UNBELIEVABLE! Horse Racing Exposed: From Cradle to Grave
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UNBELIEVABLE! Horse Racing Exposed: From Cradle to Grave

August 14, 2019

Horse racing is all about the thrill. It’s
about the speed, the rush, the adrenaline, the challenge, the sound of hooves pounding
the track, the sight of extreme physical exertion, the pushing of boundaries human and horse
alike. And more than anything else, it’s about the money. Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome
to another vegan nugget. Above all else, horse racing is a business and a multi-billion dollar
one at that. It’s not for the love of the sport and certainly not for the love of the
horse, it’s for the love of money. This video is the third in my series on horse ethics.
In the first, we looked at horse riding in general and the musculoskeletal damage that
it causes and in the second took a closer look at the effects of the bit in particular.
Now, not everyone can agree on the ethical nature of horse riding itself, including many
vegans. But horse racing takes the commodification of horses to a whole other level that should
even give the most staunch non-vegan pause. With money as the priority, horses are treated
as no more than cash machines. This so-called sport is rife with cruelty on so many levels
and I’ll do my best to touch on as many of them as possible. Please reference the
blog post for this video linked here and in the video description for further articles
and resources. The cruelty of horse racing begins long before the track. Racehorses are
genetically manipulated and bred to run as fast as possible. Their lives begin at a stud
farm where mother horses are forced to be pregnant 90% of their shortened lives through
the use of drugs like prostaglandins and the alteration of their environment in order to
manipulate their natural cycles. Once born, potential racehorses are ripped from their
mothers, who are immediately impregnated again until they can no longer produce foals and
are sent to slaughter. Having been separated from their mothers, these newborn foals need
sustenance and are nurse by what are called “nurse mares”- horses with lower pedigrees
who are impregnated simply to produce milk for the racehorse foals. The children of the
nurse mares are of no use to the industry and because it’s illegal to send horses
under six months to slaughter, many are killed by a brutal clubbing or are simply left to
starve to death. They are then skinned to produce high-end leather products, known as
cordovan leather, and their meat often sold for human consumption. A 2009 report from
The Jockey Club stated that approximately 49,817 mares were bred that year, meaning
approximately 49,817 by-product nurse foals were needlessly slaughtered. And that’s
only in the United States. This horrific cycle of forced pregnancies, stolen children and
premature death closely mirrors the dairy industry, wherein mother cows have their calves
taken at birth and slaughtered for veal so that humans may consume their milk. Unfortunately, being bred as a potential racehorse
does not save the other foals from a similar fate. Out of the hundreds of thousands of
potential racehorses bred in multiple countries every year, only 5-40% will go on to race.
The remainder are either sent to slaughter for human consumption or pet food, re-entered
into the breeding industry, or sold for lower-tier racing, which has even less safeguards and
regulations. While the consumption of horse meat is taboo in many societies with even
regular consumers of other animal products balking at the idea of eating horses, what
many people don’t realize is that horse slaughter is simply the back-end of horse
racing. Just as the egg industry has no use for male chicks and grinds them up alive or
gasses them, so too are the horses not deemed fit enough for racing discarded as industry
waste. For those horses who do make the cut to race,
it’s just the beginning of a tortured existence. Race horses typically begin rigorous training
when they are around 1.5 years old, long before their bodies are fully developed and their
skeletons mature. According to the text Practical Anatomy and Propaedeutic of the Horse, the
length of time for complete growth of the epiphyseal plates, or cartilage, is not until
they are (on average) between 6 and 9 years old. The extreme training demands put on these
vulnerable young horses leads to a tragic preponderance of fractures and breakdowns,
leaving them finished by the age of 4-6. This footage of a young filly in a speed trial
shows the audible crack [loud crack] of her cannon bone as her body is pushed beyond its
natural limits. These injuries, more often than not, seal a horse’s fate as they are
deemed to expensive and troublesome to treat. On average 24 horses die per week on racetracks
across the United states, with numbers in Australia as high as 68/day or 25,000 a year.
The injuries aren’t all external breaks- the demands of racing cause a large proportion
of horses to bleed into their lungs and windpipe, called Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage,
with a University of Melbourne study finding that 50% of race horses had blood in their
windpipe and 90% have blood deeper in the lungs. Their high concentrate diets of grains
also leads to gastric ulcers with a study in the Veterinarian finding them present in
89% of horses with many of them developing deep, bleeding ulcers just within 8 weeks
