Thursday, June 18, 2009
KEEP-ing it Real: Putting the Cart Before the (Exsanguinated) Horse.
Observation: KEEP comes out for VLTs, while Kentucky-breds die painfully at the hands of people like Dale Baird.
I find it alternately fascinating and anger-inducing, that KEEP (Kentucky Equine Education Project) can convince 1,000 horsemen in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky to rally in Frankfort to speak up for VLTs, including those that feature pretty pictures of digital horsesâ€¦but I've not heard of such a gathering to demand that horse slaughter in America be terminated.
Or even that Kentucky's killerbuyers be put out of business by means of boycott. (We at HRI have a vested interest in accurate reporting: if such a citizens' protest has taken place, please let us know.)
Honestly, I don't care a horsefeather whether or not Kentucky gets VLTs. I DO think that the potential to install racinos at American racetracks has clouded the thinking of horsepeople who are frantic to find ways to "save" the sport. I don't think that VLTs are the permanent solution, nor do I think that they're the devil incarnate. A group of very wealthy marketing wonks have convinced some otherwise intelligent people that VLTs are the way to build the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing, a claim which has neverâ€”everâ€”proven to be true. The availability of VLTs at a racetrackâ€”offering the public the opportunity to shove a quarter into a machine, then pray for three lemonsâ€”has never once convinced those same individuals to walk ten feet to watch our otherworldly horses defy the theories of physics and break hearts, all at once.
But if I could be guaranteed that even 10% of that money would go to stop equicide (horse slaughter)â€”I'd be the first one standing at the state Capitol, waving a banner. I'd install a VLT in my living room, if a horse's life would be prolonged by that action.
What we in the Equicide Termination Business have so far is a lot of good hearts, with pure intentionsâ€”and some wonderfully obsessive writers, willing to put their reputations on the line in order to do what's right.
Actually, we're quite blessed by the number of humans, and strength of the words that are Out There, every day, fighting for the rights of equines to live fully, and then die a dignified, painless death.
And ample opportunities present themselves for turf writers and laypeople, alike, to write, speak out and proselytize on behalf of the horses. Not a day goes by that equicide, rescue or retirement aren't on the journalistic menu, somewhere in America.
A writer could spend at least 40 hours a week, and dedicate one's life, to the crusade to end equine slaughter in the United States. I'd be happy to make my living that way, and joyously go out of business the second we put an end, once-and-for-all, to the heinous practice. Putting the killerbuyers, slaughterhouse owners and the Governor of Montana out on the streets would be a very satisfying way to earn one's "KEEP," indeed.
Those Judases who happily earn money from the horse, one way or another, and then dispose of the animal as if it were a used tissueâ€”ought to be condemned, roundly. Their names should come out of the darkness, and printed in newspapers. Splashed across banners at rallies. Denied membership in any honorary societyâ€”and certainly never, ever allowed access to the Racing Hall of Fame. Not even as a visitor to the Museum that houses the Hall.
Which finally brings us to Dale Baird. Another writer on this 'site wrote a beautifully-penned, thoroughly- researched piece about the history of Mountaineer Park this week. But his piece brought trainer Dale Baird's name to the top of the heap, and a discussion ensued about Baird's eligibility for Hall of Fame induction, based on his number of winsâ€¦and then how he got those wins.
Apparently the gentleman took horses who couldn't cut it anywhere else, ran them to death, then dumped them into slaughterhouses after he'd used them up. Many people in racingâ€”including meâ€”were not aware of this shameful situation until it was brought to light on HRI on Monday. (Another solid vote in favor of freedom of speech, and fora such as HRI, where voracious readers and crusading writers can come together to learn and better the sport.)
I'm not surprised that Dale Baird's status as Satan's Handmaid was little-known by most of us in racing: I, too, was ignorant of his role in the horses-as-dogfood industry.
That's the thing about those in the horse murder biz: they fly beneath the radar, because they know that their work is, indeed, evil and that they deserve no respect for anything else they may accomplish because of that association.
On the flip side, I am proud to be associated with John Pricci and the crew of HorseRaceInsider.com because of HRI's strong stand against horse slaughter.
For us, standing up against the murderous hordes is a matter of personal choice, an exercise of the dictates of our collective conscience. Equicide is unnecessary, disgusting and just plain wrong, and HRI firmly stands at the forefront of the movement to end it, tout de suite.
HRI features current and archived articles against slaughter, and is honoured to be the racing 'site that is willing to stand in front of the horses, shielding them from the killers.
Alex Brown, along with many others--including Madeleine Pickens; the Humane Society of the United States; Willie Nelson; Toby Keith; Americans Against Horse Slaughter and the Equine Protection Network--have come forth in public fora to speak out against the outrage that is the horse slaughter industry. Their websites are valuable resources for information, encouragement and intelligent argumentation against the sin of slaughter.
Yes, Dale Baird and others in his boots have taken the low road--which is precisely why many of us in racing are unaware of their actions. Those who work in the dark, and who travel in the shadows, can avoid the spotlight of Truth for just so long.
But the light, when shone upon their murderous deeds and blackened souls, eventually reveals their despicable actions to the world.
Dale Baird is not in the Racing Hall of Fame because he doesn't deserve it. He could have won 100,000 races, for all I care: the majority of his horses ran their hearts out, and were then thanked by being strung up, throats slit, exsanguinated. The only Hall to which Baird should be nominated is the Hall of Shame.
Everyone who participates in this sport on any level should speak out against such trainers (owners, etc.) who so willingly make money on the backs of these horses, only to send them to die an unconscionable death.
I urge everyone who reads this 'site--everyone who makes a single red cent on this sport, as a professional or as a professional gambler--to man- and woman-up. Take a stand for the horses who give you pleasure and income. Read the websites of the above groups, and work with us and them to end horse slaughter in 2009.
Have the guts to make your voice heard, and turn your backs on trainers like Dale Baird.
Collectively, we can end the evil practice.
But if we're splintered and uncommitted--the Dale Bairds and their killerbuyers will win. The blood of the victims is not only on the hands of those who actively participate: if we care, but do not speak up--we are guilty in our silence.
My fingers are crossed, that the next KEEP rally in Frankfort is called together to demand that the VLTs in Kentucky be installed with the proviso that a big percentage of that cash cow goes to end equine slaughter in America. If not, we can only assume that KEEP's mission statement, "â€¦ to promote jobs and economic opportunities for Kentuckians through the Commonwealth's world-class horse industryâ€¦." includes a passive acceptance of "killerbuyer" and "killertrainer" as viable employment options.
And the passive acceptance of horse slaughter by equine professionalsâ€”in Kentucky or anywhere else in the United Statesâ€”is not just an oxymoronic phraseâ€”it's a downright sin.
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