Friday, April 17, 2015

Is horse racing cruel?

It's actually a fairly common belief - amongst people who don't know horses - that racing them is inherently cruel.

Racing is actually the least unnatural of the various things we ask horses to do. Not all horses enjoy a race - but most do. If you line horses up at one end of a field, look at the other and yell go, they'll race - and they'll get quite competitive.

Running bred horses are, of course, selected for this competitive instinct. A quality racehorses knows his job and enjoys his job - getting around the track first. Horses are a flight animal, and race "play" probably prepares them for outrunning predators.

(This is not saying there aren't abuses in the racing field, but inherently, asking horses to race isn't cruel at all - it's natural play for them. They'll do it turned out in the pasture).


  1. My BIL knows a vet who works out at the track. He said he puts down at least one horse every other day they race. While racing itself may not be cruel, whenever something with animals is done for money, the animals come out the losers.

    1. Oh, there's plenty of things that could be improved about racing - personally I'd start with banning race day bute. But it's not an inherently cruel thing to ask horses to do. As for "something with animals is done for money" - that's pretty much everything done with horses these days. I assume you mean, though, the hyper competitiveness?