of the commencement of their training. When not tossed aside as too expensive to
treat, injured horses are pushed to keep racing with the aid of dangerous drugs. Pain medication
can mask injury, allowing wounded horse to run harder, further endangering their lives-
as many as 90% of horses that break down have pre-existing injuries. Journalist Max Watman
explains that because “thoroughbreds are bred for flashy speed and to look good in
the sales ring … the animal itself has become more fragile” and that “to keep the horses
going,” they’re all given Lasix (which controls bleeding in the lungs), phenylbutazone
(an anti-inflammatory), and corticosteroids (for pain and inflammation). Injured horses
aren’t the only ones drugged, however. Former public relations manager for Churchill downs
Alex Straus says, “There are trainers pumping horses full of illegal drugs every day. With
so much money on the line, people will do anything to make their horses run faster.”
This includes chemicals that are made to bulk up pigs and cattle before slaughter, as well
as blood doping agents, thyroid medications, stimulants, Viagra, cobra venom, and cancer
drugs, among others. In addition to being chemically pushed to
perform, horses are brutally whipped during races in what is probably the most public
and societally endorsed form of animal abuse today. The racing industry assures that whips
must be padded and when used properly only stimulate a horse, not cause pain. However,
according to a study by professor and veterinarian Dr. Paul McGreevy, the padding failed to protect
horses in 64% of strikes and 83% of whip impacts showed visible indentation of the skin, with
some 75% of strikes hitting the horse’s flank even though that’s against the International
Agreement On Breeding, Racing, and Wagering. Dr. McGreevy also found that 70% of strikes
were delivered “backhand” and were thus not counted under the rules limiting the number
of strikes. In many countries, the number of times a horse may be struck during a race
is only limited up till the last 100 meters, at which point horses may be whipped ceaselessly.
This piece of ballistic plastic consistent with a horse’s flesh, shows the impact of
a standard single whip strike. Dr. McGreevy himself took this further and did a thermograhpic
study of his own leg after delivering a standard blow to his thigh. These white areas show
inflammation 30 minutes after the single blow. Whip proponents argue that horses are much
larger animals and have thicker skin and a higher pain tolerance. There is nothing to
support this claim and McGreevy points out that horses can feel even a single fly landing
on their skin as evidenced by the characteristic shake called the “manniculus reflex.”
It is rather naïve to assume being beaten repeatedly with a blunt object is a pain free
experience. Racehorses are also subjected to the use of metal bits, the impact of which
I’ve extensively detailed in this video. It’s important to note, however, that the
bits used in racing are even more severe than those used for equine sports. Horse whisperer
Frank Bell states that, “Racehorses have bits in their mouths pretty much their whole
lives… A lot of jockeys actually balance on the horse’s mouth so often [its mouth
is] destroyed…” When off the track, horses in training are
stabled for the majority of the day. This is the most practical way to “store” a
horse, however, this isolation robs them of social and environmental stimulation. Stabled
horses can developed a number of neurotic behaviors such as crib-biting, where they
bite on fences and other fixed objects, as well as swaying back and forth and self mutilation. After all of this pain and suffering, you’d
think that racehorses would be rewarded in the end, especially the champions. But these
animals are treated as disposable commodities, regardless of their achievements. When a horse
is no longer able to perform or his or her performance is no longer deemed adequate,
he or she tossed aside like so much garbage. Those who break down on the track are euthanized
on the spot and sent off to rendering plants for pet food and byproducts or simply dumped
in a junkyard like this horse. Those who don’t die or are killed on the track are sometimes
downgraded to lower-level racing, like jumps racing, which caries up to 20 times more fatalities
than flat racing and has far less regulations and standards. The final destination for most
failed racing horses is slaughter, where captive bolts are often sloppily and ineffectively
used, prolonging the painful and terrifying death of these long-abused animals. Even champions
who won their owners hundreds of thousands of dollars are sold for a pittance. From cradle to grave, racehorses live tortured,
terrifying, brutal, and completely thankless lives. This is what happens when money is
placed above the lives of sentient beings. And this is the true face of the so-called
“Sport of Kings.” Thank you for watching and please share this
video around to spread the message. Give it a thumbs up if you found it effective and
to support messages like this one, click on the Nugget Army icon and join our community
on Patreon to keep Bite Size Vegan educating. If you’re new here, be sure to hit the big
red subscribe button down there for more awesome vegan content every Monday, Wednesday and
some Fridays. And be sure to check out the first and second video in the horse ethics
series. Now go live vegan and I’ll see you soon! Subtitles by the Amara.org community

