PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is composed mainly of fanatics--people without any perspective at all.
PETA does not approve of ANY slaughtering of animals for food, which means that you can't pay any attemntion to most of PETA's attempts to attack the meat packing industry. It is not that the meat packing industry is perfect--far from it. Nevertheless, PETA will HYPE "mad ccow" diesease, or FEAR of "unhealthy" beef, beyond anything justified by the facts, because PETA has an agenda. It is the same with horse racing. PETA does not approve of horse raciing at all, which means that you can't pay much attention to PETA's attempts to "reform" horse racing. All such attempts are just steps in a campaign to eliminate horse racing altogether. Yes, PETA may accidentally be right about specific things, on occasion, but PETA is not a reliable source of informatioin. That makes you wonder why PETA has seemingly automatic access to the mainstream media, as "eperts" on care and treatment of animals, despite the extreme bias. That is, you might wonder if you did not realize that the mainstream media is not any more reliable a source of information thatn PETA itself.
This brings us to Eight Belles, which was the horse that had to be destroyed after the Kentucky Derby, as the horse shattered her two front ankles/forelegs after crossing the finish line second. PETA was instantly all over the TV talking about the need for an investigation by Congress, and numerous changes "needed" in the horse racing industry. This was all because of ONE incident involving one horse--the kind of incident that periodically happens in horse racing. Of course I am aware of Barbaro, the horse that broke down in and eventually had to be put down.
When I was growing up, there was a horse called Tim Tam--another "super horse". Tim Tam did better, in 1958, than both Barbaro and Eight Belles. He not only won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but had the Belmont WON in the home stretch, before breaking a bone in his leg and HOBBLING over the finish line in second place. Unlike Barbaro, Tim Tam survived, but that is totally a matter of luck. Here is the Wikipedia descirption:
"After winning the Preakness Stakes, Tim Tam was considered to have a strong chance to capture the American Triple Crown. However, in the Belmont Stakes, coming down the home stretch in the lead that seemed to assure victory, Tim Tam fractured a sesamoid bone and hobbled the last yards across the finish line in second"
Well, you say, maybe this is a normal risk of horse racing, but does that not mean that PETA is right: that we should stop racing horses? Nope. It just means that we have lost all perspective in our "news" media, magnified by 24 hour cable TV.
Are horses getting more fragile because being for sppeed? Maybe. A few incidents certainly do not prove that. But it is an issue for horse breeders. It is noteworthy that horses that race as two year olds seem to be LESS likely to break down than those which don't (one of the "reforms" being to eliminate 2 year old racing).
Are baseball players more "fragile" than they used to be? I certainly seems so. Ditto for football plalyers. Baseball pitchers who pitch complete games are now rare. Pitchers used to pitch every 4th day (sometimes with less rest), and now starting pitchers pitch every 5th day. Walter Johnson went out there year affter year, inning after inning, without injury, and without apparently "straining" his arm. Baseball players are now regularly on the disable list, and football players suffer injury all of th etime (at every level).
Is this mainly because football especially has beome a sport with increasing violent collisions, with bigger and faster players? Sure. That is a matter of physics. The more spped and mass you bring to a collision, the worse it is. Things change. But there is no PETA out there to demand the abolishment of football--which is not to say there are not people out there advocating just that.
Yes, human beings engage in more dangerous sports than horse racing is to horses (jockyes themselves are in a dangerous profession). It is not just football. There is auto racing (Dale Earnhardt). There is boxing (albeit many people want to ban that one). Then there are the REALLY dangerous sports (extreme "sports", mountain climbing, etc.).
PETA suggests that animals have no choice, and that we should therefore not subject them to danger. That is PETA. I don't agree with that logic, and it makes no sense. PETA can't talk to a horse any more than I can. For all PETA knows, horses may LIKE to race. Most race horses are probably better cared for than most animals (horses, or any other kind). Horses are used not only in horse racing, but in cross country, show jumping etc. They are still used on ranches, although not nearly to the extent they used to be. The PETA concept that anmimlas should have nothing but a life of leisure, immune from danger, is--well--preposterous.
As stated, PETA favors (surprise) Congressional "investigation" and Federal regulation. See the previous entry, and yesterday's entry entitled: "Air Travel in the 21st Century".
Is there ANY reason for Federal regulation of horse racing? Of course not. Again, let us go by the fact that such regulation is, or should be, unconsitutional. It makes no sense. States are perfectly able to regulate horse racing in each state. Is there one "drug" policy that is right for horses, and another that is OBVIOUSLY wrong? Nope. You can plausibly argue that a "zero tolerance" policy is best for giving drugs to horses to "help" them race. But that is NOT a sure thing. For example, do we really prevent football and baseball players from taking aspirin, or another mild painkiller, before games. Nope again. There MAY be drugs out there that have nothing but GOOD effects on horses, wihout increasing danger of injury or directly hyping "performance". What about VITAMINS? The idea that there must be ONE, central planning "solution" to horse racig is bizarre. Each state is perfectly capable of coming up with its own regulations.
Now is it pssible that horse racing should have an overall "association", which "standardizes" some rules? Maybe. I don't see any huge need for such an overall governming body, but there may be a use for a VOLUNATARY association (with individual state regulation). Even in law, there is the American Bar Association (which, unfortunately, has become little more than a liberal interest group). However, the idea that we NEED "central planning" "solutions" for horse racing is a truly bad one (as are all central planning "solutions" that are unnecessary--agina, with "necessity" NOT being measured by whether states and private interests are doing things the way you, or PETA, wants them done.
Let us get blunt again. There should NOT be a Federal law against cruelty to animals (as there should not be a Federal law against murder). Yes, that DOES mean that there should not be a Federal law against dog fighting, bull fighting, or cock fighting. Now Michae Vick was convicted of being part of an "interstate" dog fighting operation. What about a law like that. Well, I have a feeling that the law is too broad, as is typical of Federal laws. But using Federal law to prevent interstate operations that violate local laws is one.thing. A Federal law against cruelty to naimals, or specific "sports", is not defensible. These "blood" sports will eventually be banned everywhere, as they basically have been. the idea that we MUST have a UNFIORM policy throughout the country violates the concept of federalism, and common sense.
Don't get me wrong. I favor banning dog fighting, bull fighting, and cock fighting. Those are all sprots where getting an animal hurt is the POINT (unlike horse racing). I just see not excuse for a Federal law on all of thsese things. To make all of these things into a "Fedral case" merely bloats an already bloated Federal Government beyond all reason.
This entry was "inspired" by the half hour ABC "special" before the Preakness, overhyping the "problem" of horse racing injuries. I see no excuse for the hysteria (as distinguished from horse racing interests and states continuing to evaluate improvements). There is really no excuse for FEDERAL regulationi, and the mere mention of it indicates how far we have gone toward adopting as a universal truth the fantasy that Federal "regulatiion" "solves" all problems.