Thursday, March 20, 2014
PETA "Investigative" Video
If you haven't already already heard, PETA has released a heavily edited video that accuses trainer Steve Asmussen and his assistant of ill treatment of some of his horses. The video come via an undercover investigation. Of course the video comes out now, and to lay people, its the most SHOCKING THING EVER.
If I understand correctly, the accusations made are A) Steve Asmussen's team allowed a sore horse to race that led to him colic that led to his death; (His team cusses alot! *OH MY!*) B) a jockey was given an electric shock whip and C) Barn workers are illegal aliens making less tha minimum wage (implying slavery exists in horse racing). And who better to adequately inform the public of these accusations? Why the New York Times horse racing "reporter" Joe Drape of course! Before we go through the accusation, it should be said that Mr. Drape does not attempt to question the charges himself. Every one of PETA's accusations is taken at face value. It is unclear who he works for: one of the world's great newspapers or an organization that kills dogs and cats on purpose to make a point about shelters.
But lets work backwards- the workers making less than minimum wage: believe or not that's normal for all agribusiness, which is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. This why there is such a demand for migrant workers. No American citizen is going to pick strawberries at $6/hour. Is it right? No. But Mr. Drape does attempt to educate people on this fact? No.
The electric shock whip issue-I am dismissing this out of hand. It has been proven time and time again that electric whips do not make a horse run faster. Again does Mr. Drape educate people about this? No.
The horse running on a sore hoof and being over medicated-The only thing Mr. Drape does is refer to a horribly written article he published in 2012 about drug use in horse racing. Now that horse racing has severely curtailed drug use (see Mid-Atlantic Uniform Drug rules) does Mr. Drape report this? Of course not.
Here is another quote taken at total face value, from PETA's press release: "Nehro was a magnificent horse. He came in second in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, but what race enthusiasts and reporters never knew was that just a few years later, Nehro was racing and training on chronically painful hooves with holes in them. One of the hooves was, at one point, held together with superglue. Nehro's assistant trainer, Blasi, told PETA's investigator, "I know the f***** hurts"―yet Nehro was kept on the track and forced to participate in workouts. Just two years after that Derby finish, Nehro developed colic and went mad from pain. He was euthanized at Churchill Downs on the day of the 2013 Kentucky Derby."
Since when does colic occur because of hoof discomfort? The two issues are completely separate. And guess what, if a horse get an impaction colic, putting him down is THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO. Does Mr. Drape explain in his article? No.
Ironically, I am not mad at PETA. They are just doing what they think is their job. If Mr. Asmussen is abusing his horses, he needs to be thrown out of the business the way Richard Dutrow and Patrick Beicone were and I will applauded PETA for it. At the end of PETA's article about the video, they ask people to support the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act. I agree. Of course then they go and demand a boycott of horse racing. Whatever, now you lost me. That helps no one, including the horses.
However, my anger is at Mr. Drape and his 100% acceptance of the video and his 100% damnation of the whole industry as a result.
The only people dumber than Drape are the comments I am reading on newyorktimes.com that accompany the article. "I AM NEVER GOING TO ANOTHER HORSE RACE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!" Never went in the first place I image.