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Marion Altieri

Mare is the visionary Partner, Editor and Radio Host for Alpha Mare Media. Mare is a New York State-licensed Thoroughbred owner. Her membership in NYTHA (New York Thoroughbred Horsewoman's [-men's] Association; NYTB (New York Thoroughbred Breeders; Thoroughbred Women, Ltd. and the Saratoga Thoroughbred Club all inspire, educate and contribute to her depth of knowledge of the breed and the Sport.

Her volunteer interests are all Thoroughbred-related, of course: she should probably get a hobby off the track, but there's just no time or interest. Her mantra is, "If it don't have four legs and a maneit ain't an athlete!"

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The Alpha Mare Blog

Rants and raves, one darned opinionated Broad--er, Woman--who loves Thoroughbreds; loves the sport; and freely expresses her exasperation. The Alpha Mare wants to see good things all around for everyone in horse racing, and will use her proverbial pen to start dialogues and perhaps even instigate a revolution or two...

Monday, April 06, 2009


Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer:  the Ag Lobby’s Dirty Little Plan, Revealed


Cattle Grower Network

“It has been shown that horsemeat is low in fat, low in cholesterol and high in protein- overall a better quality of meat than beef. If horse meat were readily available in the U.S., would you be inclined to try it?”

It pays to be on enemy email lists: I received the above link this afternoon, to a website promoting horse slaughter. A faux poll, and several misled people who are contemplating dining on "lowfat" horsemeat. The Ag lobbyists have convinced cattle "growers" that, hmmm, horsemeat might be a yummy thing--I'm thinking that it's a significant part of Ag lobby's push for horse slaughter plants--that if horse slaughter is brought back into the United States, cattle "growers" can get into the biz of "growing" horses specifically for slaughter.

This disgusts me. But I'd rather know what they're up to than not. Ignorance is NOT bliss.


Ah, every now and then, the Good Guys catch a break.

Just when you thought that the battle to keep equines safe from slaughter was a losing effort—an email drops into your Inbox that qualifies as a gift from Heaven. A miracle. Hundred-dollar bills dropping from the sky.

Today was just such a day.

Allow me to elucidate. I am a member of American Horse Publications, a terrific organization that brings together every equine publication, website and freelancer in the country. I cannot stress strongly enough how much I enjoy being a member of AHP.

But today I appreciate it perhaps more than ever before, for I got an email from a website that turned the horse slaughter thing around for me. Refreshed me. Renewed my resolve.

[AHP regularly sends out press releases for its members: some days I get upward of 20 press releases. This is a great service that the organization provides to members. Most days I hear from Missy Wryn, or The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times—the ones I’d expect.]

But, ah, today. Today I was frustrated. Today I had a headache, from beating my brains against a post. I’ve been trying for several days to write a follow-up to Montana’s Big, Bloody Sky, but have been stumped. Not that I’ve run out of words—I’ll be yammering on my way to the grave. I’ve run out of patience with the system, a system that allows Governors to play footsie with Ag lobbyists and to disguise death sentences for horses as concern for their welfare.

You see, Friday was a day of jubilation for we anti-slaughter people. Well, it was a minute of jubilation.
We’d heard, first, that Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer had vetoed the horse slaughter bill.

Friends and colleagues emailed me to send up the first flares. Start the bonfire, we’re havin’ a weenie roast!

That ecstasy lasted about three seconds. I read Schweitzer’s letter to The Butcher (Ed Butcher, that is: the most appropriately-named politician in America.) The letter of “veto” was really a letter filled with amendments. IF the bill is amended in ways that Governor Schweitzer find to be appropriate—he will sign the bill into law.

And the reasons for his amendments are to write in protections for those who would build the slaughterhouses—NOT because he’s concerned about the horses’ welfare. Sure, his letter of amendment is filled with language that sounds like he’s concerned for equine welfare—all the “unwanted horses” ya-ya.

But the bottom line of it is that he’ll be delighted to sign the bill into law, as long as the amendments are written in—and those magnanimous Belgians are protected. Schweitzer wants to make sure that, once the slaughterhouse is built in Montana—no one can step up to the plate (or courthouse) and close it down.

So I’ve spent several days trying to write about something that is on the surface so vague that anti-slaughter folks were tempted to think we’d won. But knowing that we’ve not won, the battle continues, and—if anything—is more frustrating than ever. At this point, it’s out of our hands. Phone calls to Schweitzer’s office will not change a thing. Now we sit and wait to see if/when the Montana State Legislature tosses it back to him.

