The Racehorse Shelter Nonprofit Venture
This paper discusses strategic opportunities for a unique non-profit venture. The equine industry is one among the major animal industry in the world. This is because horses – the layman’s term for equine – are one of the most expensive animals to buy and to take care of. Equines can be considered as a pet for animal lovers, a practical means of transport within the farm or to country-side areas, and also a good form of business in a way of breeding and racing quality horses.
But what happens to the race horses that can no longer race? Introduction The equine industry is one among the major animal industries in the world. This is because horses – the layman’s term for equine – are one of the most expensive animals to buy and to take care of. Horses can be considered as a pet for animal lovers, a practical means of transport within the farm or to country-side areas, and also a good form of business in a way of breeding and racing horses. Indeed, there are a number of uses that can be applied for the horses.
This is the very reason why the equine industry has been receiving great attention both from the government sector and the private animal-related organizations. There are a series of laws and regulations made to facilitate the smooth flow of equine industry, both in the business and health perspectives. Background Racing Industry History Horses, one of the most fascinating animals in the history of mankind, have been an integral part of society since the beginning of civilization. In the days of primitive culture, man looked towards the horse as a source of food.
Since that time however, he has relied on the horse for warfare, work, transportation and sport. After God, said the Spanish conquistadors, we owed the victory to the horse. With equal truth it can be asserted that much of our human progress has been dependent upon the use man has made of the horse (Edwards, 1985). Edward’s affirmation is further proven throughout history. From the migration of primitive nomads to the conquering of entire civilizations, there is no aspect of life that the horse has not affected. The horses’ history began millions of years before humans even evolved.
Horses were so important to ancient society, that such evidence is depicted through many works of art and literature. Through these remnants one can see exactly how horses were eaten, sacrificed, worshiped and ridden in battle since pre-historic times. Often times, especially in mythology, certain ideas about horses came about from an explanation of actual events. What is known today as the modern horse took many years to evolve into what it has become. “One of the earliest records of man riding a horse is an engraving on bone, found at Susa from the third millennium BC” (Edwards, 1985).
As they became more popular, horses soon replaced reindeer, and were used to draw sleds in Northern Europe. Likewise, horses also began to replace other animals as a vehicle. A mounted man on these fast-moving creatures could certainly hunt with greater efficiency. “The first time man employed some means other than human power was an immense step in world history” (Roberts, 1987). “Man’s domestication of the horse throughout the centuries has been so thorough and comprehensive that there are really no truly wild horses left in existence” (Roberts, 1987).
Although horses do run free in the world, they are all decedents of some form of domesticated animal. The Breeders Breeders of Thoroughbred racehorses have a motto: “Breed the best to the best, and hope for the best. ” Farms from California to New York, Florida to Maryland, are all trying to emulate what breeders in the state of Kentucky have done for centuries — produce champions. For breeders, the study of bloodlines is a way of life. The art of matching a dam (the horse’s mother) with a sire (the father) to produce a top foal is part art form, part science, and a great deal of luck.
For instance, Alydar, who finished second to Affirmed in all the 1978 Triple Crown races, sired a pair of Kentucky Derby winners in Alysheba (1987) and Strike the Gold (1991); Affirmed has yet to sire a Derby winner. The breeder will contribute to the race horse shelter every time a thoroughbred race horse is registered with the Jockey Association. This fee, of $200. 00 is collected by The Jockey Association and sent directly to the shelter to help with the costs of providing food, shelter and medical care for the horses. The fee will also provide the necessary salaries to the members of the team. The Horses
The Thoroughbred breed originates from the Middle East, where centuries ago Arab rulers bred their great stallions to select mares in the hopes of producing faster and stronger horses. The lineage, or family history, of a horse is known as its pedigree. Soon after a horse’s birth, the owner and/or breeder registers it with The Jockey Club, the official racing record keeping organization for the breed. After the colt (male) or filly (female) is born, the breeder puts in countless hours of hard work to get the horse ready for the races. While most thoroughbreds are born between January and June, they have a universal birthday of January 1.
