Steroids: Yet Another Method of Animal Abuse

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Horse racing is not a particularly cruel sport. Horses love to run; they’re competitors and athletes by nature. But the drugs the trainers give the horses, including steroids and bronchial dilators, are cruel and make them push themselves faster and harder than their bodies can take.
There are many articles about this questionable new drug in the sport. While most authors don’t take too strong of a stance on the issue, some leans towards believing it is okay. They justify it, saying since it was allowed on all tracks, it’s fair for all owners. However, that does not make it fair or right for the horses. As a horse owner, I know that horses can sense when something isn’t right or if they’re not feeling well enough to run. If they’re being injected with steroids and bronchial dilators, the drug masks when enough is enough.

Yet other people argue that steroids are no different than other performance antics. Admittedly, tactics such as gasoline and action chains (used on show horses to “encourage” the horses to pick up their legs higher) have been proven to have adverse effects on a horse. But, other tools such as crops and whips are acceptable; they simply train the horse and cause only a moment of discomfort. Just because other forms of performance-enhancing techniques exist, does not mean that steroids are any less malicious. Nor do any of these other tools have close to the bad effects compared to those of steroids.
In addition, experts are now questioning if steroids could have pushed racehorse Eight Belles to break both her ankles in the Churchill Downs Race and Barbaro to fracture three bones in and around his ankle during the Preakness Stakes. These horses were both amazing racehorses with promising futures. Barbaro had won the Kentucky Derby (Eight Belles placed second) and was a favorite for winning the Triple Crown. But instead, both of them had to be euthanized due to their injuries: Eight Belles at the age of two, and Barbaro at the age of three. Especially in the case of Eight Belles, her muscles are what killed her. Sure, the steroids made her gain more muscle mass then she would have normally, but her bones were not ready for it. Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins agrees that these horses have become too strong, with bones that aren’t made to withstand the pressure. Jenkins said of Eight Belles: "She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles."
The horse racing industry has its benefits. The million-dollar racehorses are treated with care and devotion, with daily massages and constant attention. Most of these horses are treated better than humans. However, trainers have now begun to use unnecessary and harmful techniques to make the horses faster, and the sport more interesting. True horse fans enjoy watching the races simply because of the natural power and beauty of the animals—no steroids needed.





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Brytnee said...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm
Beautifully written, I totally agree with you on horse racing.
 
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