If they do, he’ll sign it.

If he signs it, Montana license plates can read, “The Slaughter State.”

So today I felt stumped. Defeated. Not sure what to write.

Now I know. Today we were given a gift, that of insider knowledge. This is a valuable tool—knowledge. The Truth shall set you free. The light of Truth, shining in the darkness—can turn it all around for the horses.

We have the ammo we need now: the email I received via AHP today carried the subject line, “Would You Eat Horse Meat?”

I turned on my mental heel. They had my attention. I had to peek inside, and see behind the curtain.

This email was from a website that identified itself as http://www.CheyenneOutlaw.com.

I’d never heard of them before. I thought it might be a group of cowboys, perhaps a newsletter of cowboy poets.

Not quite. Cheyenne Outlaw Ranch is—you guessed it—a cattle ranch in Wyoming.

Their mission is to “grow” and sell—beef.

Why, you might ask yourself, would they wish to contact those of us who work in publishing in equine industries? Hmmmmm…tap yourself on the chin. Think about this a minute.

It all became wildly clear the minute I read the email: supposedly, The Cattle Grower Network had conducted a poll. Uh, yeah. And in that poll, they asked if readers would eat horsemeat if it were available to them.

Uh-huh. A rigged poll. People who are members of Cattle Grower Network, answering a question that, on its surface, seems simple.

Disgusting, but simple.

The underlying implication is enormous.

Finally--the Truth behind the push for horse slaughter plants.

The Truth, that those who are proponents are no more concerned about “unwanted horses” than a bald man is about unwanted hair.

The Truth is that the Ag lobby is working with the “cattle growers” not only to re-introduce horse slaughter into the United States—the underlying reason for doing so is that the next step after reintroduction is to create a market for horsemeat IN the United States.

The beef industry has been hurting lately. Too many people actually concerned about silly things like, oh, I don’t know—cholesterol. Fat. Colon cancer.

What, oh, what, can a “cattle grower” whose profit margin is flagging do? Hmmm…got land. Got grass. Got fields fenced in. Beef, fatty. HORSE…not so fat.

Horsemeat = a marketing strategy that could save the necks of the ranchers who’ve invested millions of dollars into an industry that is threatened by a growing American concern for health.

Read the link above, to the “poll” and those who agree with the results of the poll—that, supposedly, horsemeat just may be an acceptable addition to the American diet. Read the words, then let them set in.

Realize that this is a well-calculated campaign. This is NOT random people who happen to think that horse slaughter is a good thing.

This, my friends, is every bit as insidious a campaign as the tobacco industry creating chocolate cigarettes for children.

This campaign was hatched in the boardrooms of The Beef Council. This plan is being executed by the Ag lobbyists and the ranchers. This, they believe, will be the plan that saves the ranchers.

All this time, we anti-slaughter people thought they were merely executing the “slippery slope” argument, that, if horse slaughter is taboo in America—they’ll come for the beef industry next.

That passive-aggressive approach—that’s what we thought they were up to.

But today’s email revealed the Truth—Hallelujah, the Truth will set the horses free.

The real motivation of the Ag lobby and the Beef People is not to prevent beef slaughter from being outlawed—for that would never happen. The real motivation is to open wide the door to horse slaughter so that RANCHING HORSES for meat will not only become acceptable—it will become an exciting, viable new market for the cattle ranchers. “Branching out,” as it were. Creating a new market, and giving it the old hard-sell.

Once horse slaughter plants are put in Montana and the Dakotas—it’s all downhill from there. They think that we anti-slaughter people will just give up, and go away with a whimper. That we’ll shrug our withers, and give in.

No doubt they even aspire to converting Willie Nelson: their clever marketing wonks envision Willie as a potential ally, the face of The American Horsemeat Council. Once that door to slaughter is flung wide-open—the possibilities are endless.

I am not arguing in slippery slope here, friends. All you need do is read this nonsense from the cattle “growers,” this email they sent to their allies, to see through their transparent motive.

If we open that door—if we let Governor Schweitzer amend so vile a bill as to make it palatable, and pass it into law—then the Ag lobby and beef “growers” can institute Phase II: the cultural and governmental acceptance of horse ranches.

If you don’t want to see billboards for “Secretariat: the Other Red Meat”—you must work with us. You don’t need my vivid imagination to see that this is the real motivation for the push for slaughter: all you need is eyes to read; a brain to comprehend and a heart to give a damn.

