For some people, horse and dog racing is more than sport, but also is business and art. For others, such races have nothing to do with culture given the cruel attitude to both horses and greyhounds. Despite the seeming simplicity of horse and dog racing, they are very interesting and can be viewed from a few different aspects. Such races have a direct relationship to business, bringing great profits. Besides, looking at well-trained and strong beautiful horses and dogs while races can be a pure aesthetic pleasure. However, these kinds of sports have obvious disadvantages, for animals above all.
Horse racing is a type of testing horses for speed, the results of which help to make further conclusions about suitability of horses for further breeding. Encyclopedia Britannica defines horse racing as “sport of running horses at speed, mainly thoroughbreds with a rider astride or standardbreds with the horse pulling a conveyance with a driver.” (Britannica.com). Traditionally, horse racing is held at racetracks, where cash bets are made on their outcome.
Horse racing has a long history and nowadays is practiced throughout the world. Historians point out that the first races took place in ancient Greece, and then in Babylon, Syria and Egypt. This kind of sport has always played an important role in myths and legends in different cultures.
Chariot races were one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. During the ancient Greek Olympiad of 648 BC, chariot and horse racing were major events (Britannica.com). In ancient times, horse racing was a great success and held a special place in the life of society.
Winners of equestrian competitions received fame and recognition worthy of true heroes. In the Roman Empire, chariot and horse racing were an important part of life. Horse racing became more popular due to the participation in it of the great emperors. From the middle of the 15th century a closed horse carnival was held in Rome. Racing on such carriages was very dangerous for drivers and horses, as many participators died from frequent injuries.
In later periods, horse racing has become and still remains a popular sport among aristocrats and royal families in Britain. The first races appeared in Britain at the beginning of the 11th century. This event later became fundamental for the entire equestrian art of the world. Until the 15th century, horse racing sport was considered exclusively for monarchs. For example, the most famous and prestigious horse racing in Britain, Royal Ascot, was founded by Queen Anna in the beginning of the 18th century. The sport started to rapidly develop in the 17th century, when a special breed of horses possessing the best abilities for horse racing was bred in England. The first organized horse racing took place in the second half of the 17th century under the reign of Charles II. Horse racing has been regulated by the National Rules and Regulations since the 18th century in England. The first jockey club, which had the authority to control the conduct of equestrian competitions was established here as well. Even nowadays, the British are considered the legislators of the traditions in horse racing.
In France, the first documented race happened in 1651. In North America, the organized horse racing began after the occupation of New York by the British in 1664. As Encyclopedia Britannica puts it, the first races here were match races between two or at most three horses. Later, open field racing substituted match races due to the public growing interest in this sport.
Dog racing (greyhound racing) is the “racing of greyhounds around an enclosed track in pursuit of an electrically controlled and propelled mechanical hare (rabbit).” (Britannica.com) Dog racing is even more ancient than a dog sled race. The first dog races took place in England in the 17th century. Now, dog racing has become popular across the globe. Initially, only greyhounds used to participate in competitions, but this list has increased considerably since the 20th century. The goal of dog racing is to be the first to cross the finish line, which requires considerable effort and solid preparation.
The National Humane Educational Society reports that quite often injuries can easily render a bred racehorse useless to the racing industry. Instead of treating such animals and taking proper care of them, the owners just kill them on the track. In addition, horses often compete under the influence of painkillers, which allows them to continue racing without feeling the pain which later results into very severe damages to their bodies. Another negative aspect of horse racing is the fact that the career of racehorse usually lasts not for more than six years under such conditions.
As risenzine.com puts it, “With every positive characteristic of greyhound racing, there are equal parts detriment… The answer is not simply black or white – there are a range of complexities when debating whether or not to eradicate the sport.” According to The National Humane Educational Society, greyhound racing is illegal in 39 states. One of the main reasons for this is poor conditions under which racing greyhounds are kept. When they do not participate in races, the dogs are placed into small crates and have no opportunities to play or socialize. They are treated simply as participators of the racing, and their life beyond the sport does not even matter, which is an ugly side of greyhound racing.
- “Dog Racing.” Encyclopedia Britannica, //www.britannica.com/sports/dog-racing Accessed 18 Dec 2018.
- “Greyhound Racing: Culture or Cruelty?” risenzine.com, //www.risenzine.com/2016/12/greyhound-racing-culture-or-cruelty.html. Accessed 18 Dec 2018.
- “Horse and Dog Racing.” NHES.org, //nhes.org/horse-and-dog-racing/. Accessed 18 Dec 2018.
- “Horse Racing.” Encyclopedia Britannica, //www.britannica.com/sports/horse-racing. Accessed 18 Dec 2108.