This standard was set up to simplify the process of creating races for horses of a certain age. (For example, the Kentucky Derby is restricted to three year olds). During the young horse’s first autumn, they are separated from the mother and grouped together with other “weanlings”; continuing to grow and learn. The following spring, the developing horses, now known as “yearlings” will begin to be taught the ways of the racetrack. Beginning with the first days of placing a saddle on their back, they are being trained for a career at the races.
The young horses begin training at on their “home” farm or shipped to a training facility to be “broken” for riding and eventually racing. Developing a good racehorse takes considerable time and patience. Training begins slowly, with light jogs and gallops around the track; developing a routine to get the horse accustomed to track life. Later, serious training begins; they start to put in longer gallops to build stamina, and work their way up to a “two-minute lick”, meaning a robust mile gallop in two minutes. As it gets closer to their second birthday, the casual farm life has been left behind.
Horses at this age now begin workouts, usually starting with 1/8 of a mile, called their first “blowout”, and working their way up as the day of moving from training center to racetrack nears. The Thoroughbred on the Track Today, Thoroughbreds generally begin their racing career at age two (Remember, all racehorses have a universal birthday of January 1), and remain racing as long as they are main competitive or until retirement for breeding purposes. A Thoroughbred is not considered an adult horse until it is five years of age, so when they begin their career at age two or three, they are really just developing children and teenagers.
Horses go through a lot of growing pains and changes during this time. Often you will see precocious two-year-olds that are touted as next year’s Kentucky Derby favorite that end up no where to be seen come that first Saturday in May. Most everyone in racing will tell you that their dream is to see their horse in the Derby winner’s circle, but with some 35,000 foals born in the United States each year, and only 20 maximum make it to the race, reality sets in quickly. So even if a horse doesn’t make the Derby, there are plenty of opportunities for a horse to be successful on the track.
As a horse develops, it usually acquires a certain racing style; whether it is a front-runner or off-the-pace type, or maybe it prefers racing on turf rather than dirt. There is the rare animal that is comfortable no matter how the race develops or on any type of track, able to adapt to every situation. Whatever their style, the bettor needs to compare it to the rest of the horses in the field and see how the race might unfold. The Trainers While the jockey is usually the person that the racing fans most identify with, the single most important player in a racehorse’s life is the trainer.
Trainers generally earn their money in two ways: through a “day rate” they charge the owner(s) for day-to-day training; and “stakes” they earn when their owner’s horse wins a race, usually 10% of the owners winnings. The trainer is comparable to a team’s coach – continually trying to produce winners with a constantly changing barnful of talent. For every horse in the barn, the trainer teaches them how to race, hones their speed, builds their endurance, sees to their care, and calls in help to heal their injuries.
All horses possess a certain amount of class; ultimately telling in the level of race at which they will be successful. As a trainer begins to work with a horse, they assess that class and train accordingly. For the fans, training is like practicing. Horses are trained almost every morning, when they are taken to the racetrack to walk, jog, gallop or workout, depending on their schedule. Workouts are the most noteworthy part of the training regimen. Shorter workouts (those a half mile or under) are designed to increase speed, while longer ones build stamina.
As with any athlete, horses experience physical problems. This is where the keen eye of an experienced trainer can significantly affect a horse’s career. Racehorses are by nature delicate, and by closely watching for and treating injuries before they become serious, the trainer will save his horse, owner and himself a lot of problems. For medical problems, trainers call in their veterinarian. At all racetracks, there are a group of vets who, usually working out of their vehicle instead of an office, travel through the barn area taking care of their clients’ horses day to day needs.
After all of this, the trainer still has to select the races in which the horses will compete. Trainers use the condition book, created by the Racing Secretary, to select the type of race for each horse in the stable. For example, if the horse has yet to win, it would be entered in a “maiden” race against other non-winners. An old horsemen’s adage is to, “keep myself in the best company and my horses in the worst”. Easier said than done, but some trainers have the knack. For the bettor, it is essential to watch the trainers and see which ones are the most successful.
