Horse Deaths at Saratoga Prompts More Protests

Six horses have died at Saratoga Race Course this year after Domestic Warrior “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal fracture” and was euthanized Monday.  Horseracing Wrongs is the latest equine advocacy group to call out the industry on what they believe is a inhumane sport. On Sunday, August 7, they will lead protests with dozens of protesters at the Saratoga main gate.

“Six deaths are nothing,” said Nicole Arciello, an animal rights activist who heads up the local protest. “Usually, 11 are killed per summer. So many people who go to the track are unaware that horses die.”

She’s a little off on your stats, as the state Gaming Commission takes note and investigates each death, and it calculates that in 2015, 13 horses died at Saratoga. In 2014, 14 horses died. And in 2013, the number was 10. These include horses racing and in training.

Lee Park is director of communications for the Gaming Commission. He notes that “New York state is well below the national average rate of equine fatalities.” The national average of horse deaths is 2.1 horses per every 1,000 starts, and New York has 1.1 deaths per 1,000 starts. .

Horseracing Wrongs is opposed to more than the deaths. The group feels the horses are relegated to stalls for too many hours of the day, are whipped to run faster and retired to slaughterhouses.

“They don’t live out their life in a field,” said Arciello, who writes an Animal Rights blog. “They become food for dogs, for Europeans and the Japanese who use the meat in sushi.”

Protesters will hand out materials at the rally. This is the group’s second Saratoga demonstration this summer: 40 took up placards against horse racing on the track’s opening weekend, when two horses were killed. Horseracing Wrongs is in its third year of rallies at the track.

“A lot of people see it as all glitz and glamour,” said Arciello. “It’s not. We will be there to educate.”

Information on racing-related equine deaths can be found here The deaths are searchable by track, year, type of racing as well as other factors.

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