PETA‘s new undercover investigation on thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen and his top assistant trainer, Scott Blasi, shows for the first time the cruel practices he puts his horses through on a daily basis.
Asmussen ranks second in career victories, has earned more than $214 million in purses, and was recently included on the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame ballot.
Now PETA’s investigator, who worked for him for 4 months in 2013, captured Asmussen giving racehorses a ‘daily regimen of pain-masking drugs and treatments’.
According to the investigator, Asmussen’s horses in his New York stable were given thyroxine regularly to speed up their metabolism, not as a hypothyroidism treatment like it’s supposed to.
They were also injected with Lasix, a drug designed to prevent pulmonary bleeding in the lungs during extreme exercise. Lasix is known to be used to mask other drugs and also to dehydrate horses to make them lose weight and run faster. One of New York State’s top horse-racing veterinarians admitted on camera to PETA’s investigator that Lasix is a performance-enhancing medication.
Horses were also given muscle relaxants, sedatives, and other potent pharmaceuticals to be used for treating ailments such as ulcers, lameness, and inflammation, at times even when the animals had no apparent symptoms.
The investigator also noticed scars on their legs from being burned with liquid nitrogen and other chimicals to stimulate blood flow to their sore legs.
“We witnessed a horse so sore it hurt him even to stand, thyroid medication dumped into horses’ daily feed, and horses who had been blistered with chemical paint in a bizarre attempt to stimulate healing. Even at this top level of racing, the syringe is the top training aid, and if the horses get out alive, they’re broken.”
The investigation also revealed the use of concealed electroshocking devices during races.
“We wanted to know exactly what happens to thoroughbreds in a top racing stable,” said PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo. “It was devastating to see sore, exhausted, drugged horses every single day. Some were in so much pain it hurt them even to stand, yet they were trained and run anyway.”
According to the New York Times, PETA produced a 285-page report about Asmussen’s operations that consisted of the investigator’s notes, medical documents and reports from veterinarians who reviewed the videotape.
PETA filed then complaints with federal and state agencies in Kentucky and New York.
A New York Times investigation done in 2012 reported that ‘an average of 24 horses suffer fatal breakdowns at tracks across the country every week, due in part to the misuse of drugs that keep injured horses running.’
Click here to ask your US representative and senators to support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2012, Senate Bill 973 and House Bill 2012.
Click here to ask the British Horse Racing Authority to discourage owners and trainers from sending horses to compete in the Breeder’s Cup.
Around 10,000 thoroughbred horses are sent to slaughter every year when they can’t race any more. Click here to ask Canada’s Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, to end the importation of untraceable horses into Canada for slaughter.
Click here to ask the Association of Racing Commissioners International to advocate the appointment of the US Anti-Doping Agency to monitor both illegal drug use and the misuse of legal drugs.
images by: YOUTUBE. PETA undercover investigation