LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s the last weekend of the fall meet at Keeneland and chanting for your choice horse to win wasn’t the only chants going on.
A group of animal activists formed a picket line in protest of the recent horse deaths.
Horse Racing Wrongs is an organization dedicated to stopping the sport, they organize protests all across the country at horse racing tracks.
Hannah Truxell has lived in Louisville for ten years.
She says when she moved to the area, like most people, she was attracted to all things derby and Keeneland but says once she learned more about the horse racing industry she couldn’t support it.
“The truth is that the deaths are but one part of this very cruel industry,” Truxell said.
Truxell says it’s a much larger picture.
“We don’t talk about doping, we don’t talk about drugging, we don’t talk about the solitary confinement, we don’t talk about the nurse mares that are bred specifically to provide milk to these racehorses and then you know their babies are discarded, we don’t talk about the slaughter of these horses when they’re not making profits anymore,” Truxell said.
There were a few counter-protesters that showed up with signs trying to get drivers passing to honk if they support horse racing.
Keeneland’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert says the protesters are interested in ending horse racing but he argues Keeneland already has the horses’ safety in mind and the track is always working to improve.
“The level of constant care that these horses receive, not only from track personnel but from the trainers, assistant trainers, the hot walkers, you name it, they are always with these animals and they absolutely love them and anytime something goes wrong it’s heartbreaking,” Gabbert said.
Gabbert said horses are not like humans, they can’t tell you when they’re injured and when the horses are injured they don’t heal the same way.