Ag lobby—we are finally on to you. We’ve got you in our scopes. You’re goin’ down. No Alydar Alpo for me—and no Filly Filet at Peter Luger’s.

Not now. Not ever.

Written by Marion (Mare) Altieri

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Sunday, March 22, 2009


Montana’s Big, Bloody Sky


How morally bankrupt must be the soul of a person who works as a killerbuyer?
Or as a member of the Montana State Legislature?

Both these groups of people are on The Alpha Mare's Hit List this week, for both play a very active role in the torture and dismemberment of equines—and in the eventual distribution of horsemeat for consumption in Europe. Apparently both sleep very well at night, also, ThankYouVeryMuch.


Let's start with the most urgent bit, the covert and tres sneaky actions of those funloving Montanans. We'll report on our jaunt straight up to the Gates of Hell—a conversation with a killerbuyer—tomorrow. (We, the "royal we," that is, cantered into that vast wasteland…we called said killerbuyer at home, and had a chat. The hairs of my mane are still singed from the encounter. I can still taste the sulfur on my lips. But that journey will be the subject of tomorrow night's report.)

Tonight we must get your full attention onto a very serious subject—and get you to take action. ASAP.

This week, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer will sit, pen-in-hand, and either sign or not sign a bill that passed the Montana State Legislature in late February. Right under our noses, those tricky boys in cowboy hats gathered under their big sky and created a death warrant for horses.

The details:
"The (Montana State) Senate endorsed House Bill 418, which would allow a horse slaughter facility in the predominately rural state and offer it legal protection if someone challenges legality of the plant. The bill also requires anyone contesting the construction of the plant to post a bond equal to 20% of the estimated construction cost.

The bill, introduced by state Representative Ed Butcher (R-Winifred), passed the state House of Representatives on February 25 by a 66-33 margin."
(Ref: http://www.montanahorsesanctuary.org/abouthorseslaughter.html )

How appropriate is that last name? Hollywood couldn't contrive a more perfect moniker for a politician whose pockets are lined in horseblood, than "Ed Butcher." It's oh, so, Johnny Depp-esque.

And how insane is it that, anyone who contests the construction and legality of the plant will have to post a bond equal to 20% of the estimated construction cost? That's…Mafiosi. That's…corrupt. That's…RIGGED. That's…that's…the American way?: If you don't like the fact that they're running roughshod over the Law of the United States of America…they'll find a way to fine YOU for THEIR crime.

So I, The Alpha Mare, sitting here in New York, do hereby contest the construction of the slaughterhouse in Montana. Its construction is illegal on its face.

And I am hereby throwing down the gauntlet, and screaming, "GO AHEAD, BOYS. FINE ME. Charge me bond to the tune of 20% of the construction costs." (I'm Italian and Irish: I'm not afraid of bullies and lawbreakers—especially if the lawbreakers are those who took oaths to defend that very Law.)

I hope that the irony here is not lost on you: the very people who took oaths to defend the Law of the United States of America—are giving the proverbial finger to that very same Law. The USDA is not (legally) allowed to send inspectors to meat "processing" plants—read that, slaughterhouses—that kill horses. Ergo—there's that damned Greek logic again—ergo, the meat coming from a US horse slaughterhouse, such as is proposed for Montana—is illegal meat. Cannot be sold. Cannot be consumed, anywhere.

Flying in the face of that law regarding the USDA, the Montanans passed this bill, which they intend to pass into their own law, to build a building for the express purpose of slaughtering horses and other equines.

The fact that the USDA will not send inspectors to inspect the meat does not faze them, whatsoever.

The fact that, any meat sold or distributed sans USDA stamp of approval is therefore illegal meat—doesn't flutter an eyelash for them.

This bill, if passed by the single swipe of Governor Schweitzer's pen, will re-introduce horse slaughter into the United States.

We're still striving to get H.R. 503 passed (forbidding transportation out of the US for purposes of slaughter)—and now this comes along, seemingly out of left field.

There's no reason to believe that Governor Schweitzer won't sign the bill—after all, those boys in chaps (members of the Legislature, and the ranchers), write his paycheck every week. He has every reason to sign the bill—and not a single reason against.

Except, oh, you know—morals and the illegality of it all.

The excuses offered by the legislators for wanting a slaughterhouse built in Montana are the same old-same old: old and sick horses, etc. That the ranchers' livelihoods are threatened by the excess horses lying around. That unwanted horses are abused. Yada-yada-yada.

