Michael Andrew says (Maine Voices, Jan. 12) that Maine’s standardbred racing industry is not using taxpayer dollars to support ex-racehorses. Yet he also said the industry is using few dollars of any kind to support ex-racehorses.

He referenced $400 million in casino revenue – $4 million allocated to harness racing is 1 percent of casino revenue, so total revenue is $400 million each year – that came to Maine only because the horses are running. He stated that a maximum of $5,000 per year is potentially awarded for all retiring racehorses combined. So that’s .00000125 percent of casino revenue for the upward of 200 retiring animals each year that have made the industry possible.

The minimum need for just one horse for one year is $5,000. Andrews says he has retired horses on his Gorham estate. That’s nice, but many other ex-racehorses are housed at the track by owners who can’t afford to house them elsewhere and don’t have an estate like he does. What one owner may do for a few animals doesn’t extend to the practice of all owners for all animals.

Andrews points out that part of casino revenues go to support people who benefit from the gambling industry here. But that’s not the subject. The subject is supporting the horses for the remainder of what could be long, healthy lives if a reasonable portion of casino revenues went to racehorse aftercare.

An aftercare facility would do that and help people allied with the industry while being self-sustaining – if businesspeople set their minds to that purpose instead of pretending the horses don’t exist once their racing days are done.

Switching the subject to the good that the industry does elsewhere is a diversion. Until all retiring racehorses land safely, we as a community have not dispensed with our moral obligation to use these animals not just for profit, but also humanely.

Joy Cutrone

founder and executive director, Northern Lights Horse Rescue


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