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Default Kentucky Derby ethics

May 4th, 2008, 20:55
As the Bustling Metropolis is not overly far from Louisville, I got bombarded with Derby coverage the past few days. I'm saddened by them having to put Eight Belles down at the end of the race, and it got me thinking just a bit. So, to spur a little discussion, I ask the following:

Given that we run these horses to their deaths (on occasion) for our entertainment, what's the real difference between horse racing and the much-reviled dog fighting? One is considered gentleman's sport while the other lands you in federal prison and yet the impact on the animals isn't all that much different.

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May 4th, 2008, 21:07
All I know is that there hasn't been a triple crown winner in years but in the last few there's been some clear favourites who either suddenly have to be put to stud or suddenly find themselves dead of some mysterious disease.

Sorry, but there's just too much corruption in sports where gambling is too important of a factor.

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May 4th, 2008, 21:19
Horses like the ones that race in the Kentucky Derby are pampered their entire lives compared to the ones I grew up around in California. They're spirited and prone to hurt themselves. Every precaution is taken to avoid that.

If it's a lead horse, meaning one who prefers to always be in front, then it can be especially prone to hurt itself (and its rider) if it becomes excited.

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May 4th, 2008, 23:15
Hee, you know what the Marxist answer to that is? Yup, one of 'em is a working-class-man's sport, the other is a bourgeois one.
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May 5th, 2008, 00:21
I think the distinction is that in racing the intention isn't to harm the horse even if accidents occasionally occur while the dogs are there to savage each other.

And I think racing is traditionally the sport of the upper class rather than the bourgeois
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May 5th, 2008, 00:40
Oh boy another debate for me to be Mr Popular in.

Personally I think there isn't a difference - they are both wrong. The horses aren't pampered if they are forced to run (not freely). I think ultimately money comes before the animals welfare and that's wrong. I won't attend horse races or any sport involving animals. It's all exploitation and another example of humankind's self proclaimed superiority.

Oh I think this may get interesting

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May 5th, 2008, 00:41
There is a difference dte. Racing horses do occasionaly suffer injuries and deaths but there isn't prior assumption that there will be injuries or deaths. So those accidents are hmmmm…. accidental?… rather than premeditated. The same can't be said about dogfights were injuries and deaths are inextricable part of the "entertaiment" itself.

LOL PJ a while ago John Reid (Health Minister out of all people) opposed total ban on smoking in pubs and clubs because he considered it as "one of the few pleasures the poor have left"

Oh and Kendrick, I have news for you: horses LIKE running. You don't have to force them to run. In fact you sometimes will have more difficulty to slow them down or stop than to make them go.
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May 5th, 2008, 02:00
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Oh and Kendrick, I have news for you: horses LIKE running. You don't have to force them to run. In fact you sometimes will have more difficulty to slow them down or stop than to make them go.
Exactly. Mostly what you do is give them plenty of room to run.

When I was growing up, a friend of mine got hurt pretty badly when her horse decided he wanted to run and ended up crashing them both through a wooden fence. She knew how to ride but wasn't able to get him to slow down enough to avoid the accident.

All you have to know in order to understand why race horses are so well cared for is that they're very expensive. Damage of any kind decreases their value.

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May 5th, 2008, 02:34
horses like to run and dogs like to fight (wolves have always gone at each other).
there is no difference between either of these and running man except species. people like to bet, and they like like violence when its not their own necks. even people who don't fight their pets can still abuse them. while i'm no card carrying member of peta, i do sympathize with animals, and a large amount of people have it wrong when they think animals are just animals, and have no qualms about being subservient, neglected, or abused. and true horse racing is no bullfighting but if your going to tell me that a horse would rather wear 'shoes' and a rider than neither/either, well something smells besides the livery.

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May 5th, 2008, 03:24
Interesting thoughts. I kinda loaded the original question to stir the pot, but I'm not exactly sure where I stand on this one.

Clearly, there's a difference of intent between the ponies and the dogs, as zahratustra points out. Similarly, accidents can happen anywhere, so there's not really unusual risk involved. OTOH, I have a hard time believing that horses in nature will run until they break both front legs. And it's not like this behaviour is entirely natural, either—these horses are bred to race, trained to race, and urged by their jockeys to race. It's not like we can wash our hands of all guilt.

So where does that leave us? Quite honestly, I just don't know. There really appears to be an aspect of social strata hiding in the weeds, but it runs a little contrary to my basic ethos to acknowledge it.

