Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paulick, PETA and racing 'Luck'

Ray Paulick has done an admirable job today of trying to separate the truth from the animal-rights movement fiction about the cancellation of HBO's horse racing-based drama "Luck."

I was greatly enjoying "Luck." It was the only series on television I faithfully watched every week. I was even further impressed by the dedication to the production and its fans displayed by cast members John Ortiz (@johnortiz718), Tom Payne (@justanactor) and hall-of-fame jockey Gary Stevens (@HRTVGary), who routinely interacted with viewers and participated in a weekly #LuckChat on Twitter.

When news broke that a third horse associated with "Luck" had died at Santa Anita, there was concern among the show's fans that it wouldn't survive the negative publicity. That proved true when public pressure -- largely fueled by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- was apparently too much for HBO to bear. The series was canceled.

Ray has tackled the task of unmasking PETA as one of the least ethical major charities in America. And when it comes to PETA, I'm not certain there could be a less-reputable group in America being treated by the media as though it IS reputable. I spent 20 years as a journalist and have been appalled that the healthy skepticism typically directed toward nearly every source is so often completely absent when reporters speak with PETA. I can only think of two reasons.

1. PETA is so impassioned in its position and so polished in its theatre that journalists are too readily convinced the vehemence and varnish with which the PETA message is delivered equates to veracity. ("They seem so informed and insistent; it must be true!")

2. Journalists have an admirable, but sometimes misguided, commitment to "tell both sides" of the story. That's great when both sides are making potentially valid points. It's a disservice to readers when one side is peddling propaganda that at best is loosely based in truth, at worst is often complete fabrication. When PETA is the first, loudest and most reliable "other opinion" for an animal-related story, it's too easy for a busy (or lazy) journalist to just take PETA's quotes and run with them.

For the record, PETA sneaks around. PETA twists the truth. PETA outright lies. PETA hypocritically scolds people for mistreating animals and "kill" shelters for engaging in euthanasia, while a study of PETA records shows the organization euthanizes 95 percent of the stray dogs and cats it takes in. In 2011, PETA's Virginia headquarters killed more than 1,900 dogs and cats, finding new homes for only 24. Charity Navigator shows PETA collecting $35 million in revenues last year and spending 85 percent of that on "programs," but when PETA kills almost every animal that comes into its "care," what sort of "programs" could those be? (Answer: Huge advertising campaigns, publicity stunts, lobbying, hiring staff (including convicted eco-felon Gary Yourofsky), euthanasia, financially supporting ecoterrorists like firebomber Rodney Coronado, and staging its "covert investigations" into cruelty wherever it can be found -- or merely imagined.) PETA would rather you or your children die than that your life be saved through medical research that involved animals.

Humane treatment of animals is moral and right. Taken to PETA's extremes, the notion becomes insanity. But as Penn & Teller tell us in their own "Bullshit!" episode exposé of PETA: "In any conflict, the crazier party usually wins ... which is why PETA is doing so well." (LANGUAGE WARNING: Don't view the Penn & Teller link if you have sensitive ears.)

The horse racing industry should never do anything -- NOT ONE THING -- merely to appease PETA, and neither should Hollywood. (Fat chance of the latter.) PETA is not a reasonable and grounded critic of the industry; it is not a trustworthy partner in affecting appropriate change. Horse racing, Hollywood, the restaurant business or any animal-ag business trying to work with PETA would be like offering the scorpion a ride across the river on your own back.

So if change needed to take place on the "Luck" set, or if cancellation was the only option, it should have been for valid reasons far beyond the simple fact that PETA was predictably flipping its collective wig.

Anyone who questions the ability of PETA itself or animal rights activists in general to take extreme positions unfounded in fact -- even sanity -- should read the comments under a story at the Today Show Web site this afternoon. It is being described as "abuse" and the dog "living in hell" for a 4-year-old goldendoodle to be employed as a service animal for a 3-year-old girl who must be tethered to oxygen. (The dog carries two bottles in a specially designed vest when the pair go out to play.)

