Target: Thoroughbred Racing Associations Executive Vice President Christopher N. Scherf
Goal: Increase the age at which young Thoroughbred horses begin training for racing to five years
Every year, the Thoroughbred racing industry claims the lives of hundreds of young horses. Many more suffer permanent injury and are euthanized; others die on the tracks, or in the brutal speed tests. Though illegal drug use and accidents pay a role in the death rate, the biggest killer of Thoroughbreds is the easiest to remedy: the young age at which they begin their careers. Urge the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to increase the age at which Thoroughbred horses begin training for racing.
Racehorses typically start training at 18 months, when they are just yearlings, and from then on are subjected to the grueling conditions the racetrack demands. Yet they are still developing; horses do not reach physical maturity until five years of age, when most racers are retired.
With underdeveloped bones, joints, and muscles, horses are prone to injury when raced well before they are physically ready. The demands of the racetrack often result in agonizing injury or even death when horses push themselves to limits they cannot physically sustain. Some even begin to bleed into their lungs from overexertion. Others tear muscles or shatter their bones, and are then euthanized, sometimes on the track.
The hundreds of deaths are accepted as simply part of racing, yet so many equine lives could be saved if the racing industry increased the age for racehorses. Given proper time to develop and physically mature, horses would be better able to handle the stress of racing and mortality rates would decrease. Pushing young horses to these extremes costs hundreds of lives, and it is completely unethical. Sign the petition to demand an increase in the minimum age of racehorses to five years of age so as to save the lives of these beautiful creatures.
Dear Executive Vice President Christopher Scherf,
Thoroughbred horses begin their racing careers at young ages, but it is for this very reason that so many of them die. Horses do not physically or mentally mature until age five, and their undeveloped bodies often cannot handle the strain of racing, resulting in breakdowns on the track or during speed tests. Others never enter the racing circuit; they may prove too immature, or injure themselves, and are sold off.
I urge you to increase the age at which Thoroughbreds begin training for the track to age five. Horses typically reach full development at five years old, and are more mentally mature than adolescents. They are stronger, sounder, and more capable of strenuous physical activity. Putting young Thoroughbreds under the strain of racing when they are too underdeveloped to handle it is inherently unethical, and condemns thousands of them to death and injury. The racing industry must take protective action for these young horses, and mandate that training begins only when they have reached physical maturity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Paolo Camera, Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons