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For months a mysterious rash of deaths of racehorses has plagued the racing industry, and now prosecutors have, according to CNN, accused “27 people — horse trainers, veterinarians, and drug distributors — of carrying out separate but related conspiracies to covertly provide performance-enhancing drugs to racehorses.” The FBI investigator, William Sweeney Jr., said, “What actually happened to the horses amounted to nothing less than abuse…They experienced cardiac issues, overexertion leading to leg fractures, increased risk of injury and, in some cases, death.”
Why This Matters: The New York prosecutor in the case did not pull any punches — the indictments level charges against some of the most prominent trainers (and horses) in the sport. The trainers and others did it because they were greedy — and, as the prosecutor said, ” it was the racehorses that paid the price.” They secretly doped the horses and also covered up the scheme — even disposing of the dead horses’ bodies without reporting those deaths. This scandal raises serious questions about the ethics of the sport and its ability to protect the animals at the center of it. The industry, according to a 2017 study, has an economic impact of around $122 billion, employing around 1.74 million people, and is responsible for 7.2 million horses, with Texas, Florida, and California having the highest horse populations.
The Health Impacts on the Horses
According to CNN, the drugs the accused trainers used increased the horses’ red blood cell count, stamina and endurance, as well as relieving pain and reducing joint inflammation, according to the indictment. The horses that died experienced cardiac issues, heart attacks, overexertion leading to leg fractures, increased risk of injury and, in some cases, death. The investigation took two years, but even so, the prosecutors are not able to estimate exactly how much additional money the conspirators pocketed as a result of their doping, and they did not disclose the number of horses involved.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer On Friday, endangered killer whales received new habitat protections from the federal government. As ABC News reported, The National Marine Fisheries Service finalized rules to expand the Southern Resident orca’s critical habitat from the Canadian border down to Point Sur, California, adding 15,910 square miles (41,207 square kilometers) of […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has set a new conservation standard, called the IUCN green status of species. This standard will not only suggest how close a species is to extinction but also how close it is to recovering its original population size and health. […]
As IFAW recently explained, no matter where you live—the valleys of the Himalayas, the Melbourne coastline, or the landlocked prairies of Kentucky—more than 50% of the air you breathe is produced by the ocean. Yet the ocean makes much of that oxygen thanks to little marine organisms called phytoplankton and the marvels of whale poop. […]
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