Slaughterhouses: Where Racehorses Go to Retire

Every year, hundreds of thoroughbreds are sold to stables in Japan, where 90 percent of all horses end up in slaughterhouses. In most Japanese slaughterhouses, horses meet a frightening death. They are killed, cut apart, and end up as food for dogs or humans.

During a PETA U.S. undercover investigation inside Japan's largest horse slaughterhouse in Kumamoto, PETA U.S. captured video footage of a thoroughbred's last minutes. The horse is sprayed with water before slaughter—frightened and uncertain about what is happening. He panics, and at one point, just before being killed, he slips out of his halter and escapes inside the slaughterhouse, only to be caught—and killed—minutes later.

Racehorses are exploited as disposable commodities. As many as 20,000 horses were slaughtered in Japan in 2008, partly because of overbreeding of thoroughbreds. Tens of thousands of foals are produced each year for the greedy racing industry, but there is no plan for what to do with them when their racing days are over.

Even horseracing stars can end up in a slaughterhouse. Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sold to a Japanese breeder, and a few years later, when they were done with him, he was sold to slaughter. During PETA U.S.' investigation in Japan, it was also discovered that Derby and Preakness winners Charismatic and War Emblem are at breeding farms in Japan right now. With their useful breeding days winding down, where will they end up?

Please write to the Japan Racing Association and ask it to implement limitations on the breeding of racehorses to end their cruel slaughter.

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