DawnWatch: 2 lead articles on racing horrors –London’s Times on greyhound slaughter and Chic Trib on horses 7/17/06

July 17th, 2006 12:22 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Jul 16, 2006 6:10 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: 2 lead articles on racing horrors –London’s Times on greyhound slaughter and Chic Trib on horses 7/17/06

Two lead articles today, Sunday, July 16, focus on the dark side of racing. The UK’s Times on Sunday front page includes a story headed, “Revealed: The man who killed 10,000 dogs.” (More below.)

And while we have read much about Barbaro’s injuries in the last few weeks, the Chicago Tribune has a lead story (cover of the Metro section) on another horse, named Warned. The contrast provides a dose of reality with regard to the horseracing industry.

The Chicago Tribune article, headed, “Deaths cast shadow on racing tradition; Claimers at Arlington top fatal leg injuries” opens:

“In slightly more than two years of near-constant racing, the thoroughbred named Warned assembled a record as foreboding as his name.

“He won rarely and lost spectacularly, earning little respect from the handicappers. When he came to Arlington Park’s starting gate June 9, entered in a contest that would prove to be his last, the bay-colored gelding had sunk to the basement of the racing world.

“He was a claimer, one of the nondescript horses that fill two-thirds of thoroughbred races across the country. Though a superstar like Seabiscuit occasionally emerges from their ranks, most are old or unpromising. Racing them, a horseman once said, ‘is like trying to make a living by going through garbage cans.'”

“But the obscure animals are now getting extra attention: At Arlington Park this year, 14 of the 16 horses to suffer fatal leg fractures have been running in claiming races.”

The article explains that “when the horses change hands, which is often, the new owner almost never sees veterinary records that could alert him to trouble.”

Veterinarian Tom Little says is quoted:

“These aren’t pets, these are professional athletes. There’s money involved. If you’re trading away your star pitcher, you don’t tell the other team he’s got a torn rotator cuff.”

And we read, with regard to claim races, “Since wins are rare, owners must cobble together plenty of finishes in the money to stay profitable…. Some research has found frequent racing to be a threat.”

Focusing on Warned, it tells us:

“Six of the claimers that died at Arlington Park this year had a price tag of $25,000 or more, but most were valued at no more than $17,500. The cheapest of them all was Warned.”

We read about his history of being bounced around from owner to owner, and about his bad showing in races, and that, “on June 9 he entered a race at Arlington Park for claimers worth a mere $4,000. He burst from the gate in third place and hung tough until the stretch, when one of his legs gave way.”

Of course a horse valued at $4,000 doesn’t get veterinary treatment for his leg.

You can read the whole article on line here, OR http://tinyurl.com/fwaft.

The Times article (London) headed, “Revealed: the man who killed 10,000 dogs” opens:

“The secret slaughter of at least 10,000 racing greyhounds by one man has been exposed by an undercover investigation.

“For the past 15 years David Smith, a builders’ merchant, has been killing healthy greyhounds no longer considered by their trainers to be fast enough to race. He buries them in a one-acre plot at the back of his home in Seaham, Co Durham.

“Last week The Sunday Times covertly filmed Smith on two consecutive days receiving greyhounds from trainers before killing them with a bolt gun, dumping them in the plot and covering over the ‘graves’ using a mechanical digger.”

The articles says the scandal “has shocked the government and greyhound industry, which attracts bets of £2.5 billion a year” however we read:

“The RSPCA has previously expressed ‘grave concerns’ about the fate of up to 12,000 retired greyhounds that go missing every year. A spokesman said: ‘There is no justification for killing these animals simply because they can’t do their job any more.'”

We learn that Smith charged owners £10 to kill unwanted dogs with his bolt gun and that “a new code of practice proposed under the animal welfare bill would restrict the killing of greyhounds to vets using ‘humane’ lethal injections.”

You’ll find that whole article on line at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2272175,00.html

Both of the articles cited above present great opportunities for letters about the abuse of other animals for human entertainment.

The Chicago Tribune takes letters here, OR http://tinyurl.com/4lsug.

And The Times takes letters at letters [at] thetimes.co.uk

However any mention of animal racing in your local paper presents a similar opportunity so please keep an eye out for the chance to write a letter on behalf of the animals. Some of the smaller papers publish a high proportion of letters they receive. Don’t hesitate to ask me for help if you have any trouble finding the correct email address for a letter to your editor, and I am always happy to edit letters.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to http://www.dawnwatch.com/cgi-bin/dada/dawnwatch_unsubscribe.cgi
You are encouraged to forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts but please do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

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