Needless to say we can't be blind to the racing industry's troubles nor deaf to all criticism. The industry has serious horse-welfare issues that must be addressed.

But offhand I'd suggest there are four general "camps" when it comes to undertaking, observing and judging this effort. Two of them are serious problems; a third is our primary audience and challenge.

First, there are racing industry professionals who believe nothing is wrong with the sport. Whether through selfishness or merely wishful thinking, they believe no ban of race-day meds is necessary, no extra effort or thought given to the pursuit of safer racing for the horses. These people are the industry's biggest impediment to necessary progress. Their culture and obstructionism have clearly proven difficult, sometimes impossible, to overcome in the past.

Second, there are the industry professionals and fans who ardently believe in and support horse racing, but who equally believe that the humans involved must make every reasonable effort to protect the equine athletes. If we love and value these animals, we should always treat them accordingly. Good ideas for improving horse welfare will come from this sector; so must the energy and the sheer force of will to achieve them in the face of opposition within the industry itself.

Third, there are PETA and vocal animal rights activists. Frankly, there's nothing racing can do to appease these people. Ever. Regardless what we say or do, they are the antithesis of "preaching to the choir." Our goals as racing's advocates are to give them as little ammunition as possible for their attacks, and to provide accurate information that hopefully keeps this can of mixed nuts from poisoning the fourth group.

And that fourth group is by far the largest -- those ranging from casual fans to non-fans who are completely disinterested in the sport, but who don't want to see animals abused or needlessly suffer. These people do NOT believe (as PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk once said) that "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Most of them will eat the surf and turf. They own cats and dogs and hamsters and parakeets. They have their human-animal priorities pretty well in order. And they comprise, I'm guessing, at least 80 percent of everybody.

Billy Martin once noted that on any baseball team there will be a couple of players who hate you, a couple who would do anything for you, and the rest are undecided.

"The secret of managing," Martin said, "is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."

And in a very real way, that's the secret of managing horse racing's image and trying to reverse the downward trend in its fan-base in the 21st century. Those of us who would do anything for the good of horse racing need to be the agents of progress in the sport and the buffer of truth that separates the vast majority of moderately interested and disinterested observers from the agenda-driven animal rights zealots who won't stop until there's not a single horse left being raced, nor dog carrying oxygen bottles, nor beef placed on a bun.

PETA alone will never have the power to shut down horse racing. But a willfully and woefully misinformed general public who are eventually provoked into crying out to everyone from the networks and advertisers that carry and sponsor racing to state legislatures and Congress that can crush us under the weight of government, just might.


  1. wow...i won't call u out on PR

    there shoodb no "But" beginning the last sentence of "2." u like hansen?

  2. I'm not sure whether you're saying I have a typo here, or a typo over at Paulick Report. And not sure I have the energy to check them both at 2:21 a.m., but I'll try to take that under advisement.

  3. This is a clear instance of the kettle calling the pot black. 26,000+ TBs slaughtered for meat, maybe 800 dying of fatalities on the track (including an inordinately high number at NY's Aqueduct in the last three months), and hundreds left starving in racehorse "retirement" hardly entitles the racing establishment to bash any group (PETA included) for its mistreatment of animals. Perhaps we'd be better off with less grandstanding on the virtuosity of racing on humane animal issues and less PETA. But unless the racing industry regulates itself from within, it will be regulated from without. Until that time, PETA will continue to thrive.

  4. The Martin quote really applies. The scariest thing is that so many media members and general public even slightly trust in PETA.

  5. It's undeniable that there are abuses within the racing world, and those who don't take care of their horses beyond their racing usefulness. When criminal, they are prosecuted. And tracks in many locations are revoking the privileges of horsemen who send animals from those tracks to slaughter, even though that practice is not criminal.

    Meanwhile, PETA puts to death thousands of animals every year (probably tens of thousands, because the headquarters location offed nearly 2,000 by itself in 2011. And it does so while standing outside animal shelters, racetracks, etc., shouting slogans like "How many will you kill today?!"