The track program has a stats page for trainers, with all the information needed evaluate when they are most successful. Knowing the trainers and being able to pick up on their hot and cold spells is a top priority in making winning selections at the track. The trainer will contribute to the race horse shelter every time a thoroughbred race horse is registered as a racing horse. This fee, of $100. 00 is collected by the race track and sent directly to the shelter to help with the costs of providing food, shelter and medical care for the horses. The fee will also provide the necessary salaries to the members of the team.
The Jockeys Jockeys generally get their mounts in races when the horses are training each morning. A jockey employs an agent, who, working for a percentage of their rider’s winnings, tries to secure the best horse for them in each race. The tricky part for the agent comes when several trainers want their rider for the same race. Now the jockey’s agent is like any bettor – they are handicapping the horses and putting their rider on the most likely winner. Riding atop a Thoroughbred at speeds up to 40 miles per hour for a mile or more requires tremendous athletic ability and concentration.
The best jockeys are skillful strategists and superior gamesmen. They are experts at bringing out the best qualities of their mounts. Top riders are also familiar with the characteristics of many other horses in the race. In addition to the athletic demands of racing, a jockey must maintain a certain weight for riding, normally between 100 and 115 pounds. Strict dieting and conditioning programs are a constant concern for most riders. The jockeys will be desired as caregivers and exercisers for the horses residing at the race horse shelter. The jockeys will be a salaried employee of the team.
Many jockeys have a hard time finding employment after their racing careers are over. The race horse shelter will provide employment for these retire jockeys. Racehorse Industry The racehorse industry has been demonstrating positive levels of success and has had a considerable impact on the market overall. A 2003 summary report provided by the Louisiana State University summarized the successes and contributions of the horse industry as follow: “The race horse industry is composed of 1,178 breeders who own 10,161 mares that produced 5,971 foals that were sold in 2003 for $35. 8 million.
These breeders own 1,977 stallions that were bred to 5,313 mares, generating income from stud fees of $13. 3 million. The total income generated from racehorse production was $49. 1 million. An additional 2,229 racehorse owners owned 10,903 racehorses in training or on the track at a value of $109 million. The impact of racehorse owners and breeders’ activities in 2003 was $158. 1 million. The show and competition horse industry (horse shows, barrel racing, cutting, roping, team penning, etc. ) is composed of 2,600 breeders who own 7,847 mares that produced 4,901 foals that were sold for $14.
7 million. These breeders own 718 stallions that bred 8,351 mares, generating $12. 5 million in income from stud fees. The total income generated from show and competition horse production was $27. 2 million. Another 4,634 owners compete on their 14,901 horses valued at $59. 6 million. The total impact of the show and competition horse industry is $86. 8 million. A large portion of the horse industry is recreational. The horse is used for comfort, exercise and enjoyment. About 20% or 8,570 of the recreational horse owners bred 21,554 mares and sold 11,392 foals in 2003 for $17.
1 million. These horsemen own 933 stallions that were bred to 5,924 mares, generating income from stud fees of $592,400. The total income from production in the recreational horse industry was $17. 6 million in 2003. Another 25,453 recreational horse owners have 61,366 horses valued at $61 million. There are 129,022 registered horses in Louisiana, owned by 45,331 horsemen. These horses are valued at $324 million. An additional 70,000 grade and other equines are owned by 25,000 people who have a $210 million impact on the economy.
In addition to the value of horses produced and maintained in Louisiana, the activities of the horse industry generate a tremendous cash flow. The four racetracks employ 3,000 people and generate expenditures of about $1 billion per year. The show and competition industry conducts an estimated 500 activities per year and generates $12. 5 million in expenditures. With the value of horses, expenditures on horses and the activities in which they engage, the impact of the horse industry is estimated at $1. 6 billion per year. ” (LSU, 2003).
Apparently, the industry is heading in a positive direction. However, there needs to be better regulation of the industry, particularly in the development of appropriate business ethics to govern those involved in the industry. Sensible business ethics are one of the keys to organizational success. As a corporate strategy businesses involved with horses should lobby for effective legislation to protect the consumer, the business owner and the horse. In the U. K. , for example, all horses are required to possess a passport according to a legislation that came into effect on 31 December 2003.