All these arguments have been neatly answered by http://www.kaufmanzoning.com:

"If horses aren't slaughtered, where will all the unwanted horses go?
The annual number of horses slaughtered in the US dropped from over 300,000 in the 1990s to less than 66,000 in 2004, with no special infrastructure to absorb the thousands of “unwanted” horses that were not slaughtered. Horses are being kept longer, sold to others, humanely euthanized, or donated to retirement and rescue facilities. The “surplus horse population” is a myth."*

"Will banning horse slaughter mean more cases of horse abuse and neglect?
No. In fact, both the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture reported that during a year long closing of the only slaughter plant in the region due to fire, abuse cases actually decreased. California banned horse slaughter in 1998—since that time horse theft has dropped 34% and cruelty reports have not increased Texas, which had the only two slaughter plants in 2003, had among the nations highest rates of cruelty and theft that year. The existence of horse slaughter plants seems to be directly related to increased horse abuse and theft."**

Ah, then there's the argument put forth by the Montana politicians, themselves: that the slaughterhouse as proposed is actually good for the economy. Hmmmm. Since "the plant," as the euphemism has been tagged, is owned by a BELGIAN company: it will have no positive effect on the economy, at all.

"How will banning slaughter affect the economy?
The three existing slaughter plants are foreign owned, and pay no corporate taxes or export tariffs. The entire horse meat industry is only 0.001% the size of the U.S. meat industry, making it economically insignificant."***

Oh, yeah, and the jobs for those workers whose deadened souls slit the throats of horses in the bloodied halls of a slaughterhouse?

Yeah…they can get another job. These are not high-level jobs that require much experience or education. All you need do is learn how to blow out the brains of a horse, and not want to kill yourself for doing it.

I refuse to believe that, if a slaughterhouse isn't built—anyone's family will suffer. Follow this logic: I'm not being "cruel." This is me being utterly pragmatic:

a. The jobs weren't there in the first place—it's not that there was a slaughterhouse, then the mean old horselovers closed it up.

b. So: there WERE NO slaughterhouse jobs.

c. Ergo: no jobs were lost.

ERGO: this means, "THEREFORE": and this is basic Greek logical argumentation, folks: ergo—no one lost a job, and those who would work in "the plant" can find another job that doesn't require much experience, education or spiritual content.

If I sound harsh, it's because I have absolutely Had It. I have had it with selfishness and pure, unadulterated greed that runs the slaughter industry. The condemned souls who are trying to push slaughter back into America are not doing it because they give a tiny damn about the economy, or the people who make up their constituency. Of course they don't care about the horses, we know this. But they lie through their bonded teeth when they say that they're doing it for the people they represent.

If they cared one iota for the Montanans who need jobs—they'd CREATE jobs, jobs that would offer a future and some reason to live besides a paycheck. They'd take money from the General Fund, and create jobs that give people a reason to be content at the end of a hard workday, to know that they've done a good job and have contributed to society.

If the Montana politicians gave a damn about their constituents—they wouldn't pass bills that offer only jobs murdering horses, and deadening human souls. If they cared about people in their state—they wouldn't pour innocent blood all over the hands of the people whose credentials are minimal, who need low-level jobs because that's all they can do.

A slaughterhouse job isn't one of which one is proud, or that promises a future of advancement and self-esteem building. It's like being a hooker or drug dealer: no five-year-old child says, "Daddy, when I grow up, I want to slit horsies' throats and watch them exsanguinate."

In other words—the politicians in Montana are concerned only with lining their own pockets with the money of the Belgians who will own this plant.

Think about this:

I actually care more about the people who live and work in Montana than their own Representatives.

I care more about Montana obeying the Law of the United States—the Law that refuses to allow USDA inspectors to enter a horse slaugher plant in Montana—than cares the entire body of the State Legislature of Montana.

And that's a damned shame.

This week, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer will pick up a pen and either create something illegal, or he'll obey the Law of the United States.

The Law which he swore to uphold.

You must—I am not asking, I am saying that you must—pick up the phone first thing in the morning, and remind him that he swore before God and history to uphold and defend the Law of the United States. And that, if he signs this bill and allows the Belgians to create a slaughterhouse in Montana—he will, in a very real way, be breaking the Law of the United States. For if no meat can legally be inspected, then no meat can be sold.

And why would anyone build a slaughterhouse that cannot sell the meat? Does Governor Schweitzer really expect that the slaughterhouse will just keep murdering horses and letting the meat pile up and rot? If it moves out of the building—it's doing so illegally.

