Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is There a Double Standard in Determining "Cruelty" for Horses?

Last Friday, New York thoroughbred breeder and owner Ernie Paragallo was charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty for neglecting the horses on his farm. Each count carries up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. More charges could be on the way.

Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Climax, NY has been taken over by the State Police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after more than 170 neglected horses were found on the property. The New York Racing Association has informed Paragallo that he will no longer be welcome at their racetracks nor allowed to transfer his operation to family members or current employees.

This is a tragic story. The good news is that Paragallo's negligence on the farm was caught and is being remedied.

I want to explore the issue of animal cruelty from the sense of a breeder and owner using steroids to make his horses look more fit and thus more valuable. Should this be considered animal cruelty? The animal has no say in the matter. Can a certain minimum level of injections be considered "healthy" and not "deceitful?" If so, at what point and who would make that determination? At the end of the day, why would an animal need an injection in the first place?

I agree not feeding an animal is cruel. I consider injecting an animal with non essential substances that shortens its life cruel. Do you?

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