Monday, May 22, 2006

Poor Barbaro

Those bastards -- I watched what they did to Barbaro the horse on Saturday. He burst out of the gate and, in the parlance, "took a bad step" and came down funny on his hind leg, fracturing it significantly in a bunch of places. Were it not for the quick thinking of the jockey Edgar Prado, the horse might have died right there on the track rather than being recoverable via surgery.

Of course, there's the problem right there -- how frequently horses are destroyed trackside behind a plastic scrim, the only thing that prevents the masses from seeing a horse's death by lethal injection.

I know a great many people who get a lot of enjoyment out of this "sport," but enough already. This is a live animal, not an Indy car. Horses are not treated like living beings in this "sport" -- they are bred eugenically, cleaving their bloodlines ever thinner through a century of inbreeding until they are mere knife-like assemblages of muscle tissue with no hardiness.

Speaking to an apologist the other day, he said, "These animals are bred to run -- they love it! They can't wait to open up on a track. That's what their bodies are designed to do." I don't disagree. They have been bred to do nothing but run. What about what a real, natural horse looks like? They're stockier, shaggier, and more importantly, have thicker legs. I'm sure horses out in nature don't "break down" (again, the industry euphemism of choice) from the mere act of running.

The grievous list of horse racing's inhumane crimes against equinity doesn't stop at the eugenics. The graceful creatures are also juiced to within an inch of their lives with complex serums like clenbuterol, EPO, and lasix, designer drugs that dialate a horse's bronchial system and supress fatigue poisons, all to make them more machine-like in their performance.

The inherent animal cruelty of the industry makes me sick every time I think about it. There is no upside, no saving grace -- this is institutionalized abuse, plain and simple. Barbaro's life was saved, but a miserable equine life of abuse is the foundation upon which this "sport" is based.