You might want to remind him of this…and let him know that, if he does this illegal act…we law-abiding citizens of the United States will be forced to take legal action against him, the State Legislature of Montana and the Belgians who will illegally process horsemeat.

These are the things that I'll say when I call Governor Schweitzer in the morning. If you have ever loved a horse, if you've ever made a dime working in the equine industry—I am begging you to call him, too. Don't let your emotion be your guide—he won't listen to this. But if we remind him of the illegality of the project and the implications thereof…we can stop this before slaughter sneaks back into our country.

Then we have "only" to concentrate on H.R. 503. Ahhhh, I had nothing else to do this week, anyway…

Governor Brian Schweitzer:
(406) 444-3111 (Phone)
(406) 444-5529 (FAX)

* http://www.kaufmanzoning.net
** http://www.kaufmanzoning.net
*** http://www.kaufmanzoning.net

A youtube video put together by Sandy Elmore



Written by Marion (Mare) Altieri

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


California Screamin’:  Ignorance + Denial = Death


I have had it. Officially done with stupidity, ignorance and complacency. There was a time when I tried to put my faith where my mouth was—occasionally—and attempted to show a little tenderness to people who didn’t deserve it.

No More Ms. Nice Guy: I’m angry as Hell, I’m packin’ heat—and I’m naming names. I’m up at an ungodly hour of the morning, writing this rant because I just saw something that sent me over the edge.

This video online (Yahoo! News) is about 100 horses being starved to death by their owners in California.

Not “just any” horses—these are Thoroughbreds. OUR Thoroughbreds. Every person who has a stake in Thoroughbred racing—whether you’re the breeder who made the horse; the owner, trainer, jockey, exercise rider, groom--or the bettor who makes money off their sweat—you are responsible for the welfare of our equine athletes. If you make your living from your involvement in the sport—you are responsible for their welfare. You can’t have the perks without the responsibilities: that’s a lesson we teach three-year-olds.

(No, I’m not kidding. There are all kinds of ways we can step up to the plate and take responsibility for the horses—it’s up to you to find your way, I can’t help you there.)

Back to the starving Thoroughbreds in California. Oh, let’s name names: they were/may still be—on Cochema Ranch in Frazier Valley, California. Owned by Cecilia Bor and her family, this Thoroughbred puppy mill is a member of California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association. Three of their stallions—General Gem, Giant Asset and Cat in the House—are listed in the 2008 CTBA Stallion Directory.

We must note here that Giant Asset’s pedigree is Affirmed, out of Nashua’s Frolic, a daughter of Nashua. This horse was no slouch.

Ah, yes: “was.” Giant’s Asset is dead. In 2006. Apparently of starvation. The other two are probably dead, too—just a wild guess. I tried to find them at Pedigree Query, but nothing beyond their pedigrees there. That awkward silence on the ‘site, when there’s no information about a horse. (“He, uh, ‘slipped through the cracks.’ Yeah, that’s it, he slipped through the cracks..”)

Responsible breeders and owners are happy to provide info to accompany their horses’ pedigrees. Ergo, it’s a good guess that, when a horse’s information is missing—the horse found its way to the killpen, starvation or some other unsavory end.

The story out of California is that a good citizen—and no doubt, horse lover—Patty Wallace—collected a stack of complaints about Cochema Ranch and the horses locked on that farm, starving to death and suffering from myriad unthinkable diseases and rot. Ms. Wallace handed over the stack of complaints to the local Humane Society, which apparently took its time getting investigators out there. So Patty called the Sheriff, who looked at the complaints and descended on the ranch.

That’s the only Good News of this piece: that someone (Patty Wallace) has a heart of compassion, and did something. And that the sheriff’s department got involved, and began removing horses from the clutches of the human vermin who owned them.

Now for the Bad News: not “news,” per se—just my observations. Now is the time to flip the channel or hang with me, pick one. I am livid. My eyes are practically filled with blood, as rage about this incident floods my heart and mind. I cannot fathom anyone—the Bors, the owners of Cochema Ranch—having 100 horses (Thoroughbred or other) and allowing them to starve to death. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for it. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Noyle.

If you have horses and you can’t afford to feed them—if life’s gone down the dumper and you can’t provide food, clean water, medicine and shelter for your horses—give them away. Hand them over to TRF or any of the myriad wonderful charities that will gladly find homes for them.

Stand on the roof of your house and scream, “HELP!” until someone comes to the rescue. But do not—DO NOT—tell me that you love your horses, yet you allowed them to rot like so many corpses in a Wes Craven film.