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Lots of ex race horses have second careers as eventers or basically any discipline if they can not jump.

  2. My sister trained and cared for harness race horses. Her husband was a top driver. She would never, never, ever hurt an animal. But some of the stories from that race track are horrible. My sister had aΒ water therapy pool built and saved horses from slaughter. That was decades ago and I'm sure the race industry is much worse now.

  3. I do think that she is talking about the worst side of the racing industry there are yards that look after their horses and treat them with respect I also think that horse racing in america is worse than horse racing here in britain hardly any horses die in flat races and occasionly some die in jump races. just to make sure i love horse I've loved them since I was a little toddler so I am against all cruelty to horses and any other animals for that matter.

  4. this irritates me to know that everyone actually thinks that this stupid ass "Bite Size Vegan" bitch all of a sudden knows everything about horse racing. like shot TF are you. and as for everyone who thinks horse racing is cruel and inhumane needs to go see a doctor

  5. I would like to very respectfully clarify some things that I believe to be untrue in this video. First of all many of the facts in this video have been blown way out of proportion it is true and sad that these terrible acts do occur but more often than not race horse babies remain out a in a large green field until they are ready to begin training when they are older. Although it is tragic that many race horses are broken because they begin training too early, most of them are sold into other disciplines or just as a happy family pet. There are hundreds of OTTB (off the track thoroughbred) as well as retired racehorse programs that work hard and have made a huge impact in finding new and loving homes for race horses off the track. For example, a very successful horse called The Foreman went to the top level of eventing with one of eventing's legend Phillip Dutton and is now living a happy life in a big green field where he has retired. At the beginning of his career though, he was a terrible race horse never even finished a race but he did not get sent to slaughter he was bought by a loving owner who gave him to Phillip to train. I live up in the country where just to get to the grocery store I pass six or seven race horse breeding farms and in the spring I see all of the adorable little babies lying down under the sun with their mothers beside them in huge fields several acres large. In addition many racehorses get very good treatment when they are not on the track, from water treadmill to acupuncture and massages, they may not be running free in the wild but they are not definitely not suffering. To say that nothing horrific happens in horse racing is a lie, but to display only the worst attributes of it and peg it as the whole truth is completely misleading.

  6. The horse racing in the United States is completely different to the uk horse racing. Please educate yourself on both sides of horse racing not just the bad parts

  7. I have always hated horse racing (both galloping and trotting) here in sweden because people only see the money and exploiting the horses, but this was so much worse than I'd ever imagined it could be… Not entirely this bad in sweden, all foals are kept with their own mothers until at least 6 months old, and if a horse gets whipped "too much" then the rider or driver gets suspended and have to pay a fee. There's alot of animal welfare rules, but not enough too save the horses from exploitation and injuries. A race horse that can't race is worth nothing. I can go to the closest race horse owners and for sure get a horse for free so they don't have to put it down, or they know of someone who has one they'd like to get rid of. I cried so bad after seeing this. My heart is broken because of this cruelty.. how can people even…

  8. The so called"Horse racing", "Animal agriculture" and other forms of animal exploitation are CRIME AGAINST NATURE. Created, supported, allowed and promoted by cold – hearted, ignorant, selfish, greedy, vicious, individuals. Emily, thank you for being you.

