November 29, 2011
This post kicks off a new blog I’m writing on Forbes.com called Fat Cats. Racing Industry Silent on Slaughtered Thoroughbreds, my first post, appeared today, part of a series on the horse industry and its darker side.
As some of you may know, this summer, my sister Nina and I rescued a five-year-old former racehorse. The process taught me so much about what goes on in the racing world—a topic covered regularly in Forbes.com’s lifestyle section.
The first two posts in my new series trace the route of several horses from the track to auction—but it’s a vastly different sort than what Forbes generally covers.
Out of a total of 138,000 horses sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico in 2010, 16% were Thoroughbreds, some dumped at auction just days after running their last race. They end up there with the knowledge of owners and particularly trainers needing to make room in their stables for newer, more promising horses.
Recent legislation allowing for the reopening of slaughter houses for horses in the U.S. makes this issue extremely timely. Starting with the sport of horse racing, I’ll talk about the relationships between trainers, owners and kill buyers. Later, I’ll cover the involvement of pharmaceutical companies both in overmedicating and overbreeding; the participation of veterinarians; the economic interests of the meat industry lobbyists; the public’s interest in keeping their eyes wide shut; and their blind appreciation of horse movies, horse sports and horse legends.
You’ll find research, information gathered under the Freedom of Information Act, videos and photos. These are hard to look at, but essential to discerning fact from myth on this gruesome subject. My hope is to educate people. It’s one thing to love horses as icons. It’s another to know one personally or be an owner. My new relationship with Princess Madeline has got me rethinking my entire life: not just where I live and how often I ride, but how can I change my living, thinking and eating habits to conform to my new philosophy that all animal exploitation starts—and ends—with the individual.
Welcome to Fat Cats. Please follow me here and on Forbes.com—and read the other posts in the series: