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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.
When quarantine began, many of us were hooked on two things: Animal Crossing and Tiger King. Now, thanks to the hit Netflix docuseries, the federal government and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are having an animal crossover all their own. PETA hopes to use a series of lawsuits against privately-owned tiger and “exotic” animal “zoos” to set a precedent under the Endangered Species Act.
Why This Matters: There is currently no federal law preventing the ownership of wildlife, endangered or otherwise.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The latest victim of the endangered animal trade is the sea cucumber. These creatures, often the butt of jokes due to their suggestive shape and silly name, have been growing in value for over a decade, and have now been aggressively overfished. Sea cucumbers play a crucial role in their ecosystems and the overall health of […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The ocean is warming, and marine life is moving to survive. Tropical waters around the equator were the richest with species, but it’s now too hot for some of them to survive, according to a new study. Looking at 48,661 marine species, the study found marine life drops off […]
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