Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Truth hurts

Not too far from me in Kent there are a series of stables and stud farms for horses, there's a little industry going here to breed a product that (some) people clearly want and presumably enjoy. I gather it's both expensive to do and I'm told horses are a costly hobby both to keep and maintain. I also realise that people do not like to think of the actual mechanics of the industry so to speak, for in essence an industry it is...
A star jockey prompted outrage yesterday by playing down the death of a horse during a big race.
After spectators and TV viewers watched in horror as Our Conor suffered a fatal fall at the Cheltenham Festival, Ruby Walsh said the animal was replaceable.
The 34-year-old Irishman said: ‘Horses are horses. You can replace a horse’.
The comments by Walsh, who has twice won the Grand National, provoked a furious response from animal rights campaigners. They described his words as callous and lacking respect for the horse.
Mr Walsh, who reached a record 40 wins at the Festival after a double-victory yesterday, added: ‘It’s sad, but horses are animals, outside your back door. Humans are humans. They are inside your back door.
‘You can replace a horse. You can’t replace a human being. That’s my feeling on it.’
The comments sparked fury from animal rights campaigners and are likely to reignite the debate over whether horse-racing is an unnecessarily cruel sport.
Now as to whether horse racing is a cruel sport or not, I simply do not know. I suspect some horses may enjoy being raced but that in many places it's reached the stage where the money is far more important than the actual pleasure and a bit like Olympic athletes the fun at the top is replaced by the dedication to get there and remain there and the horse is simply one of the tools of the trade.
That said, Ruby Walsh is correct, the way horses are bred means there's always another one ready willing and able (the stud farm not the horse) to be supplied to a jockey. Yes horses are living and deserve to be treat with respect, but from the viewpoint of the racing industry they are a replaceable product in the way that a cycle is a replaceable product in the Tour de France.
I'm pretty sure that the animal rights groups out there would love to close the racing industry down, I doubt they've considered what will happen to the stud farms or their product if they succeed though. I suspect they'd be outraged at the massive cull that would occur if they got their way, though somewhat less outraged at the loss of jobs and livelihoods for the people involved.
So, they can be outraged all they like, truth though is that Walsh is correct and words are simply just that, words, they may believe them to be callous, but I doubt the horse cares, only people care about words and they are often enough incapable of dealing with the truth.

4 annotations:

Mr. Morden said...

The 'racing horse' would not exist if there was not an industry to support it. Same with cows, chickens and pigs. They are animals purposely bred and kept to satisfy 'our' needs - end of ! Whether or not you agree with this is a matter of opinion, and Walsh has clearly expressed his.

Rickie said...

Sounds like a right fuck up to me, first he upsets British horse racing who maintain how much the industry cares about horses, then he upsets the owners with his "ill soon get another ride" comment.

Greyhound racing is seen for what it is, cruel owners who don't give a shit about the dogs after they have finished racing.

The truth has been let out of the bag for Horse jockey dosen't give a shit about horses either.

The truth hurts far more to the Industry than Animal welfare, cos they already knew before daft paddy Ruby walsh let the cat out of the bag.

I like horse racing and i like to have a flutter now and again but its still cruel over the jumps.

FrankC said...

You said "I suspect some horses may enjoy being raced" Too true. See what happens if a horse loses its jockey. Riderless horse keeps on going. Maybe not over the jumps but certainly on the flat.

James Higham said...

Mr. Ed the talking horse could tell us.