    It's one thing to acknowledge that an industry has good and bad participants, challenges, problems and outright disgraces.

    It's quite another to act as though you're a benevolent organization that is the savior of all animal kind while killing animals by the thousands rather than rehoming them and hiring or supporting environmental terrorists.

    THAT'S the pot calling the kettle black.

    I'm simply saying "Who is PETA to criticize, and why should anyone listen?"

    If you haven't watched the "Bullshit!" episode, do.

    Hundreds of thoroughbred owners and lovers spend hundreds of thousands -- millions -- of dollars every year to take care of their animals both at the track and in retirement; to retrain and rehome ex-racers.

    This doesn't mean racing doesn't still have a mountain to climb in the arena of horse welfare (and public opinion). I acknowledge as much above. But PETA will never be of service to the racing community -- hell, they're typically not of service to the ANIMAL community. And nobody should be so afraid of PETA that they bow to that organization's pressure.

    If you are in any sort of animal-related agriculture or industry -- even if your business is well regulated and humane by any reasonable standard -- PETA and its followers are not your friends and will never be your customers. So clean up your act, yes, and make necessary, sensible changes that improve animal welfare and address the general public's concerns. But tune PETA out. They're useless.

    1. i believe u r wrong...many peta members and followers are friends of racing and customers of ag businesses and industries

      u r implying that every peta member or follower is a non-furwearing vegan...that is NOT TRUE

      when u ignore peta u r ignoring the damage they r doing here...and the opportunity 2 bring good

      and i wish u would provide links to the most recent terrorism


    2. and...very quickly...i think u should distinquish between "friends" and "followers"

      do u consider all your readers your friends?

    3. So you're saying, Glenn, that 2,000 dead shelter animals is worse than 750 dead TBs (annually) due to injury plus nearly 27,000 slaughtered (also annually)? Isn't your math a bit off? Or do you really think 1 dead cat is the equivalent of 13.875 dead TBs?

    4. What I'm saying is: "what do you stand for?"

      If you believe that horse racing is NOT inherently inhumane, then your goal is to make it as safe as possible, but not to put an end to it. And those who actually pay attention -- you would likely not be one of them -- would realize that a large number of racing industry people are among the most ardent supporters of anti-slaughter legislation. AND, regardless of whether legislation halting slaughter and slaughter transport is passed, tracks in many jurisdictions have started revoking privileges of owners and trainers whose horses are sent from the racetrack to slaughter.

      (Note that while the U.S. had a temporary ban on horse slaughter within the States, the slaughter of horses in North America didn't decline. Horses from the U.S. were just shipped to Mexico -- where slaughterhouse conditions are far worse than here -- or to Canada, where slaughter also remained legal.)

      And we still haven't taken into account the moral position held by some that if it's OK to kill and eat a cow, why is it NOT OK to kill and eat a horse? That isn't a choice I personally would make, but it isn't morally and intellectually dishonest.

      On the other hand, if -- as PETA espouses -- slaughter of animals is inhumane, then it should stop engaging in slaughter itself. To do anything else IS morally and intellectually dishonest.

      As for math, if PETA is slaughtering nearly 2,000 animals a year just at its HQ in D.C., how many is it slaughtering nationwide? Does it ONLY have slaughter operations in the Mid-Atlantic? I find that unlikely.

      Any person or organization that endeavors to take the moral high ground had best be UNFAILING in holding that high ground. PETA lies, financially supports organizations and individuals involved in ecoterrorism, and euthanizes thousands (possibly tens of thousands) of animals nationwide, every year.

      I realize Ingrid Newkirk has said that sometimes "the kindest" option for a homeless cat or dog is to kill it. This is an unacceptable position for someone who has said that these animals have rights equal to our own unless Ms. Newkirk would also advocate going out on the streets and euthanizing homeless humans. (And she might, much of a nutjob as she is, but so far as I know, she hasn't publicly said it.)