I don’t want to hear your excuses: “the price of gas is high.” “The price of hay is high.” “Feed is going through the roof.” “We love our horses, but…”

Clearly, the Bor family is nuts, simple-minded or both. No one with a decently-high IQ would allow this to happen, and actually go on record as saying, “We love our horses. They’re our children.” Cecilia Bor said that to a TV reporter. Obviously, Ms. Bor is either a liar or an idiot—there’s no middle ground.

The Mansons were a “family,” too.

Now for the Big Indictments: where is the CHRB and the CTBA in all this? The California Horse Racing Board—while a governing board that oversees the racing aspect of the industry—must surely have its eyes on the breeding operations in the state? And if not—why not?

And the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association? To wag my finger at them and say, “Shame on you,” is not enough, clearly. Believe it or not, Cochema Ranch is actually a member of CTBA.

Those three stallions are listed in THIS year’s California Stallion Directory. Including the dead one.

Seems the California Thoroughbred Stallion Directory needs to hire a fact-checker.

The CTBA had under its nose at least one Thoroughbred breeding farm that was killing its horses by starving them to death—and either didn’t know it, or ignored the fact. Does no one from either CHRB or CTBA take a drive and do spot-checks on farms? Or was it so important to add the names of those three emaciated stallions to the roster of state-breds that they took the Bor’s membership fees and ran into that comfy state of denial?

At any rate, someone, somewhere, dropped the ball. 100 horses—including foals, mares in foal and stallions—have been starving to death on Cochema Ranch since at least 2006. These horses have been dropping like flies, too weak even to neigh, too discouraged to nicker. And some stupid, self-absorbed, money-grubbing pig of a human at every step along the way—either ignored or denied the plight of these horses.

Oh, I know that the pro-equicide people will say that Cochema Ranch is a good example of why America “needs” equicide (horse slaughter for money). That “unwanted” horses starve to death, so slaughter is the viable option. And that, as we know, is a load of crap—because, while the pro-slaughter people hold their thumbs and middle fingers together, chanting “Ohm” and “unwanted horses”—they know, as do you, that horses in the shape of those on Cochema Ranch aren’t “fit” enough to make it onto the killerbuyers’ trucks.

Think about that for a minute: these horses were too weak and sick to walk onto a slaughterhouse-bound truck—so even the killerbuyers, the scum-suckers of the Earth—wouldn’t take them.

(So the “unwanted horses” argument is invalid. Don’t send me a comment ranting about “unwanted horses” and why equicide would have been “better” for the Cochema horses. That’s non-sense, and you know it.)

Can you hear it? Can you smell the money in the air: Breeders’ Cup Season is upon us. For the next month, the industry will be fawning over the richest owners and breeders. Kabillion-dollar horses will do battle on the untested artificial surface of Santa Anita. Wealthy women with way-too much money will don Versace and Prada, their men proudly displaying their fillies—and their horses. Conspicuous consumption will mark the party to which the masses are not invited, the soiree for those who can afford the best caviar, champagne and feed.

Rome burns. Nero fiddles. 100 miles away from the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita—100 horses are dead or dying. One-hundred miles, 100 Thoroughbreds—children of Affirmed, grands of Seattle Slew—call out to the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and California Horse Racing Board. Their cries are drowned out by the sound of All That Money flapping in the breeze at Santa Anita.

The two governing bodies whose responsibility it was to oversee breeding farms in the state of California have failed miserably. I cannot be convinced that they didn’t know this was going on: the chain of evidence from two years ago indicates that the first reports—when Giant Asset was found starved to death—had to have gone straight from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office to the CHRB. There is no valid reason why, two years later, Cochema Ranch is still in existence, the Bors locked in a Cal State detention barn.

If every Thoroughbred farm in California offered to take, love, nurture and feed just ONE of these horses—the problem would be solved. But I’m sure it won’t happen, because there’s no money to be made on a sack of bones that was once a racehorse. The only reward to stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility is the knowledge that you did The Right Thing.

Shame on you, CHRB and CTBA, for expending every ounce of energy, money and attention to those two days at the end of October—and for ignoring 100 of your own charges, suffering for over two years.

You Thoroughbred “experts” haven’t stepped up to the plate—I am ashamed to be in the same sport as you. You don’t deserve your fat jobs overseeing the California Thoroughbred industry—and 100 horses don’t deserve to die for YOUR sins.


Written by Marion (Mare) Altieri

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