"Saving the Thoroughbred Horses."
This is the recap by Frank Robinson, of a presentation by Susan Kayne, at the August 12th, 2018 CDHS monthly meeting.
Susan Kayne is founder and head of the Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, aimed at saving throughbred horses from slaughter. She has hosted a TV show titled "Unbridled."
Kayne said 154,000 horses live in New York State, thoroughbreds being the biggest segment, numbering 39,000. It's a $5.3 billion industry. She said she has been in love with horses her whole life, and was in the business of managing thoroughbred horses, typically 70-100 at a time.
But a big change occurred in 2011 when one of her horses, "Bourbon Bandit," was reported to have a broken knee after a race. [When working on this recap I googled the name, I got a lot of information about liquor thieves -- FSR.] Afterwards, Kayne got a big pile of bills for drugs and medications given to Bourbon Bandit, at the instance of the trainer, but without her knowledge or consent. Digging deeper, she found that many regulations supposedly governing such matters simply are ignored, and horses are commonly dosed, without prescriptions or controls, with pain killers, muscle relaxants, and a "broncho-dilator" which actually acts as a steroid to bulk them up. Trying to follow up with authorities, she got a run-around, and learned that the system is really geared to protect the industry, not horses. She called the racing industry "animal abuse in the name of entertainment and sport."
All this caused her to exit the business she was in, and to establish her philanthropic foundation. As noted, it's aimed mainly at horse slaughter. Kayne explained that a horse's natural lifespan is about 35 years, but its racing career is limited to about five years -- and the industry doesn't want to pay for the difference. It typically costs about $500 a month to keep a horse. Once a horse has outlived its racing usefulness, it is commonly auctioned off (at a small fraction of the original investment), destined for a "kill pen" and slaughter -- often for use as meat, mainly for pet food and zoos, even though the drugs to which they were subjected can be carcinogenic. And the slaughtering she described as "gruesome and barbaric," with horses often dismembered alive. More humane methods exist, but the industry doesn't bother with them.
Kayne's foundation works to "bail out" horses and arrange their placement in good homes. She described horses as highly intelligent sentient beings, with feelings and emotions, who interact with humans as good friends.
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