"It's hard to watch these poor animals running for their lives for people who could really care less if they live," said Dr. Margaret Ohlinger, a track veterinarian at Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack in upstate New York. – New York Times, March 25, 2012
We've known for a long time that the horse racing industry is in serious need of reform. For horses who do not win, auction and slaughter for human consumption overseas has been an all too easy outlet for an industry obsessed with the pursuit of cash winnings at all costs. The ASPCA has focused on passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, but last year, we met with the authors of the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act and heard about the rampant use of drugs to mask pain in racehorses, so we endorsed their legislation to curb this abuse.
This past Sunday's edition of The New York Times provided a disturbing reminder of how very necessary and overdue this legislation is. The Times published a shocking exposé, "Death and Disarray at America's Racetracks," documenting its investigation into racehorse doping and the sharp rise in deaths and injuries to horses and riders.
The article details the rampant use of drugs—how "trainers experiment with anything that might give them an edge, including chemicals that bulk up pigs and cattle before slaughter, cobra venom, Viagra, blood doping agents, stimulants and cancer drugs." The result? The catastrophic deaths of thousands of racehorses. Horses pushed beyond their limits by steroids, stimulants or pain-killing drugs that enabled them to run through injuries up to the point of collapse.
Though the horse racing industry has long promised to restrict the use of performance-enhancing drugs, such voluntary measures have been largely ignored. The worst offenders can easily circumvent the current patchwork of state horse commission rules by moving their operations. Lax or nonexistent oversight allows, and encourages, the use of any means possible—even cruel, life-threatening means—to win races.
"How on earth did we get to this sorry state?" Mr. Strawbridge [prominent breeder and owner] said. "The first reason is that in this country there are no significant consequences for doping horses."
Self-regulation by local horse racing commissions has failed to protect horses and jockeys from rampant drug use. And, the tragic toll on horses and riders is exacerbated at "racinos" (casinos with horse tracks) where there appears to be an even greater disregard for safety.
H.R. 1733/S. 886, introduced by Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Ben Chandler (D-KY) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), would prohibit racing any horse found to be under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs and institute a "three strikes" penalty system.
Take Action Please take action now and ask that your U.S. representative and senators cosponsor the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act. You can contact your Members of Congress at the ASPCA Online Advocacy Center. Until a federal ban on performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses is the law of the land, the lives of thousands more horses and jockeys will be at risk.
Hey, folks, are you ready to go orange for animals? April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month—and one of the best ways you can show your support is by decking out in some orange gear!
Lacking in tangerine threads? No worries, our online store’s got you covered! Plus, by shopping at the ASPCA Online Store, your purchase actually helps us fight animal cruelty. All proceeds go towards ending puppy mill cruelty, busting dog fighting rings and rescuing abused animals across the country!
So what are you waiting for? Right now take 25-50% off all Go Orange products! Orders of $25 or more come with a free ASPCA bumper sticker, and orders of $40 or more come with a free paw-print bandana.
Awesome news! Last week, as we marked the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24), the ASPCA also congratulated Representatives John Campbell (R-California) and Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) for introducing H.R. 4214—legislation that will protect pets and wildlife from Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide.
Already banned in several states, these deadly chemicals are still used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency to kill wildlife considered nuisances by ranchers and landowners. However, unattended traps often expose serious risks to pets and humans.
Compound 1080 is an extremely lethal poison with no antidote. After its misuse led to many human deaths in the 1950s and 1960s, the Environmental Protection Agency banned it. Unfortunately, after intensive lobbying from the livestock industry, the poison was re-approved in the 1980s for use in "Livestock Protection Collars," devices worn by sheep and other livestock that release the poison when punctured by wild predators.
M-44 devices are traps that release a deadly dose of sodium cyanide when an animal makes contact with the device. Often left unmarked, these devices endanger roaming pets. Just last year in Texas, a pet dog named Bella was killed by an M-44 device containing sodium cyanide set by Wildlife Services less than a mile from her family’s home.
"Compound 1080 and M-44 sodium cyanide capsules are lethal, dangerous and unnecessary poisons," says Representative DeFazio. "I am pleased to support this legislation, which would halt the use of these needlessly dangerous poisons permanently."
Busted! ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents have arrested Brooklyn resident Daniel Lawson for allegedly slicing the leg of his two-year-old male cat, Velet.
On Saturday, March 17, Agents responded to a complaint that a cat was brought into Animal Care & Control’s Brooklyn facility with a severe, six-inch cut to his right hind leg. Agents quickly brought Velet to ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. An ASPCA investigation determined that Lawson inflicted Velet’s wound with a metal bar.
Lawson, 24, was arrested by ASPCA Special Agent John Akdikmen and charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Lawson is due in Kings County Criminal Court on April 25.
ASPCA veterinarians expect Velet to make a full recovery. He’ll then become available for adoption!
If you know of an animal whose health is being compromised by neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.
It's ON! We'll be bringing you LIVE updates this weekend from ASPCA Mega Match-A-Thon adoption events across the country! Follow the hashtag #ASPCAMegaMatch on Twitter for event details and LIVE updates of pets across America finding new homes!
Spring is here, people, and it’s time to meet your match—your four-legged match! That’s why the ASPCA is teaming up with dozens of animal shelters across the country for the first-ever ASPCA Mega Match-a-thon! This weekend (March 30-April 1), more than 50 animal rescues across the country are joining forces to co-host some epic adoption events. The ASPCA threw in almost $500,000 to help them adopt out a whole bunch of cats and dogs.
“We hope the grant funding will help these rescue organizations—in collaboration with other groups in their community—save a record number of lives during the ASPCA’s ‘Mega Match-a-thon’ event,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “If we all work together, we can find loving homes for the many homeless animals in shelters across the country.”
So what can you do to help? So much! Check it out:
First, find out if there’s an adoption event near you this weekend by visiting your local shelter’s website.
Second, go to said event and adopt, adopt, adopt! You can also volunteer your time; shelters can always use an extra hand or four.
And, finally, don’t forget to spread the word! Share this article on Facebook and Twitter and make sure everyone makes adoption their first option this weekend and every day of the year.
To see the cute mugs of adoptable animals in your area, visit our nationwide database of cats and dogs looking for good homes.