Horse Racing and Wild Horses
This week, as you may or may not know, was the Kentucky Derby. All morning Saturday, the news was nothing but horse racing, horse racing, horse acing. 364 days a year, no one cares about horse racing, but on Kentucky Derby day, all of a sudden it’s hours of “news” coverage.
Look, I hated the bull$#it that went along with this day long before I was vegan, but now, it’s like adding insult to injury. The horses wo race well have on the genetic lottery. I mean, think about it; they win one race, and their job, for the rest of their lives, is be beautiful and have sex. Well, sort-of have sex, as they’re not really allowed to, since they might hurt themselves.
For the others, however, they live short, brutal lives. Horses who don’t race well are often killed, at 3 years old, and turned into any variety of food products.
The number of these poor animals that are killed is staggering. Approximately 120,000 horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada each year for slaughter. These animals are beautiful, kind, strong animals, but they’re expensive animals too.
This 2010 article in the Washington Post goes into an uncomfortable amount of detail about the plight of race horses in the U.S. It’s a really touching, honest look at what happens, from they eyes of a horse owner.
This day, Kentucky Derby day, is a little depressing, if we let it be, but to try to cheer up this day, I had the luck to visit one of the few places in the United States where there are still wild horses, Assateague Island, MD.
The Blonde, her mother, and our baby nephew drove in, and saw a handful of the animals just wandering around. The horses have the run of the island, which is really cool, and even though this is a tourist spot, when you enter you are given a sheet of the rules, like “Stay at least 10 feet away from the horses,” before you fully enter the park.
The wild horses are sort of shaggy, with slightly bloated stomachs from drinking brackish water: the only water source on Assateague Island.
These horses are not as huge as the heavily-bred horses in horse racing, but at the same time, there’s a majesty that is much more real after seeing what horses should look like.
After seeing the horses in Assateague to compare them to the thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby, I’m, again, happy about being vegan. Events that I can juxtapose like these two, seeing thoroughbred and wild horses,helps me keep why I’m vegan in perspective.