  9. I work at a racetrack, and im friends with A LOT of owners and trainers. They treat those horses better than the hosptial treats their patients. I am a hotwalker. I love my horses i walk. If i see someone do something to the horses i don't like, I tell them off. That is RARE that the horses get beat. I also understand that the horses do get put to sleep if they cannot get back up or has a broken leg. Its better for tgem to not suffer and go to Heaven, then not be able to walk ever again and still have the pain. A lot of people need to WORK at the track before TALKING about it…..

  10. I, as an equestrian, am appalled at the actions of race horse owners, I enjoy racing my horse but in a FUN way, letting her run when she wants to and stop when she wants to, she enjoys racing her friends, and gets very excited, I love the thrill but I love my horse more and if she was injured I'd do anything to make her better again, my friend saved her horse as a yearling from a slaughter house, he was sent to slaughter as he was deemed unfit for racing and was not fast enough, he's very happy now and has a good life, to be honest I, quite happy he wasn't fast enough as cruel as that sounds, because if he was just that bit faster, he'd have to deal with this abusive lifestyle, and has a happy, abuse free lifestyle at my friends farm with my horse and my other friends' horses. Unlike your other horse videos, I agree with this video.
    Note: he is now ridden bitless with no whip, a halfpad to protect his back and a numnah for extra protection.

  11. My horse is a rescue from the race track, she broke down and was still ran she had muscle/tissue damage, and was supposed to be sent to slaughter. The rescue thought they'd have to put her down due to her damage but she's a miracle mare and healed (: she now lives a life of ease as a pleasure horse and is spoiled and treated like a queen. I love her so much and have always hated racing. Can't imagine anyone hurting her πŸ™

  12. reseach soaring in Tennessee walking horses please. abuse happens in all arenas involving horses. we have a Tennessee walking horse (not ridden). the cruelty involved with Tennessee walking horses is mind boggling. yes, soaring is illegal. However, it is very difficult to enforce. at shows when the inspectors arrive, a huge amount of entrants leave.

  13. Horse racing is one of the most unethical practices in the world. They are whipped and forced to run for their lives for our thrill of betting. Many people will say that horses won't feel the crop because their skin is thick, or they won't feel it because they're big and won't feel as much. Their skin is only about two mm thick on their sides, and they are whipped so much that they live a shorter life. It's cruel and should be stopped.

  14. listen i know you care a lot about horses witch is so awesome i do too but you need to know we don't race for the money we do it cause we love it

  15. Will you make a video on Tennessee Walking horses abuse? Just found you yesterday by the way and I'm very pleased I did^-^

  16. I feel like you should do a video about "Big Lick" with Tennessee Walkers that equestrians, like myself, can also agree with.

  17. i really want you to upload this to facebook so i can share considering its the melbourne cup here in australia tomorrow

  18. I believe that riding and bits aren't cruel but I believe that racing is very cruel and mean I believe whips are very mean to

  19. honestly who told you this where did you find it. this imformation is wrong we do ride because we want money if anything were poor. we spend our money on our horse .what your basically saying is that we dont care about the horse and we only care about the money but if we didnt care about the horse we wouldnt race and im not saying this is what we do but if we didnt spend are money on the horae we would not win and we dont. care about wibning we care about fun.

