Thoroughbred Racing: Unjustly Accused (5/8/08) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Thoroughbred Racing: Unjustly Accused (5/8/08)

The death of the filly Eight Belles following Saturday's Kentucky Derby was definitely a tragedy.

But groups like PETA that are using that tragedy to paint thoroughbred racing as a cruel practice -- and calling for everything from the jockey's suspension to the sport's abolition -- are woefully off the mark.

Owners, trainers, jockeys and others in the business have literally billions of dollars riding on these animals. It makes no sense to assume they wouldn't do everything in their power to keep them healthy and happy.

Trainers stake their reputations and livelihoods on keeping their stables as sturdy and fit as possible. The thoroughbred industry itself initiated the move several years ago toward the use of artificial turf at many tracks to lessen the number of injuries. And any use of prohibited drugs is not only likely to be discovered, but dealt with severely.

I am in favor of taking a harder look at breeding practices that may be producing overly fragile animals. But no matter what precautions are taken, injuries - and even death -- occur in every sport from time to time, due to freak accidents.

PETA's fights against obvious examples of animal cruelty like dog fighting or cockfighting have merit. But unfounded, knee-jerk accusations about a sport they have no understanding of whatsoever simply undermines their credibility.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.

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