Other European countries have similar requirements. Even though horse owners previously registered horses this was on a voluntary basis for horses born after 1 January 1998. The new requirement ensures that all horses, particularly those specifically reared for the purposes of slaughtering and consumption, have a passport containing a history of veterinary medicines so that certain medicines do not pass along the food chain to humans. This requirement is also a more effective way of controlling over breeding in certain areas (Defra, 2002).
Policies such as these are useful guidelines for conducting business so that managers adopt correct strategies in all aspects of the industry. Organizations must provide these business ethics and rights to employees (as well as to the livestock of the agriculture or farm industry) to safeguard their needs, to maintain friendly working environment, and to provide boost to a certain industry. Managers cannot anticipate that there will not be challenges in implementing certain principles that will contribute to eventual organizational success.
Jonash (2005) warns that business owners need to be willing to face the challenges that go along with difficult business decisions and strategies. He holds that achieving short, medium and long-term success is not easy. He suggests that managers accept the reality that there are no quick fixes to organizational problems and thus should be willing to follow through with tested and proven strategies even if the implementation process seems difficult. The above-mentioned statistics show clearly that this system is working very well in the US and can even improve if the overall racehorse industry follows proper policies and procedures.
Slaughter Industry History Slaughterhouses slaughter, for consumption, horses which have outlived their usefulness, or are in poor health condition. The history of horse slaughter houses can be trace back from the 8th century when Pope Gregorio III declared that the consumption of horse meat for food is an abominable act (Martuzzi et. al. , n. d. ). He also declared the people eating it as unclean people. However, until today, the use of horse meat is rampant. Customers who use horsemeat in their diet purchase the slaughtered meat in large quantities (House of Commons Hansard, 2002).
Horses are slaughtered for meat and sold in France, Belgium, Holland, Japan and Italy. This mainly originates from the horse slaughtering houses that are widely distributed in Europe and in America. It was in 1928 when the selling of horse meat was strictly prohibited. However, the eventual abolition of this law may be the caused of the emanating horse slaughtering houses. During 1995-2000, the number of horse slaughtering houses along with horse consumption increased. It was only in 1999 when a decrease in the trend was observed and this was mainly caused by BSE, a disease that can be obtained from eating animal meat.
More recently (2005), “around 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year in the United States alone … to be slaughtered” (Meszoly, 2006). Among this large number of horses, 20,000 were exported alive to their countries. These countries include Japan, Mexico, and Canada (Reeves, n. d). In line with the rampant case of horse slaughtering houses, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was established. Its primary goal is to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Most recently, it was on August 2, 2007 when an amendment to the 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill was approved.
This is another move to stop the act done by horse slaughtering horses, to remove its history, present deeds and future acts. Humane Society History The word humane means merciful, sympathetic and benevolent. (HSI Europe, 2008). The humane society is a collective effort of an association to ensure that feelings of mercy and benevolence spread among the local people not only towards their fellow humans but also towards all the “living beings” around them. These living beings include a whole range of animals, birds and at times even plants.
Most recently altering the gene of animals through genetic engineering for the purpose of mere experimentation are also taken into serious consideration by the modern humane societies. Humane societies aim to prohibit in-humane and brutal behavior towards other humans and animals. Today humane societies for animal protection are specifically called “societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA’s)” (HSI Europe, 2008). Brief Aims and Purposes of Humane Societies The basic aim of most humane societies and SPCA’s, remains to be the prevention of cruelty against animals.
If animals cannot voice their own demands and cannot speak up against the brutalities being committed on them, it does not mean that humans should take advantage of them and justify their cruel acts to be correct. Other major purposes include dealing with the problem of shelter, adoption and euthanasia. Euthanasia (bringing about an easy death) is carried out in order to deal with the problems of unwanted animals in a community and prevent conditions of overcrowding in animal shelters.
