If you love placing bets at the racetrack we're about to change your tune. Inside the enticing world of horse racing, some dark secrets hide underneath the surface that will make your stomach turn and question this sport altogether.
The Cost Of Winning
Estimates suggest that thousands of healthy race horses are sent abroad from the U.S. (even if they're champs) to countries like Belgium, France, Italy and Japan to slaughterhouses where they are shot several times, have their spinal cords severed or stabbed before they suffer a horrifying death.
Jockeys use a riding crop made of leather to whip the horse into speeding up as they approach the finish line. Some also use air-padded whips. The horse suffers up to 30 stinging and painful hits per race resulting in diminished concentration and a great deal of physical and psychological distress.
Racing results in pain and injury. But if they're champion horses and they have to race, they'll be injected with morphine to mask the pain. Caffeine and anabolic steroids are also used but some opt for a substance called "elephant juice" which is harder to detect. Tubes are also inserted into their noses to pump electrolytes, sugar and baking soda into their stomach to make them run faster.
When foals have been rejected by their own mother or orphaned, owners will use a foster milk mare, whose own child has been killed because it may have been deemed unworthy, to feed the foal. In most cases, the foals are skinned alive and their meat gets sold.
For Insurance Purposes
Highly prized horses are often insured for millions of dollars. So it's no surprise that some owners get pretty greedy and in some cases stage what looks like an accidental death due to injury to collect the insurance money. Insurance companies are often suspicious but regardless of the outcome, a dead horse is a dead horse.
Forced To Breed
Just days after giving birth, a mare is forced to mate. But if she resists the stallion's advances then she gets tied down and drugged. Essentially, the stallion is used to perpretate the mare who can offer no resistance under the circumstances. Retired race mares are often kept to breed more horses until they die from pregnancy-related problems.
Too Young To Ride
Not every owner waits for their horses to reach maturity before racing. Sometimes they'll force their 2 or 3-year-old horse, whose skeletal structure is still developing, to race. As a result, they end up experiencing stomach ulcers, heart problems, arthritis and weak bones that break. In most cases, these horses retire by the age of 5 and likely end up in the slaughterhouse.