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Hakol Chai Files Petition in Supreme Court








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September 18, 2005, Tel Aviv


Attorneys for Hakol Chai, the Israeli sister charity of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI), today filed a petition in Israelís Supreme Court to block the building of two large race tracks in Israel — the governmentís first initiative toward bringing gambling to Israel. Until now, gambling has been prohibited for religious reasons. The charity based its appeal to the Court on the fact that the government authorized the plan after considering only economic, and not animal welfare, concerns, as required by law, and that experience in every country where the horse racing industry was studied demonstrates that cruelty and abuse are commonplace.


"Thousands more horses are bred to race than are chosen," says Hakol Chai's Director. "Those not fast enough — the majority — are born to be killed. Every aspect of a race horse's life involves cruelties."


Hakol Chai says typical cruelties that race horses are forced to endure include:

  1. A harsh training regimen before their bones have hardened that places excessive weight on them, causing fractures

  2. Horses being drugged and forced to race even when injured

  3. Common conditions such as bleeding in the lungs, chronic gastric ulcers, and heart ailments

  4. After only a few years, most being sent either to slaughter or sold from one owner to another and into increasingly worse conditions.

Scientific studies back up Hakol Chai's claims. Holly Cheever, DVM, is one of the international experts who submitted statements to Israelís Supreme Court in support of Hakol Chaiís appeal. Cheever, who has been responsible for award-winning cruelty investigations and prosecutions, is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University, and was first in her class at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Around horses all her life, including race horses, Cheever is author of a guide to investigating equine abuse, is a contributing author to a NY State manual on how to investigate animal cruelty, and teaches NY State law officers how to investigate animal abuse. Says Cheever:

Under race conditions, horses are pushed to run at such unnaturally excessive speeds that of those age 3 and over, 82% suffer from hemorrhaging of the lungs — they breathe so heavily that blood comes out of their nostrils. A study reported in the Equine Veterinary Journal found gastric ulcers in 93% of horses in race training; in horses who had actually raced, the incidence was a staggering 100%. Another study, also reported in the Equine Veterinary Journal, found that before training, the rate of two types of heart murmurs in 2-year-old racehorses was 7.3% and 12.7%, but after training, the rate increased to 21.8% and 25.5%.

Four year old Wolfhunt dramatizes the exploitation and risk of death commonly faced by thousands of race horses. Jockey J.C. Gonzalez and Wolfhunt died within minutes of each other. As they rounded the final turn of a one mile race, Wolfhunt suddenly fell, throwing jockey Gonzalez to the track. A racehorse trainer 50 feet away described what happened next: "The horse tried to stand, and first the right leg snapped, right between the knee and the ankle. Then he tried to put weight on the left leg, and it went above the knee. I could barely take my eyes off this horse trying to stand with these bloody stumps."


Hakol Chai believes that Israel can find other ways to develop tourism and bring in foreign investments than by exploiting innocent animals, and asks that people write to the Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, and Education. For contact information and a sample letter, see: Help Stop Expansion of Horse Racing in Israel.


"The government is thinking only of profits," says Hakol Chaiís Director, "but at what cost in suffering?"