I'm not sure this is even worthy of a response because unlike a surprisingly large portion of Americans (according to a CNN.com poll, 60% of Americans feel that thoroughbred horses are mistreated) my readers are all probably in agreement here, but it's strikes me as so ridiculous that I feel I have to respond.
Taking advantage of the publicity of the death of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby yesterday, the folks at PETA have come out in support of horses. Here is a portion of the statement released:
PETA is calling for the immediate suspension of jockey Gabriel Saez—who whipped Eight Belles mercilessly as she came down the final stretch, no doubt in agony from two front legs that were about to snap.Now, a couple things strike me about this portion of the quote and I'll hit them first before I post and respond to the most offensive portion. Firstly, as was pointed out in several places today including Tirico and Van Pelt's radio show, if their problem with the jockey Saez is that he whipped the horse "mercilessly" (not sure I agree with the word choice, but I'm no Buzz Bissinger so I'll relent in that critique), why did they single him out? Didn't every jockey whip their horses? I understand that I'm being a little picky as I'm sure the response from PETA would be that their first choice would be to get rid of horse racing altogether, but the fact that Saez was singled out strikes me as very odd.
Secondly, the folks at PETA seem to be suggesting that the injury was preventable. And not in the sense that it would have been prevented had the horse never been involved in racing in the first place. They suggest that the horse was in agony on the final stretch because her legs were "about to snap." Now, I'm no Equilogist (nor am I a veterinarian) and I wasn't in the room when they carved up the poor lady, so I really can't speculate on the cause of the injuries, but apparently if you are a PETA member you can simply know by watching the race that horse was running in such a way that her legs were essentially matchsticks waiting to be snapped. Now how on fucking earth could a reasonable human being come to that conclusion when that horse finished fucking second at the fucking Kentucky fucking Derby (if she were in a ton of pain on the back stretch, me thinks she may have slowed a touch). It's not only blatant and baseless conjecture on the part of the PETA folks, it's so illogical as to undermine their greater point. In order to sustain this line of argument, EVERY FUCKING HORSE WOULD BREAK THEIR LEGS AND DIE. But this isn't the best part so I'm moving on.
Here was the most unsettling portion of the statement:
Despite the wealth associated with thoroughbred racing, for the horses—most of whom end up broken, cast off, or sent to Europe to be killed for the dinner table—it's a dirty business and no better than dogfighting.I'll start by saying that I'm not going to even address the suggestion that Germans are eating horses or turning them into coffee tables (the quote could really be taken either way) as it really has nothing to do with anything. The part I want to get to is the Horse Racing = Dogfighting.
First, shut the fuck up. This is stupid. The PURPOSE of putting dogs in a ring together is for one to injure or kill the other. The unintended consequence of horse racing is injury. And because horses suffer so greatly from the recovery process associated with these injuries (or die anyway through infection or circulation problems), the humane treatment for these injuries is euthanasia. In dogfighting, the dogs get the shit kicked out of them in order to ready them for fights. Many die in training. Thoroughbred horses are perhaps the most pampered animals on earth next to the Kobe Beef Cattle. They are well fed, well bred and get to run around as much as they want. Dogfighting and horse racing couldn't be less comparable on so many levels. So while choosing a brutal sport involving animals that was recently in the news is clever and gives the reader a nice visual comparison, the analogy is so off that it just serves to discredit your greater argument. You can't make outrageous statements like this and expect me to take your greater point seriously. Any chance you had at convincing me that you have the capacity to be reasonable is out the door because my eyes are rolling.
You see, if you want to make the argument that the governing body of horse racing needs to take a look at this incident and see if the horse was ill prepared or the maybe horses today should be better tested prior to a race or whatever, that's fine. Who knows, those concerns may even be legitimate. But if it's the public's support you want, quit reaching into your case of crazy and making statements that are not intended to inform but are instead intended to scare people into taking your side. It cheapens your argument and loses your grip on anyone who would even consider taking your side. I have no idea if thoroughbred horses are being mistreated or if Eight Belles' death could have been avoided (I have my suspicions that this couldn't be farther from the truth) and because of the public deaths the last couple of years I'm almost willing to listen to arguments suggesting that something is amiss. But when the people who have taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the animals rid themselves of facts in favor of fear mongering and outrageous headline making, you lose all credibility with me.