Shooting an injured racehorse ‘not the only way’

2011-07-04 00:00

THE shooting of top racehorse Big City Life at Saturday’s Durban July, after he broke his eg during the main race, has left animal lovers horrified.

Just two years ago the champion raked in millions, but on Saturday he was euthanased behind a green curtain while winner Igugu paraded in front of a capacity crowd.

Owner Raymond Deacon explained that there was no other way and he had to be put down.

“You win one, you think you are on top and then something like this happens,” he said.

Chief steward Sean Parker said such incidents happen from time to time in racing.

“It is most unfortunate, especially on such a big day.”

The website www.horses-and-horse-information states, however, that euthanasia isn’t always the answer.

“A horse with a broken leg has to be shot. Yes, they used to have to do this. In many parts of the country they do still shoot horses for any reason that ‘puts it out of it’s misery’.

“Nowadays, a broken leg doesn’t automatically mean the horse must be destroyed. Until a few years ago the fact that a horse’s leg couldn’t be put in a cast because of the size of the leg and the weight of the horse, meant a fractured leg was a death sentence.

“There are now many skilled veterinarians who perform surgery on horses, and there is equipment and metal leg implants large enough for the horse,” the site stated.

In 2009 champion racehorse Eye of the Tiger was euthanased in similar fashion after breaking a leg. Eye of the Tiger won the 2006 July handicap.

An online blog by a researcher identified only as Connie dedicated to racehorses reported at least 1 000 horses die in racing around the world each year.

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