However, some SPCA’s have a no kill policy. This nevertheless does not mean that euthanasia is completely avoided; it means that it is used only very rarely in serious situations. On the international and national front many organizations fight for the rights of wildlife and work animals which face extremely harsh treatment from poachers, smugglers, hunters and other people who kill or use animals merely for economic gain and people who employ animals to work for them. History of Humane Societies
United States of America: Though England was possibly the first known country to have set up a humane society, other countries like USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were quick to follow. Henry Burgh founded the first humane society of USA in 1866 in New York, known as the “American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)” The Humane Society of the United States, American Humane which was founded in 1877 as a network of local organizations to prevent cruelty to children and animals (HSI Europe, 2008).
Many other local organizations were set up and worked with similar objectives such as, animal safety, providing sanctuaries and possibilities of adoption for animals and dealing with the problems of unwanted animals through the controversial process of euthanasia or otherwise through a “no kill” policy (HSI Europe, 2008). No kill actually means minimizing euthanasia so that it is only used under certain circumstances.
United Kingdom: The first ever humane society was set up in England, known as the Royal Humane society founded in 1774 A. D. (HSI Europe, 2008). It was a charitable organization which awarded people for acts of saving human lives or restoring human lives by resuscitation. Following the steps of Royal Humane society, the Glasgow Humane Society was founded in Glasgow, Scotland in 1790. Since then it has been acting as an organization for the” prevention, rescue and recovery group set up for Greater Glasgow, Scotland (HSI Europe, 2008).
An organization especially for animal rights was founded in 1824, known as the “Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to animals (RSPCA) followed by Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to animals (SSCPA) and Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to animals (USCPA). An organization for treating animal illnesses and injuries of wildlife and the pets and working animals of the local poor people, known as the People’s Dispensary for Sick animals was founded in 1917 (HSI Europe, 2008).
Canada: The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is a federation which represents as whole around 123 humane societies all over Canada. However, in 1869 in Montreal the first ever humane society of Canada was set up, known as the Canadian SPCA (HSI Europe, 2008). Australia: The first Australian SPCA was founded in 1871 in Victoria based on British RSPCA. Later, other such organizations were built in other states like in Tasmania in 1872, New South Wales in 1873, Queensland in 1883 and Western Australia in 1892. Though they were warranted the Royal Warrant in 1956, they had no connection with the RSPCA in the UK.
For the purpose of voicing their desires in the federal government regarding animal issues, Australian RSPCA was founded in 1981 (HSI Europe, 2008). New Zealand: In 1882, in Dunedin, the first SPCA of New Zealand was set up. Other such organizations were formed in quick succession. Later they all combined into a union known as the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to work for unified goals and objectives (HSI Europe, 2008). International: Many SPCA’s are also running successfully on an international scale, mostly in European countries.
Humane Society International HSI is one such example of an eminent US based SPCA working successfully in Europe since 1990 (HSI Europe, 2008). Non Profit Horse Rescue History At present, there are many non profit organizations for horse rescue and all of them share the same goals and objectives. These organizations’ main goal and mission is to provide rescue, rehabilitation, foster care, and have a positive environment for those horses and equines that have either been abandoned, abused, unwanted, mistreated, neglected, tortured, retired, or are at risk of going to slaughter.
Each non profit organization for horse rescue has its own history. Long ago, horses and equines were used for transportation. In 1950’s when motorized vehicles were becoming more practical and affordable, horses were replaced as means of transportation by these lower maintenance and faster vehicles. Because of this, many horses were abandoned and neglected and were being sent to slaughter. Thus in 1952, a non profit horse rescue organization called HorseWorld was established to take care of the many working horses whose jobs were taken away and replaced by the motorized vehicles (HorseWorld, 2008).
Many wild horses or mustangs or more accurately termed as feral horses freely roam on public lands in several states of America like Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. However, the numbers of mustangs were declining as time passes. Mustangs are horses whose ancestors were domestic horses that first arrived in America with Christopher Columbus on his voyage in 1493 (Lifesavers Inc. , 1997). Many of these domestic horses were freed or escaped from early explorers, native tribes, etc. to become free-roaming horses all across America.