  20. as i said your not a jockeye so boohoo about you vegans except all the vegans equestrians out their and yes we can be vegan

  21. Not all race horses have bad out comes I have an ex race horse not all race horses go to slaughter or become breeding mates ect yeah my horse gets nervous around people that touch his neck as he had been doped when raced

  22. This is absultly horrid. Jump racing is even worse, i watched one video and i saw many horses break bones and necks while people cheered, it sickens me, some horse riding is OK. But this is NOT

  23. When i get a horse of my own in the future i plan on going to the slaughter house, i will be in tears by all of those i can't save but i can try to make a difference at least by rescuing one horse

  24. In Australia at the sale yards there are ALWAYS horses under the age of even 3 months (some only being a few weeks old) so maybe that only happens in America.

  25. 4:00 God, that is disturbing ;_; Please someone say that horse died not long after, it would be cruel to make it live any longer!

  26. Not all horses in horse racing are abused. Yes I agree that it is not good for the horses. But please, for the love of god, do more research. Not all mares are drugged and forced into pregnancy for race foals. I can name 5 horses I know and have met that raced and won, and were bred by small farms.

  27. Thank you so much for the video and for french subtitle, now i know what is really happen and it's soooooo cruel i hateee them all for that !!!!!!! Je hais cette maltraitance des chevaux! et j'espere qu'un jour les courses seront interdite dans le monde !!

  28. Horses are much more delicate sensitive creatures than you know.
    They are emotional beings and can sense what you are feeling in side. and able to adapt to YOU as a rider.
    When I am on my horse I become one with my horse. We are completely in sync. A connection in spirit. You clearly don't know the value and worth of this. There is a reason why they say horse riding is therapeutic. There is a reason why people with disabilities heal and show massive improvement when horse riding. This is a Godly animal. Do you know how much a horse can teach you? clearly not. Sad you will never know. You only see ONE side.. The bad side. you don't look at the value.
    There is a right way and then there is the wrong way
    My horse is very happy, lives outside in a huge pasture. she loves it when I ride..you know when a horse is happy go lucky.

    She chooses with her subconscious mind to stop.
    its her choice, I don't force her to do anything
    but you, you know everything

    I am a vegan but I will never stop horseriding. horseriding is NOT only about the things you say.
    not everyone is jockeys and not everyone send their horses to the slaughter houses. Stop being so stereotypical! not everyone works like this! I don't whip my horse EVER!!!!!. I don't even kick!! I simply squeeze super light. I don't use bits and I don't do shoes

    this is sad but, not everyone works like this ..sick!

  29. I have worked in the horse-racing industry. This is crap. These horses are treated like royalty. You people watch too many movies; movies where anxious owners poison other horses (this is IMPOSSIBLE since the stables are guarded and only the officials handle food and water). You think they treat these horses as money machines. Some actually think they kill horses for insurance money. This is extremely rare. If a horse dies, a necropsy (autopsy) is completed. They never just hand over the money. These horses are tested for drugs before a race and if one is found drugged it is removed from the race and the owners face serious fines and penalties, even a permanent ban. Stop believing one video from an idiot with an agenda. I will NOT be back to read any replies. You'll just look like fools who have no education.

  30. I remember going with a friend in high school to the ranch where she rode horses. She was about 150 lbs and they had her riding a pony…on top of that everywhere there acted like Rusty (the small pony) was such an awful horse. Saying that he was too aggressive for riders to be around until they're riding him. I spent every Friday for half a year with Rusty. He was very sweet to me and would even get excited to see me.

  31. "its all about the money"
    bitch I know jockeys and they are the poorest people I know, they do it for the love of the sport not the money.
    Most wakeup way before daylight and work tirelessly all day… yeah but its totally just for the money right?

  32. Im not saying that there isn't fucked up stuff in the racing business, it's not a business I like and I think there is plenty of abuse going on, but this is a gross generalization. And I have never have been to a farm with nurse mares, accept for rescues which use them for orphaned foals. And the thoroughbreds that don't make it to the race business are often vary valuable in other disciplines

  33. You know that the racing industry does not allow artificial insemination, carrier mares, or nurse mares unless the mare dies, right? check ur facts before you make videos

  34. I had to laugh at all the bullshit in this video! Please, next time you plan to make one of these videos look for a reliable source instead of what I like to call "tree huggers". Who are people who go to one horse race and start assuming things or a vet who has most likely never set foot on a track.

