Help end cruelty

When horses stop winning races or become injured, some are retired to pastures, while many end up in slaughterhouses.

I enjoy a Sunday afternoon with my family betting for the horse races. Why should such an adrenaline rush giving sport be banned?

They weigh more than 1,000 pounds, are supported by ankles the size of a human's, and are whipped and forced to run around tracks that are often made of hard-packed dirt at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour while carrying people on their backs. Racehorses are the victims of a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing, and many horses' careers end at the slaughterhouse.

Horses begin training or are already racing when their skeletal systems are still growing and are unprepared to handle the pressures of competition racing on a hard track at high speeds. One study on injuries at racetracks concluded that one horse in every 22 races suffered an injury that prevented him or her from finishing a race, while another estimated that 20-30 thoroughbreds die every day because of injuries during races.

Strained tendons or hairline fractures can be tough for veterinarians to diagnose, and the damage may go from minor to irreversible at the next race or workout. Horses do not handle surgery well, and many are euthanized or sold at auction to save the owners further veterinary fees and other expenses for horses who can't race again.

Trainers and veterinarians keep injured horses racing when they should be recovering by giving them a variety of legal drugs to mask pain and control inflammation. This leads to breakdowns because horses are able to run when, without the drugs, the pain would otherwise prevent them from trying. Illegal drugs are also widely used. There are trainers pumping horses full of illegal drugs every day. With so much money on the line, people will do anything to make their horses run faster. When they stop winning races or become injured, few racehorses are retired to pastures, because owners don't want to pay for a horse who doesn't bring in any money. Many end up in slaughterhouses.

Help end the cruelty:

Refuse to patronise existing tracks and lobby against the construction of new tracks.

Lobby to ensure that racing regulations are reformed and enforced. While horse racing can never be entirely safe for the animals, a zero-tolerance drug policy, turf (grass) tracks only, a ban on whipping, competitive racing only after their third birthdays, and other reforms would make a world of difference to the horses.

Are animal fairs where animals are traded, legal?

Animal fairs were originally started to facilitate farmers to buy cows and buffaloes or camels. Over the years they have turned into criminal conglomerations which are only frequented by butchers. These people pretend to be agriculturists and usually have either fake certificates made – even though they are entirely landless, or they bribe the local mela adhikari to give them a clean chit. The law says that no one can buy more than two cattle. But these people coming in groups and families and each person buys two each. The law is that no animals can be loaded onto trucks. But either they are bold enough to surround the area with trucks or they walk the animals down for about half a kilometre and then load them into trucks and take them to slaughterhouses. The Supreme Court has ordered the government to make strict cattle rules by 2016 October. The government has still not done so.

What are the powers that a police officer can exercise when he sees cruelty against animals?

A. Under Section 34 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals any police officer above the rank of a constable can seize the animal and produce the same for examination by the nearest magistrate if he has a reason to believe that violation of the act has been or is being committed, in respect of any animal by its owner or person in charge. The police officer may, when seizing the animal, require the person in charge thereof to accompany it to the place of examination. Any police officer above the rank of a constable can seize the animal and send them to hospital for treatment and care in case of over-riding, beating, owner not providing sufficient food, confining or mutilating. This is provided under Section 35 of the same act.

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