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Tuesday 5 November 2013

"Racehorses are treated like kings" - Verema's death and reaction on social media

This afternoon I missed out on anything Melbourne Cup related. A few words: school pick up. No time.

I found out the name of the horse who won ('Fiorente', Gai Waterhouse's first Melbourne Cup win), and that was that. Another crazy fashion slash betting year done and dusted.

But then... I saw all over my social media news feeds the news of the death of 'Verema', one of the horses in today's race.

She was put down after suffering a fracture to her right foreleg during the running of the Melbourne Cup.

I was in shock, also mindful I knew NOTHING about the industry.

I posted my sentiments on Facebook and... the responses which followed both shocked and surprised me.

I'd asked an old friend - a longtime veteran in the field of breeding and raising horses - what she thought of it all.

Here is what she said:

"Horse break legs running around paddocks at home - some heal, some don't. It depends on the break and finances of their owners. I'm sure a lot of you know how expensive dog and cat vets are... times that by 300% for larger animals as a minimum.

I can also guarantee there is more wastage and cruelty with your household pets. Racehorses are treated like kings and a huge number ARE rehomed once their racing careers are over into the pleasure industry or other competition pursuits (show jumping, eventing etc)

I get annoyed when people are misinformed by the media extremists. I don't believe that trainers should be targeted as I have read all over Facebook tonight. Owners of these animals are completely responsible for the horses wellbeing after they have finished or if they aren't good enough to continue with."

Said another friend:

"Horses unfortunately cannot recover from broken shoulders/legs. Horses weigh close to half a tonne and that weight is supported through fragile bones in the legs. It is similar to when a dog or cat has a terminal illness and they are put to sleep to stop their suffering. Horses with broken legs have little quality of life and cannot walk or stand and putting them to sleep is the kindest thing we can do. In regards to the knackery, owners have to take more responsibility. We insist when we sell our horses that they are treated in a humane manner, one currently does PR for Royal Randwick, another is with the police. Owners need better information from trainers and the industry to prevent their loved horses from becoming dog meat."

She then added: "Having experience in the industry it is actually more humane to put the horse down if they break/fracture a leg, shoulder etc. It is so very sad but better for the horse. We have had horses that have broken down and it is heartbreaking but ultimately it is the best decision for the horse and done in a very humane manner. The horrible part of the industry is for those horses that are not successful on track and are sent to the knackery. This is something that needs to be looked at."

What are your thoughts?

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