      So her position that animals have equal rights to humans, and yet humans for some reason have the right to make a life or death decision for an animal, is -- as Penn and Teller would put it, hypocritical bullshit.

      So ultimately on the euthanasia/slaughter issue, isn't about a body count. It isn't about degrees of right and wrong. It's about absolutes.

      I believe that animals are not the equals of humans. I can engage in horse racing (with appropriate horse welfare measures, which I do believe need improving), I can keep my two rescue dogs as pets and not house them as co-equals, I can order a cheeseburger or shoot and cook up a duck and I have not violated my personal moral code.

      If you believe -- as Ingrid Newkirk and PETA believe -- that animals have the same right to live as humans, that owning animals as pets and using animals for any human purpose is wrong, that eating the flesh or produce of animals is amoral, if you can COMPARE FARM ANIMALS TO THE JEWS WHO DIED IN THE HOLOCAUST, then the minute you put to death even one cat or dog, you've violated your stated moral code and committed murder.

      Simply put, PETA should stop trying to be the human-animal ethics police until it has a shred of ethics of its own.

      That doesn't mean horse racing is flawless or immune to criticism. It doesn't mean that horse racing has no progress to be made in animal welfare, both at and beyond the racetrack. It just means that PETA has no moral standing to be the critic, particularly because PETA's stated goal will never be to improve horse racing, but to end it.

    5. It IS a body count, Glenn. You can spin it any way you like, but racing's record on this is worse than PETA's. And I'm not fan of PETA, I assure you.

    6. It isn't a body count when it comes to philosophical positions on animal rights and intellectual honesty.

      Racing needs to improve its animal welfare record, but there are many within racing itself who will readily admit that. PETA points fingers at everyone else -- from horse racing to the food industry to medical experiments to, well, everyone -- while not keeping its own house in order.

      PETA says "Thou shalt not kill animals," even as PETA kills animals.

    7. This is the kind of intellectually dishonest argument for which racing is now in the crosshairs: excusing the deaths of thousands and thousands of animals. Blaming others. That'll make us all look really good, Glenn!

    8. Glenn, ignore PETA for a moment and focus back on racing. 26,600 TBs slaughtered annually and 800 plus fatalities a year due to catastrophic breakdown. Tell me how racing not confronting this practice is "intellectually honest"? Philosophically acceptable?

      Nah, forget that. Tell me how this is humane? You haven't bothered to do anything with this statistic but drive around it. What if the NYTimes decides to do a story on that?

      You know, your "we kill more animals than PETA but we're morally superior" argument won't wash there.

    9. Who am I "blaming" and for what? ... I'm saying there are problems, but PETA isn't a credible critic. That doesn't "blame" them for anything other than being hypocrites.

      Meanwhile, who are you? What's your stake? What future do you envision for horse racing? A safer future, or no future? ... What are YOU doing to fix ANYTHING?

    10. Who am I? Lifelong horse owner, recent rescuer of an OTTB gelding from New Holland and someone who's bringing up the horse slaughter issue and trying to see who in the racing community is willing talk about it publicly like they're now starting to talk about the drug problem. Today Ray did publish today an excellent study today by the Equine Welfare Alliance on the economic issues that caused the drop in horse prices that's one of the main (and faulty) arguments for bringing slaughter back to the US. If we can get those two hidden evils out of the business, it will bring average Americans back to the sport and improve the welfare of the horses that are the blood and bone of its future. How's that for "doing something." Do you approve?

    11. I don't have to "approve." I just wanted to know. And since I still don't know who you are, I'll have to take your word for it.

      I've never suggested racing doesn't have issues. It does. Deep ones. They need addressing.

      My only point about PETA is that the organization is NOT a credible source on much of anything. We need to deal with racing's problems -- horse welfare first and foremost -- but none of that starts with responding to PETA criticism.