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May 5th, 2008, 04:35
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
OTOH, I have a hard time believing that horses in nature will run until they break both front legs. And it's not like this behaviour is entirely natural, either—these horses are bred to race, trained to race, and urged by their jockeys to race.
Believe it dte. While horse racing (flat and over obstacles) certainly puts animals and jokeys at more risk, horses do occasionaly injure or kill themselfs without any human interference. And jokeys, who get too overzelous in urging their mounts, do get punished by race stedwards. Remember that many race horses are more valuable than jockeys riding them!
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May 5th, 2008, 05:58
Why not include boxing!! People die from that particular sport. The possibility of death or major injury is present in any sport, so why single out those which involve animals? Aren't human lives just as important? Perhaps we should ban fishing and duck shooting etc.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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May 5th, 2008, 07:34
I don't feel any need to get morally outraged on behalf of the horses, they've valuable and treated far better than farmed animals. In my view it would be hypocritical for me to condemn racing while eating meat.. and I love meat.
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May 5th, 2008, 11:35
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Oh and Kendrick, I have news for you: horses LIKE running. You don't have to force them to run. In fact you sometimes will have more difficulty to slow them down or stop than to make them go.
Zahrausta that is not actually news to me I am aware horses like to run not sure if they run in a big circle in the wild however with a person on their back.

One question then if they love running in so much in a forced environment why the whips?

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May 5th, 2008, 12:46
If someone wants to say that horse racing is immoral, that's fine. But do so on it's own merits. Please don't compare a horse race to dog fighting. It's not even close to the same thing.

"A Kentucky Derby horse has to run a mile and a quarter on a dirt track around two turns by the age of 3. It is the horse equivalent of asking a college kid to play in the Super Bowl."

Sally Jenkins wrote that in yesterday's Washington Post. That's the problem with horse racing. These horses are pushed too hard and too fast. Injuries are occuring because of it.
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May 5th, 2008, 13:08
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
I don't feel any need to get morally outraged on behalf of the horses, they've valuable and treated far better than farmed animals. In my view it would be hypocritical for me to condemn racing while eating meat.. and I love meat.
I agree V7, so let's hijack this thread and discuss something else: I do eat meat but my girlfriend was outraged when she heard that I have eaten horse meat. She is also very angry that people in East and South East Asia eat dog meat.

My position is such: either you are a vegetarian and that you are entitled to be against eating meat of any sort or you are a meat eater and than it's hypocritical to condemn eating of horse or a dog meat.
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May 5th, 2008, 17:34
I've often maintained if I had to kill and butcher my own meat, I'd likely turn vegetarian. How much more so if I had to kill a trusting and totally dependent domestic animal with high intelligence like a dog or horse—though cows also have more awareness than people usually suppose, as you know if you've ever watched one who's been separated from her calf. I imagine even chickens have some sort of feeling of doom and fear when they're hatched into the unforgiving meat factories where most of them spend their short over-medicated, sensory-deprived lives.

Nonetheless, when I'm confronted by a nice char-grilled steak, I somehow am able to put these ethical questions aside and accept the moral evils of being atop the food chain.

zahratustra,I sympathize with your gf, and even though it's illogical, I agree with her. It's having that degree of trust and intimacy with my dinner—I just couldn't eat my pet.

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May 5th, 2008, 18:05
The fact is magerette that, in South Korea, dogs started being considered pets only very recently and owning dogs as pets is resticted to big cities only. In a countryside dogs are reared for meat just like cows and pigs. Muslems (althrough, of course, they don't eat dogs) don't consider that dog can be a pet either.
Similar story with horses. It is different now but when horses were used as a means of transport and for their pulling power very few would consider horse as a pet.
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May 5th, 2008, 18:08
Biggest difference is that in dog fighting it isn't over until one of them is dead.

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May 5th, 2008, 18:30
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
I agree V7, so let's hijack this thread and discuss something else: I do eat meat but my girlfriend was outraged when she heard that I have eaten horse meat. She is also very angry that people in East and South East Asia eat dog meat.

My position is such: either you are a vegetarian and that you are entitled to be against eating meat of any sort or you are a meat eater and than it's hypocritical to condemn eating of horse or a dog meat.
Zahratustra, I am a vegetarian and I completely agree with you. From my perspective (I'm vege on moral issues which I won't be debating here) I see no difference in eating Cow to eating horse or Dog. If you are a meat eater then fine. On a related note it really annoys me when people claim to be vegetarian on moral ground but still eat fish. Everybody is entitled to live how they want but because these fish eaters call themsleves vegetarian then I get offered fish in a restaurant as the vegetarian alternative.

And no I'm not going to enter into an arguement or try to convert people to vegetarianism as it's a personal choice.

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