To the editor:
I'm writing to express my concern about horse racing to return to Great Barrington. There are so many reasons why it would cause problems, from pollution of the ground and water to traffic congestion. When there was racing there for two years in the 1990s, it wasn't profitable.
But the main reason I would hate to see horse racing come back is the lousy way the industry generally treats its horses. Most begin training at around 18 months of age, before their bones are strong enough. This can cause injuries at the time or even later on it's the cause for them being killed because they can't be winners. More than 10,000 thoroughbreds per year are shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be killed and exported for food. These horses include those who lose races, whose stud fee drops, and also nurse horses. Most are 4 to 6 years old, which is quite young considering the average horse lifespan is 25 years and up. Most of those sent for slaughter are in good condition but the "kill buyers" frequently outbid legitimate owners and rescuers.
Horses are also whipped in full view of spectators, drugged and isolated in stalls for up to 23 hours a day, which is hard on herd animals, who need to socialize. Please contact state Sen. Adam Hinds and your local state representative and ask them to oppose horse racing returning to Berkshire County.
The writer is a member of Berkshire Voters for Animals.