by ecorazzicontributor
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Andy Neuenschwander

Actor James Cromwell‘s commitment to animal rights plays out both in his actions off-screen and in his film choices: you might have seen Cromwell in “Babe” or more recently “Secretariat.” The latter of the two must have inspired Cromwell, as he is now stepping in to fight for the rights of racehorses.

With the Kentucky Derby over and the Triple Crown still under way, Cromwell has addressed The Jockey Club on behalf of PETA, asking them to consider PETA’s Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Retirement Fund.

The program would require jockeys to contribute $360 every time they register a new young horse, which would go toward a general fund to provide care for retired racehorses. It’s kind of like Social Security for horses.

Currently, most racehorses are sent to slaughter once they’re too old to race. “These magnificent animals should not end up on a meat hook after a terrifying journey to a terrifying death,” wrote Cromwell. He went on to urge The Jockey Club to implement the program, as they are the only organization to deal directly with thoroughbred racehorse owners everywhere.

This is just one of Cromwell’s many campaigns and causes. We caught up with Cromwell at the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards in March, where he told us about his involvement with “Farm to Fridge,” a film uncovering the practices of the factory farming industry, his support of wolf conservation, and his suggestions for people to go vegan.

With all of the buzz about the Kentucky Derby still in the air and the Preakness coming up, now is the time to bring this issue to light. You can check out a video about the program and sign an online petition through PETA’s website.

That’ll do, James. That’ll do.

  • imforthewhales

    Three hundred and sixty dollars wont go very far in respect to retiring an ex racehorse. it might keep a horse in hay for about 2 months.

    Once you add in shoes, rugs, oats, vet care etc you can times this by about ten.

    Also why are the jockeys required to fork out money for racehorses or is this a typo?

    Not all racehorses end up at the knackery. some of them will be retired into a good homes and used for hacking, dressage and sports, eg 3 day eventing and show jumping, others will be retired to stud. Broken down horses will mostly be destroyed alongside the mad ones who are enable to be ridden by your average rider.

    The top horses will be retired to a farm or to their owners property.

    Then there are the good tempered horses, perhaps a bit on the slow side, but still willing and able that are strong, sound and mentally OK. All they need is a good home, but the economics of racing does not provide for them when they have finished racing.

    A better way to provide for these horses is to charge prospective owners ten per cent of the purchase money at yearling sales ( or when transferred) to provide for their upkeep in future years.

    A million dollar yearling at the sales would have 100,000 towards its retirement. This can be charged upon the new owner or the stud who breeds the horse. Remember it is the breeders who get rich out of racing and the constant turnover of horses in the racing game. So they should help fork out to help the horses that they have bred after their racing days are over.

    You can also add on a charge for prizemoney of say 5 per cent so if a horse wins a million dollars in its lifetime then it will have extra for its retirement.

  • Linda

    Ask the owners to pay up front for the retirement of these horses. The owners are in the business for one reason only – to make the winnings. Despite all their talk about the love of the horses, the love of the game, etc. they are in this for the business of the win. It takes a lot of money to buy, breed and train a horse. The owners should give back to the sport by ensuring that the horses who can no longer race have a good retirement.

  • imforthewhales

    Oh and BTW, Petas talk of the racehorse which jumped into the crowd as being out of its mind or something to that effect is just trash talk and designed to be emotional.

    contrary to their unintelligent observations The horse appears to me to be completely sensible and was only doing what it was trained to do , which is to jump fences. The horse actually stopped when it realized it had run into some people, this is not the mark of a horse that is out of its head or out of control.

    Peta need to report things fairly and accurately if they are to be taken seriously.

    This is coming from someone who has ridden racehorses, both sensible and not so sensible, both on and off the track.

  • http://www.thegoldencarrot.org Casey O’Connor

    I think that PETA’s plan requires $360 from breeders on registering the foal (not jockeys) and then $360 for a couple of other things, such as when they race, or perhaps when they change hands. It all goes into an account which would probably be in the $20 million range, to retire racehorses who can no longer race.
    However, hopefully, some of the money would also benefit those rescues who rehab, retrain and rehome thoroughbreds, to provide those after-track careers and homes.
    I’ve been advocating for years that 5 cents should be added to the cost of every item of horse merchandise (brushes, buckets, tack, everything except medicine or feed) and 10 cents added to every ticket to the races, shows, rodeos, etc., and all should be put into a fund to help rescues expand and continue their efforts to help horses of all breeds and disciplines. Such an easy way to generate some financial help, and largely from those people who have or are interested in horses. But try getting a politician, who can’t see a way to benefit personally from this, to listen.
    PETA does get extreme. I’m sorry to hear they misreported the jumping horse’s situation. But let’s not rag on them when they’re making a reasonable suggestion…!

  • imforthewhales

    “PETA does get extreme. I’m sorry to hear they misreported the jumping horse’s situation. But let’s not rag on them when they’re making a reasonable suggestion…!”

    I am not ragging on them for making a reasonable suggestion. As you can see from my post above, I thoroughly agree with the concept.

    This will not stop my ragging on them, however, when they try to distort the truth of the matter.

    Just because a cop might have saved a drowning child once wont stop him going to jail for corruption.

    Truth and honesty in reporting any matter such as this leads to trust and credibility. Anything less than that leads to a lack of trust and credibility.