23 May 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Jane Schwartz asks why those of us not directly connected to a racehorse might care so much about its well-being. It may very well be because of the undeniable beauty of these majestic animals as they race around the track.

But I believe in another aspect of the human emotional spectrum: guilt.

We breed and train these horses for selfish purposes—to race around a track for our enjoyment, as well as for prize money for the owners and winnings for the bettors.

The supposed goal of these events is to find the fastest horse. But is this knowledge really worth the risk to the health of the horse?

I'm not an animal rights activist, but I'm of the opinion that most racehorses would be just as "happy" roaming free on farms.

So maybe seeing Barbaro or Ruffian pull up lame triggers a wee bit of guilt in us. The entertainment value we derive from the horse's efforts is tempered by the knowledge that we put the animal in an unnecessarily dangerous situation.

Diane Firstman
Brooklyn, May 22, 2006

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