Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!

Hey, guys. Happy Monday (although I admit that it's a little hard to be excited, given the gloomy weather thus far this morning).
Not much to report on since yesterday. We had Mono E practice yesterday, and everything went pretty well. We did some improvising and jamming, and it sounded pretty good (which is how it works- if we're not recording, we're always sure to come up with some cool, new stuff that we'll never be able to replicate).

Anyhoo, I don't have a lot today.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is calling for the suspension of Eight Belles's jockey pending an investigation into the death of the animal when she broke two of her ankles in achieving her second place finish at the Kentucky Derby this weekend.
I'm not necessarily against horse racing, but I think that maybe the sport needs to be reexamined if horses are going to continue to get injured in these sorts of ways while racing (I mean, first Barbaro has to be put down after being injured in the Preakness, and now this?). We need to do a better job of protecting these horses if life-ending injuries are going to begin to become commonplace in the sport. It's been said that more than two racehorses die for every 1,000 starts in dirt track racing, and that modern veterinary medicine may be returning injured horses to the racetrack before horses have time to truly and fully heal.
I'm not looking for an end to horse racing, and I'm one of those people who feels like racehorses really are meant to run (and may seem happiest when doing just that), but there may be a greater need for oversight to prevent these injuries. Everyone loves to see a great race, but not at the epxense of the horse's life.

Well, I gotta run. Hope all's well.


The League said...

These kinds of injuries and the need to put down horses when the injuries are incurred is nothing new to horse racing. My point being, getting the horse racing industry to change their ways will take more than PETA getting their dander up. Horse racing is an ancient sport and is more or less owned and managed by very wealthy people. I wouldn't expect any changes any time soon.

J.S. said...

I think you underestimate the power of animal lovers in this country. People are much faster to defend animals than to defend other people (which, yes, I understand is kind of screwed up). Dog fighting is an ancient sport, too, and it's also been practiced pretty successfully in recent years by people with money and power. Go talk to Michael Vick about animal protectionists "getting their dander up" and how they never changed anything.

Keep in mind that I'm not calling for an end to the sport of horse racing. I just think that between the training, the veterinary care, the breeding, and the way that the horses are actually raced, there has to be room for improvement in the care of these animals. If the sport faces a "change or die situation" (or even a "change or begin to lose spectators and money" situation), I'm willing to bet that it will change. And boycotts and protests outside of racetracks are not the kind of thing that the racing industry really wants to have as part of its image.

J.S. said...

Here's another op/ed piece about why we ought to reconsider the sport of horse racing.

The League said...

I agree that things can change, but I'm much more skeptical about the speed at which it will change. I'm not sure Michael Vick's charges did much to slow dog fighting in the US (which is illegal and underground, anyway. Thus, part of the allure.).

But just as some tried to write off Vick's dogifghting as part of a legitimate lifestyle, I think a lot of folks see horse racing as a huge part of their culture (see: Kentucky). I guess I was trying to say: you're now going to have a bunch of guys who believe they know horses better than anyone on the planet, and who spend hundreds of thousands and millions raising horses, training them getting them the best vet care in the world already... and they've already accepted frequent euthanasia as part of the sport. They may be a bit confused and resistant to PETA telling them how to run their sport. And certainly will not change things overnight.

I guess I'd look at it a bit like when they asked people to quit hunting foxes with packs of dogs which would tear apart the fox. When they went to ban it in England, 250,000 marched in SUPPORT of the sport as a way of life. I just think that's the sort of battle you're going to see take place.

That doesn't mean I agree with folks who see no reason for change, but I'm trying to be realistic about what PETA has in front of it.

J.S. said...

I think that horse racing is sort of a highfalootin' high society type thing, and as such, I tend to see it as MORE susceptible to societal pressure (as opposed to less). Wearing fur coats was very traditional and fashionable as well, but when activists managed to paint it as a cruel practice, the market significantly declined. No one NEEDS horse racing, and a little bad press could go a long way in forcing the industry to clean up its act. I don't think people are going to march in favor of horse racing because a) we're not asking anyone to ban it outright- just make it safer, and b) we don't love our aristocracy in the U.S. the same way they love them in jolly old England. In England tax payers happily support the monarchy. In the U.S. our national pasttime is tearing down the lives of the rich and famous. In the U.S. we side with the horses- not the rich owners. In the U.S. we throw buckets of blood on people who wear fur coats and put nationally famous sports figures in prison who fight their dogs.

The League said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The League said...

Sorry, had to pull dow the previous post due to some severe grammatical errors.

Could be. I guess I'm just a little skeptical how much will actually change unless there are a few more high-profile accidents on the tracks. And, at that, I doubt they will allow the horses to be put down in public ever again in order to protect the PR of the horse races.

I'm curious how much people will actually think about this come next week.

J.S. said...

People will care. Things won't change over night, but changes will occur. I think you underestimate how much the industry fears bad PR, and they can't risk another horse getting seriously hurt soon in another big race or there really will be a really big media outcry (there was a decent sized one following this event- I saw stories about it on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC)

The League said...

I think you're also being unfair to the glue manufacturers. Why will no one think of the glue factory employees?