In order to protect and rescue these horses, the Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed by Congress in 1971 and many non profit horse rescue organizations have come out to protect, manage, and control wild free-roaming horses on public lands. One of these organizations is the Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue. There are many other non profit organizations that protect and rescue not only horses but also dogs and cats from dangerous situations. The important thing is that these organizations give a chance for these animals to have a better life.
This reflects how these animal rescue organizations give value to the rights of animals to safety and just treatment. The equine rescue also provides a better option rather than horse slaughter. The fact that most of the rescue facilities are privately owned and mainly rely on donations may pose a challenge the implementation regulations lay down. This means that horses should not just be sent to slaughter just because they have lost their usefulness. The termination of these horses may be termed as a better option instead of heaping the animals in a rescue facility.
Problem Statement This study is designed to assess the need to provide an alternative to sending race horse to slaughter, if the horse can be rehabilitated and have a successful purpose in life. The study includes a survey to the population of, breeders, trainers, jockeys, and race track owners. The survey consists of both qualitative and quantitative questions. The primary objective of the survey is to determine the need for optional resources for the race horse that can still have a viable life outside if the racetrack.
Horseracing and the slaughtering of horses are two key industry areas involving the use of horses and both private and public sector corporations have some amount of share in either industry area. As with any other animal group it is no surprise that there is a continuing debate on the ethics of both horseracing and horse slaughtering for consumption. These twin industry areas have been the targets of concerns raised on the ethic of slaughtering horses, particularly those that would have previously been used in the horseracing industry but which are no longer of further use to their owners for a variety of reasons.
These horses may be diseased, injured or ill and have little prospect for future recovery. To ensure that they do not suffer a complete loss, owners of racehorses sell these unwanted horses to slaughterers. Some people are totally against the slaughtering of horses. In America and European countries, horsemeat is comparable to the meat of other large animals such as the buffalo, goat, sheep, pig and others. Since people throughout the United States and Europe desire to have horsemeat as a part of their diet then naturally, the slaughter industry too has its own place.
Thus, while persons object to the slaughtering of horses, there are those who have little or no objection to the consumption of horsemeat. Similarly, there are objections to the use of horses for racing because of the reported cruel treatment of these animals and their injection with dangerous substances and steroids to enhance performance. This is a very sore issue in the horse industry. Even sorer is the slaughtering of these horses when they are no longer profitable in the horseracing industry.
This debate is challenging the viability of the equine industry, putting industry shareholders in an uncomfortable position. Both the racehorse and the slaughtering industries are producing at their full capacities in the US and the rest of the world. Like any other business these industries whether private or public need to adopt sound business management strategies through appropriate training so as to be good in business and to provide the best service to buyers and consumers. The care and the right use of horses is also the matter of concern.
The primary use of horses is for racing. However, one cannot avoid the fact that the slaughterhouse, rather than the racecourse, becomes the home for horses unfit for racing. Every year, the number of unfit horses increases thus the number of slaughterhouses also increases. Slaughter industries in the public and private sectors purchase the unwanted horses. Traditionally, the hunter-jumper market has acquired most former racehorses that have no signs of muscular-skeletal abnormalities, and some use previous standard-bred racehorses for driving carriages.
Horses that obtain career-ending injuries are not useful anymore for the owners and fall into the category of unwanted horses. Figures produced by the U. S. department of agriculture reveal, however, that the majority of horses slaughtered (92. 3%) are quite healthy and not, in fact, neglected. An overwhelming majority of Americans and members of Congress oppose slaughtering horses for human consumption (HSUS, 2007). One of the options in dealing with these unwanted horses is for slaughtering and distribution for consumption.
The precise number of horses that make up this category of unwanted is unknown. However, some research reveals that 100,000 horses fall to slaughterhouses each year in the USA. The real number of unwanted horses is much higher than that reported. Horses used on farms are costly to owners, specifically maintenance costs for food, wastage disposal and land use. The slaughter industry appears to be the most attractive option in dealing with these horses.