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Are racing horses cruel? – Santa Anita Park Horse Racing Entries

It’s a valid question and it’s actually a very relevant one which has always existed. There’s a lot of history. One, we’ve never really had a really good answer to it. Two, to try to solve a mystery like that is never something we’ll do. It’s an entirely valid question.

The horses are trained. We’ve got about six days that we can keep our horses. They’re not all in the paddock, they’re all mucking around in the paddock. They are allowed to muck at. When they go to the paddock there is a whole range of things that are allowed. But the horses are on the track all the time.

You’ve worked on horses before, correct?

Right. I’ve been involved in working and racing a large number of horses in Europe, the UK in particular. One of the greatest challenges we had, I think, was when we went out for a race, the race day, it was just impossible. We could barely manage it. They were like all the other racing horses, like an army of them in the stable.

With racehorses, you can’t possibly get them out of a stable quickly enough and it’s just been horrendous. This is from doing the research when I arrived.

The other side of that equation is, why is it a racing horse? You could make a very nice long term career out of that. You could travel the world and be involved in that sport.

But that’s not how it is. It’s just not. You can do something that is really meaningful – a horse racing career like the one we were doing in Europe, traveling the world working at high class racing horses – but the racing industry as a whole is such an enormous industry that for the majority of people, the idea of trying to work in that is simply not a possibility, or even something that is conceivable.

What about the fact that the horses can be treated in very unsanitary ways by trainers in front of them?

That is an issue. There are some cases in racing. One example would be where there’s a small amount of fluid in the horses’ nostrils and the nose needs to be flushed.
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Sometimes the noses are clean when the horses are ridden and then the nostrils get a little bit stuck in the nasal mucosa. It doesn’t get flushing, so it gets stuck around there. At that point the horse can’t breathe.

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