      As for "faulty arguments" against slaughter, if the practice isn't going to stop in Canada and Mexico, making it illegal in the U.S. has little or no effect on saving horses. Even making the transport of horses to slaughter is difficult to enforce. Is the U.S. going to stop ANY horse from crossing the Canadian or Mexican border? If not, what's to stop killers from taking a horse across the line to a "farm," where it boards another truck and heads to the slaughterhouse?

      I doubt there's any ultimate answer to the horse slaughter question that involves abolition, because you're not likely to get it abolished in both Canada and Mexico, and horses will find their way across the border into slaughterhouses. The best answer for the thoroughbred industry is an intensive retirement, retraining and rehoming effort.

      Meanwhile, I'd suggest that when it comes to bringing fans back to the sport, or particularly introducing new ones, slaughter is at most fourth on the animal welfare front: 1. On-track breakdowns; 2. Race-day meds; 3. The whip; 4. Slaughter.

      That might not be a "fair" order, but I think it's the reality of the casual fan or non-fan's mind.

    12. Thank you Glenn. Agreed, PETA is not always credible, but they do, often make a stink that no one else does. Like it or not, we are stuck with them until they run out of things to investigate, and then other groups will take over, as they always do.

      PS: Canada may possibly ban slaughter before the US does. They are apparently weighing the end of racing (check out what is happening in Ontario)!

      TB industry can work to expose the horses ending up at kill auctions. So much breeding stock winds up there and other slowpokes. Mine did and came from a very good trainer. It happens to the best, and they need to be careful about "giving horses away." These are the ones in danger, who end up on someone's dinner plate. And, by the way, it doesn't help that Exceller's plaque at Saratoga National Museum says he was "euthanized." I wish someone up there would change it! Maybe you can use your influence???

    13. PS: the reason why slaughter should be moved up to first priority is because of all the state laws now being proposed to open up slaughter plants in various states. If these aren't blocked, if the US doesn't pass laws outlawing slaughter and export to slaughter and slaughterhouses do open around the US, then the problem of TBs getting dumped at auction and slaughtered (and the relationship with drugging and breaking down) will worsen. And horses and racing will pay a worse price than they already do. It will just be an open door for anyone who wants to breed, race and discard indiscriminately.

  6. I see what you're saying about "but." A lot of people don't like "but" at the beginning of a sentence, and in this case (upon reflection) maybe I like "and" better, which English teachers would also hate.

    As for PETA, any fur-wearing non-vegan with a prescription medication who is a "friend" or donor of PETA is either a hypocrite or getting fleeced; PETA is taking your money and stabbing you in the back when you turn around.

    Listen to Ingrid Newkirk speak. She calls for the "freedom" of all animals. No fur. No leather. No meat on plates. No horse racing. ... No pets.

    Now, PETA knows that will never happen. But that doesn't stop them from starting fires (figuratively and, some organizations and people they've financially supported, LITERALLY) to draw attention to their "cause," and money to their coffers.

    PETA is a $35 million per year scam.

    Seriously, an organization called the Exceller Fund has saved an average of 15 to 20 retired racehorses per year during its history on an annual budget that averages $70,000. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation cares for roughly 1,100 retired horses at 29 sites around the country on an annual budget of $2.6 million.

    Meanwhile records show that PETA saved 24 dogs and cats at its national HQ -- TWENTY-FOUR during the entire year of 2011, while euthanizing more than 1,900 -- on an annual budget of $35 million.

    I don't think there's any way that can be spun to PETA's favor.

    I'm not saying PETA should be ignored entirely; their disinformation must be countered. But anything PETA asks of you will come with strings and ulterior motives. Never cooperate with them. They are NOT a member of your team; they don't want to be and if they say they do, they're lying. Which is something at which they excel.

    As for the "good" PETA does ... how many sketchy puppy mills must be closed due to PETA's complaints to make up for financially supporting a confessed firebomber? Or hiring another eco-ex-con to be their chief spokesman to schools, where he flat-out lies to children about medical experimentation? Or their hypocrisy of picketing the Los Angeles animal shelter director's home because they euthanize animals at that shelter, while PETA kills almost every animal it takes off the streets?

