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Horses die for our entertainment

News that the HBO series ‘Luck’ has been cancelled after three horses died during production, has put the spotlight on the horse racing industry just as a number of horses have been killed in high profile races.

The deaths of five horses in two days at the U.K.’s famous Cheltenham Festival has outraged animal welfare advocates, including the RSPCA.  Meanwhile, it has been reported that 16 horses have died in the last 14 weeks at New York’s Aqueduct Horse Track, prompting the State’s Governor to call for an independent inquiry.

Of course, race horse deaths are nothing new.  Last year, it emerged that 20 horses had died within as many months at the Hastings Park Racecourse in Vancouver.

And horses die regularly in other forms of equine entertainment, such as rodeos.  More than 50 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede since 1986,. This includes two at last year’s Stampede, as reported by the Calgary Herald ‘s pathetically upbeat headline: Visitor numbers up, horse deaths down as Calgary Stampede ends’ (Six died the year before.)

Supporters of these spectacles should face up to the fact that animals are dying so that they may be entertained.