Letter: Weighing the pros and cons of horse racing in Great Barrington

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To the editor:

There is only one reason to deny horse racing in Great Barrington: Many horses die or are put to death after being injured in a race.

If this is your reason for being against horse racing, it is commendable. Most horse racers spend thousands of dollars keeping their horses healthy. It seems we hear more about cruelty to dogs and cats than to horses.

The other reasons for denying racing lack merit.

The argument that it will increase home prices lacks credibility unless you can tell the future.

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The argument that it will cause traffic jams is true, but we have jams all summer with Tanglewood. Should we deny Tanglewood and all its benefits because we have a few hours of traffic congestion? It sounds a little like the Pilgrims at Plymouth. You have freedom of religion as long as its our religion.

Horse racing last about six weeks. Now, what are the benefits? It will provide short-term income for many local residents to buy gifts for the holidays, make improvements to homes and, most important, to pay continually rising local property taxes. Before our state legislators push for a local vote on permitting horse racing, they should remember that they represent all of Southern Berkshire not just a few.

If Great Barrington has 3,000 voters, 250 at a local meeting represents less than 10 percent of that total.

Roger Belanger,

Great Barrington


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