Organizations across the state dedicated to the humane treatment of animals have come together to announce their opposition to Proposition 26 which will be on the November 2022 ballot. Prop 26 contains a provision that allows in-person sports betting at private horse racetracks in addition to tribal casinos. This amounts to a special interest giveaway that hands millions of dollars to horse racetracks – a dying industry that has led to the death of more than 1,600 horses over the last 10 years
California horseracing tracks reported 144 horse deaths in 2018 as well as reporting 122 horse deaths from July 2019-June 2020 and 72 horse deaths during the height of the pandemic from July 2020-June 2021. In fact, a nationally-recognized horse racing expert stated in a January 2022 Daily Californian opinion article, “From breeding for speed, to employing pubescent bodies, to the incessant grinding – not to mention the commodification – of those bodies, to forcing them to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way, and through unnatural means, horse racing guarantees killing. Guarantees.” (Source)
Santa Anita has already experienced another eight horse deaths in the past six months while the horse racing industry is touting Prop 26 as its “lifeline” stating:
USA Today headline recently proclaimed “How legalized sports betting in California could revive horse tracks” and the article discusses how Prop 26 will help a dying industry. One owner of 76 race horses said, “The addition of this wagering could be monumental for horse racing, a major shot in the arm.”
“It’s going to be very powerful” for the racing industry. Horse racing is never going to get monies from the state or from the casinos. This is our last lifeline, and it’s extremely important to us.” – Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) vice chairman, Bob Liewald, Thoroughbred Daily News
If enacted, Prop 26 will propagate the horse racing industry by allowing horse racetracks to accept sports wagers at their facilities and receive millions of dollars in new revenue. For years, horse racing has been declining in popularity, with attendance dramatically down at racetracks even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Handing millions of dollars to special interest racetracks will enable them to continue operating despite their concerning animal safety record and declining popularity with Californians.
Vote no on Proposition 26, and never bet on horse racing.