Part 5: Darkness at the End of the Pipeline
CLEARLY THE FOCAL POINT of the matter regardless of the global racing jurisdiction is the critical overpopulation of horses as a direct consequence of over breeding coupled with the fact that few in the industry are willing to be accountable for their charges. There is no question that racing is infused with money but sadly that money is not directed toward the welfare of the horse once their racing careers end, where “end” denotes a mere fraction of their typical life span.
It does not help the situation when individuals such as Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) in NA, insist that overbreeding is not to blame for the slaughter element of the racing industry.
“Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, rejected that overbreeding was to blame but acknowledged that slaughter was an issue. The prices that are being paid by foreign entities who want horse meat is what’s driving slaughter, not the oversupply of horses,” Waldrop said. 
“Slaughter represents less than 3 cents for every $100 of revenue in the horse industry. It has nothing to do with the health of the horse industry.” 
“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come up with a plan—the Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Retirement Fund—to jumpstart this effort. This proposal would require a mandatory $360 retirement fee with every foal registration, a $360 fee for every transfer of ownership, and a $360 fee for each stallion and broodmare registration.
This is affordable for thoroughbred owners and would generate more than $20 million toward retirement. It wouldn’t solve all the problems—clearly the fund would have to be used wisely. This would require proper planning and administration. But without a substantial sum, nothing will be done. Thoroughbreds will continue to be trucked across our borders to their deaths by the tens of thousands.” 
“We continually explore and review programs and initiatives that could potentially enhance the welfare of retired thoroughbreds, but it is not the role of the Jockey Club to mandate specific courses of action for owners when it comes to making contribution decisions for retraining and retirement programs.” 
“The racing industry needs to deal with this life and death issue. Thoroughbred retirement is a racing industry obligation, not a voluntary donation.” 
“We have all this information at our fingertips and choose not to use it,” Russek said. “Without fail it’s nothing but lip service from the higher-ups. A lot has been done over the years, but my take on it is the racing industry has more addressed it from a public-relations aspect rather than figuring out how to solve the problem.” 
“So what happens to the horses at the racetracks with zero-tolerance slaughter policies? Racehorses that were going to public kill auctions?
A policy of zero tolerance for slaughter simply sends some of these horses “underground.” Rather than go to a public auction like New Holland, where they can be seen by private buyers and horse rescues, they go directly to kill buyer feedlots and kill pens. Rescues that once had access to these feedlots and kill pens will no longer be provided access.
Fewer racehorses may enter the slaughter pipeline, but more may ultimately be slaughtered.” 
There is more than ample money in this industry to create the necessary retirement facilities to accommodate every horse that finishes their career whether they be a celebrated or average athlete.
Breeders, owners and trainers must be held accountable and provide for a safe and humane alternative to slaughter.
“What he liked about horse racing was the minimal investment and the high returns. He didn’t mind horses at all; they were easy on the eyes and exciting to watch. The horses industry in general was a zero-waste proposition: this was one animal you could take from birth, exploit all its qualities – speed, strength, tractability – through breeding, racing, eventing, caléche or companion service, and then profit from its flesh when it had outlived its usefulness. You had to respect the horse. He was more than a beast of burden. He was a full service animal from birth to barbeque – no part of him wasted, no quality left unmined.” 
 D’Errico, Cynthia; Ground Manners, A Novel; p. 138;Xlibris; 13 January 2011.