    There's just not a case to be made for PETA as a worthwhile or reputable organization.

    1. how about neither "but" nor "and"?

      and it wasn't clear...BUT when i said "bring good" i dknot mean peta bringing good...i meant dialogue on more than "just chatboards."

      im pressed 4X now...but i'm sure u would agree strings are always attached 2 everything

  7. OK, we'll go with neither, though I think the contractions (but, and) provided some conversational emphasis that I liked. Using neither is certainly more grammatically preferred.

    As for "friends" and "followers," anyone who advocates PETA's position, participates in PETA's campaigns or donates to the organization would have to be one or the other and I don't really differentiate. If someone is taking advice or direction from PETA, or contributing to the organization, they need to find a new source of leadership and guidance in animal protection and a MUCH more deserving recipient of their charitable dollars.

  8. Mr. Craven,
    It’s a pleasure to read your work -– passionate with no tolerance for “perceived” nonsense. You and Mr. Paulick have surely performed a service for the industry, but in my opinion, neither of you is addressing the real problem.

    PETA’s effectiveness was only possible because racing already gets too much justifiably bad publicity for inequitable, if not unethical treatment of its customers, as well as many backstretch workers. In fact, “Luck” was creating more than its share of it. Ironically, by emphasizing racing’s negative potential instead of promoting its positives, it created a window of opportunity for PETA.

    By failing to illustrate why the game attracts the passion and dedication of the good guys as well as the “edge-takers,” an opportunity for significant new fan recruitment was wasted for all tracks. At least they could have "sandwiched" the darker episodes between ones showing the other side. Some might argue that PETA inadvertently did the industry a favor.

    Who should put PETA in its place as well as all the problems it exploits? I believe it should be that elusive, non-governmental, centralized authority that self-interest-laden industry leaders can’t bring themselves to create. It’s time that complete autonomy at state and local levels became a thing of the past.

    Further, I would urge like-minded bloggers like yourself and Mr. Paulick to lead the way in making that happen by helping to organize your fellow turf writers in applying pressure on the industry to save itself; and perhaps your own livelihoods, as well.

    P.S. I couldn’t help noticing your rebuttal to my HRI piece comparing alternative rankings for Kentucky Derby eligibility. Is it possible to rebut your rebuttal at your site with an opportunity to reach the same audience that has already digested your point of view?

  9. PETA puts to death fewer animals than the number of TBs sent to slaughter, Glenn. Nobody who loves racing likes to admit it, but it's true. And they end up there from the good people in racing, the good breeders, the good owners and trainers, just the way that animals end up in shelters from "good people" who just can't afford their upkeep any more. There are many parallels here. Too many.

  10. Let's start with the P.S. ... You're welcome to rebut my rebuttal, certainly in the comments -- though I know you have a tendency to write LONG, as do I -- or to send me something and I'll give it all due consideration as a post. I will say nobody ever has ever written any direct post here but me. :-)

    I greatly respect the passion you have for racing and the thought you put into a Derby Trail points plan. But to me -- unless your rebuttal is stellar and tells me something I don't already know -- I think you're over-thinking it.

    As for the rest, PETA, etc., I definitely think a stronger centralized authority would help racing. There's a huge problem in achieving that even beyond resistance within the industry.

    The state-based nature of racing regulation means you'll have to secure the backing of people OUTSIDE the industry for a national authority to happen, as well. ... Including state legislatures.

    I'd never considered this until it was brought to my attention recently, though the point should have been obvious. In many states, the laws that permit racing and parimutuel wagering also clearly provide that the sport will be regulated by a STATE-BASED agency the legislation also authorizes and establishes.

    Unless people who demand racing change really get creative -- and I have an idea that might be the most crackpot, controversial notion I've had yet -- it's possible you'd need legislation to pass the House and Senate (and by signed by the governor) in EVERY racing state, turning over rule-making, potentially licensing, etc., to a national body. And one that isn't governmental.

