EDITORIAL MORE DETAILED TRACK RECORDS HORSE RACING SAFETY RAISES ISSUES OF HUMANENESS ; Horse Racing Safety Raises Issues of Humaneness

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), May 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

EDITORIAL MORE DETAILED TRACK RECORDS HORSE RACING SAFETY RAISES ISSUES OF HUMANENESS ; Horse Racing Safety Raises Issues of Humaneness


HORSE racing's main event, the annual Kentucky Derby, will be held Saturday amid new concern for the health of the sport and its athletes.

A House subcommittee took testimony this week on whether to impose federal regulation on the use of equine medications, which are widely blamed for making racehorses more susceptible to injury. This followed a voluminous New York Times report in March detailing racing's dangers to jockeys and horses, raising humanitarian issues.

The article appeared soon after HBO's cancellation of the racetrack drama "Luck" - because of the accidental deaths of three horses used in filming - prompted questions about the safety of real- life racing.

Answering these questions is particularly important in California, where horse racing has lost a lot of its popularity but still draws nearly $3 billion in bets per year.

This will require more agreement about the basic facts, even if lawmakers and journalists have to pry them out of racing associations.

The New York Times' statistics on deaths and injuries were disputed by racing executives and other journalists. The newspaper also was criticized for tarring American racing with too broad a brush, ignoring differences among states and breeds. But reporters trying to quantify racing's dangers face an enormous challenge, because official data is scarce.

Horse racing does not face abolition - contrary to the wishes of some animal-rights campaigners - but it is vulnerable to market forces. …

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