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Hakol Chai Condemns Agriculture Ministry’s Attempt To Circumvent Knesset








Racing Cruelties:   The Horror Behind the Glamour

Racing Cruelties: Photos & Videos

Slaughter of Racehorses

In Memory of Ruffian

Horse Abuse & Rescue Overview

Premarin Horses



Slaughter at
the Racetrack

Slaughterhouse: Exposé of Horse Slaughter in the UK





24 October 2011, Ramat Gan


Horse racing.  Photo credit: Reuters


Hakol Chai, the Israeli sister charity of the U.S.-based Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI), condemned the Ministry‘s attempt to circumvent the legislative process and promote the establishment of a gambling-on-horse-racing industry in Israel by unethical means.


"Gambling on horse racing cannot legally take place in Israel unless it is first approved by the Knesset." said Hakol Chai Professional Manager, Tal Sahar. "Yet even before a bill to permit gambling on horse racing has been introduced into the Knesset, the Ministry offered over $200,000 (750,000 NIS) in public funds to farms willing to breed race horses." In a strongly-worded letter to Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, she accused the Ministry of "mocking the legislative process, resorting to unethical shortcuts, and wasting public funds" and called on them to withdraw their offer of funds for breeding.


The industry’s glamorous image hides grim realities. The high number of breakdowns and deaths, widespread drugging to enhance performance or so they can run even while injured, using cocktails of drugs concocted faster than labs can develop tests to detect them, cruel whippings, and the tragic fate of these involuntary athletes when their brief careers are over led the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on the subject in 2008. "Greed has trumped the health of horses, the safety of the jockey, and the integrity of the ‘sport’," declared Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who chaired the hearings.


"In every country where the racing industry has gained a toehold, the situation is the same and no regulations, laws, or oversight bodies have been able to stop the abuses," Sahar said.


In 2006, Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, issued a psak or ruling forbidding Jews from actively assisting in establishing the industry or from attending races "because of the pain to animals caused" and because gambling enriches one at the expense of another.


"Our Jewish state currently struggles with the enforcement of laws regarding illegal drugs, mafia infestation, the trafficking of women for the illicit sex industry, the mistreatment of animals in the areas of food production and product testing among other social ills -- the import of horse racing and the legalization of gambling not only adds another crime-ridden industry to our already overburdened regulators; it also takes us further from a society expressing Jewish ideals," said Rabbi Adam Frank, Chairperson of Hakol Chai’s Board.


"If the Knesset approves gambling on horse racing," Sahar said, "will Israel build slaughterhouses and launch a large scale slaughtering business, since as many horses leave racing as enter it annually, or will it enter the cruel live transport trade just as other countries are moving to end it, shipping horses to Europe to end up on dinner plates? Either is a gruesome prospect."


Hakol Chai’s petition against gambling on horse racing can be found at the charity’s Facebook page, Hakol Chai, and on its website: www.hakolchai.org.il



Realities behind the Horse Racing Industry’s Glamorous Image

  • Thousands bred annually, the few fastest picked out to race, many of the rest sent to slaughter.

  • Trained and raced at just 2, when they are fastest, but before their bones have hardened, many suffer catastrophic injuries and death. An Associated Press survey in the U.S. counted 5,000 deaths while racing in just 5 years, while acknowledging that number is low because not all states were included and fatalities are not recorded.

  • Pushed beyond their natural limits, race horses suffer a variety of health conditions, including bleeding in the lungs from overexertion (which can be fatal), heart attacks, and chronic ulcers.

  • By age 6, they are no longer fast enough and most are headed to the slaughterhouse or are sold from hand to hand in a downward spiral of abuse. Israel is a small country with not enough places to take in all the abused horses there are now. If sanctuaries in the U.S. and England can only take in a tiny fraction of ex-race horses, what will Israel do with hundreds bred or imported annually?

  • Insurance fraud, crime and other problems that negatively affect society are also an inherent part of the industry.

In every country where the racing industry has gained a toehold, the situation is the same and no regulations, laws, or oversight bodies have been able to stop the abuses.