    Granted, Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, etc., all serve exactly this purpose for other professional sports. But none of those sports have wagering so intimately and inherently attached to the event itself, and scores of state-based agencies to regulate them -- agencies that would be threatened obsolescence, robbing states of money and power, etc.

    1. the days of dabooks look bettah and bettah

      i am really dun arguing, talking and/or debating

      last year @thisX i made 5k in 5weeks according2TVG

  11. You’re right about the obstacles states pose, but in CA where I reside, the horsemen seem to get whatever they want from both the legislature and the regulatory agency whose board is dominated by horsemen. Federal oversight would trump that, but very few believe that could work. The inability of Congress to compromise is the only thing that seems to trickle down from Washington.

    I believe all states would adopt uniform rules of racing and wagering if authorized representatives from each jurisdiction were called together to form a task force and cooperatively draft them. In the process, they should also select a Commissioner of Racing for an initial term long enough to see several foal crops through the new system.

    The state regulatory agencies could remain in place, except that the Commissioner’s office should license and rotate stewards, randomly select samples to independently test in parallel, investigate alleged irregularities at its discretion, and resolve conflicts between jurisdictions. Does that seem so impossible to achieve?

    Re: the P.S., your response reminded me of this comment by the blogger who refers to himself as “Wind Gatherer:””giving-minute.html
    “…I write this way, because in my house, if you said anything in three words when you could have used fifteen, you weren't trying hard enough. Because anything worth doing, is worth overdoing. …”

    So, yes, I’m a long-winded overthinker. Thanks for noticing and reading the piece, anyway.” Reserving the term, “stellar,” for the work of my idol, above, and noting the combination of Chris Matthews and Lou Grant in your persona, I won’t challenge your posting record on your own blog. LOL

    I’ll post a comment over there when I have more time. Nice meeting you.

  12. Oddly, while my home was a household of thinkers, not a lot was said. I have a hunch I'm long-winded because when I finally have someone listening to me (or reading) I want to get it all said.

    As for the task force notion, what you suggest sounds similar to my crackpot idea for national racing governance. As for whether either of our ideas (mine remaining under wraps at present) is "impossible," again, don't underestimate the resistance to change of both an industry with deep traditions, and government/bureaucracy.

    States vary wildly in their cultures, as well. I can't vouch for the racing industry's sway with the Oklahoma Legislature; I haven't been here long enough to see them try to get anything new through the House or Senate. What I can vouch for is that Oklahomans in general -- and Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature particularly -- are resistant to the notion of something other than state-based regulation or control of almost anything, be it health care or industry.

    Back to affecting change, the notion of a task force, etc. ... My opinion is usually the best way to get something done is with the smallest number of people who can accomplish the job (too many cooks spoiling the broth and all). But in this case I'm afraid acceptance of new, nationwide regulations will be hard to achieve unless every racing jurisdiction feels their interests were pretty directly represented in the process, just as you suggest. ... And, while blissful cooperation with everybody willingly participating and leaving the table happy is the goal, there's probably gonna have to be a stick to go with the carrots of "safer horses, better sport, improved public opinion" in order to coax stragglers onto the wagon.

  13. McSpin can you please show documneted proof of 28,000 thoroughbred a year being slaughtered...thanks

    1. I wouldn't be surprised if it's 28,000 thoroughbreds, because about 138,000 horses of all breeds were shipped out of the U.S. to Canada and Mexico in 2010 alone.

    2. It's based on USDA numbers showing more than 138,000 US horses slaughtered in Canada and Mexico in 2011. 19% of those are TBs and 70% are quarterhorses. Comes out around 26,600 but some people round it up to 27,000. But 28,000 isn't too far off.

    3. SEVENTY PERCENT Quarter Horses? ... That would mean 89 percent of all horses slaughtered for meat are either TB or QH. ... I know there's a real glut of Quarters; the most over-bred breed. ... And I can believe TBs would be the second largest numbers so far as number of foals annually.

  14. You certainly do tolerate jerks. Kudos for your patience.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.