  35. I never thought of horse riding like something pleasing but looking at this made me feel like shit. I don't understand how people can be so cruel to the companions that helped them make some thing for a living.

  36. Emily, thank you so much for this. I am currently organizing a protest at a track and this video is gold. Thank you so much for your careful research.

  37. I find nothing wrong with just racing a horse. But if you go ahead and Drug it and do all the other stuff, it becomes a BIG problem. Why do people have to be so mean to them??

  38. πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

  39. your thoughts are very stupid about the bit shit and please don't talk about horses in general if you don't know shit about them you vegan piece of shit respect the fact that horse riding in general is for the passion of horses and they love you so please go and eat your veggies and shut the hell up

  40. A lot of your info is not true… one being that thoroughbreds actually mature a lot sooner then most horses and start racing at the age of 2 because they don’t fully mature until 2 years old

  41. I know horse raceing is very crule
    I had a trotter who was 25 before death;her foal did in a race(4years old)
    I know horse riding can hurt the horse
    But this is shoking for me!
    I have always been a horse lover;this vidio of the horse breaking its legs hurt me really mutch
    The hole of hole of this vidio hurt my heart badly
    I had horse before and Im still riding today and now I do think twise of my chose to rid horse
    I know Im still riding at a riding school and I know I dont use a whip on a horse and I fell soo bad for the horse with the bit and stuff

    And your right;I aggre with you

  42. OMG! The snaffle bit is the most gentle bit. Not a lot of leverage for steering, thus the need for the whip. You are so misinformed.

  43. So much misinformation. The use of nurse mares is inaccurate. Yes, when a mare dies a nurse mare (usually one who lost her foal) is the solution. It's not the 1:1 as you would like people to believe. I invite you to come take a ride with me and you will see the Thoroughbred foals with their birth mothers. Do you know how many organizations there are in the world committed to retraining and rehoming Thoroughbreds who retire or just aren't cut out for racing? Get your facts straight.

  44. Horses are livestock property not humans and people have the right to-do what they please with their property (animals).And I must say veal is delicious!!!πŸ’―

  45. This is nothing but nonsense Bite Size Vegan

    All the things you are saying here is not true at all Bite Size Vegan

  46. Umm ok fist off not every one does that second being vegan is not that good yes it is healthy but then you would run into the problem of having to many animals then you wouldnt have a choice but to kill the animals because there eating your gardens oh and if you live in a subdivtion just rember one thing your pushing animals out of threre homes like birds deer hogs exc so you should think twice about what yall
    Are saying so yeah yalls little chant about stop animal crulity your helping with the cruelty

  47. Just wandering do you have any proof of all these claims. I'm not saying I don't believe what your saying but can you back up what your saying

  48. I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was this bad thank you for sharing
    Love all your videos❀️🌱

  49. Your claims are probably more right than wrong, but horse racing allows the horse to exist in a world where it no longer has value for anything else.

  50. So sad. I am sitting here watching the zombies around me cheer for the 144th Kentucky derby. They are all oblivious and naive. It makes me sick to my stomach. This cruel world. πŸ˜ͺ

  51. I watched "Horse Sense" again after being Vegan for a couple months, and I couldn't believe I missed the hypocrisy of the younger boy being against horse racing cruelty but being fine with branding the cattle.

  52. In the end, it's always the animal that suffers. This world is in desperate need of compassion and pure love! πŸ™

  53. It is also an unfair sport with rules that are too loose to really classify it as a sport.

    A trainer can declare a non runner as they see fit. If a horse is not fit it should be declared early in the morning to be checked out. Should it be declared late the whole event must be cancelled.

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