduced by Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in the House, and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) in the Senate, this bill will ban performance-enhancing drugs in U.S. horse racing and designate the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as the governing body to create and oversee the implementation of uniform medication rules to protect horse welfare. The Jockey Club recently acknowledged the importance of this bill and agreed that the USADA “has the experience, the knowledge and the credibility to bring much-needed integrity to our sport.”

You can help move this life-saving legislation over the finish line. Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to support the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act, H.R. 2012/S. 973.

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you're so right. we need stiffer penalties right here in our country! we need to practice what we preach!


I agree with you 100% people that inflect pain and suffering on helpless defenseless animals are demonic and evil. I can not believe that in US people tolerate such barbaric behavior.

Random Person

Wow, so true Zach.

Random Person

I completely agree, Lorelei, if I had my own horse, she would never set hoof on a race track.


People need to call and e-mail their members in Congress but even more importantly demand their local tv, national tv report these stories. Notice how nothing is being seen about this subject? Also DEMAND HORSE SLAUGHTER BE BANNED permanently! If this is not passed FIRST, then other legislation will just result in a faster conveyor belt of horses being sent to slaughter which is the most heinous act of all to a horse. A LAW MUST BE PASSED that a horse too injured or incapable of being rehabilitated be compassionately euthanized, not sent through the horrific torture of slaughter. People have the moral and ethical duty to insure this practice is done. Horses are making billions of dollars annually for breeders, tracks, trainers, the feed and supplement industries, jockeys and vets. It is inexcusable to treat these magnificent animals in the current manner.


Thank you. I agree.

Alis Wisel

I do wonder why the ASPCA's report here seems to indicate that the NY Times is the source of this particular bit of activism. If you click through to the NY Times article, you will see that it was actually PETA.


PETA people are insane!!!


Whoa there girl! I am a huge PETA member and activist, and I can tell you that I am not insane. I am also an ASPCA member, Nature Conservancy member, and locally support Denver's Foothill Animal Shelter and many, many others. All decent organizations try their best to help the animals they can, but some get more media attention because they have to go to greater lengths to do bigger things.

DK Skladany

PETA is a radical organization who does not want the best for animals --look at their record of euthanizing animals. They also have an agenda. As disturbing as this video is --it is not the whole picture and videos can be edited. Some comments in the video show ignorance as well. We are quick to condemn all. Life is not black and white and it is clear to me that people do not know or want to know horses and horseracing.