More animal brutality in Puerto Rico

My wife tells me it must come from my side of the family. But I would guess it comes from her only having negative experiences with animals and me having only positive experiences. Of course, growing up in the heartland of the United States probably had a lot to do with that. With annual trips to the 4H county and state fairs, I've always enjoyed animals.

When I was about the same age as my middle daughter, I wanted to be a veterinarian, so it's no real surprise that she wants to be one too. Her favorite animals are horses. I also have a cousin who loved animals even more than me. But of all animals she loved, like my daughter, horses the most. She would compete in those fairs riding horses. Heck I would even sometimes go horseback riding with her. As an adult she's stopped riding, but she still owns 6 horses. What do you think, does it run in the family?

When I originally saw this story, I was of course outraged and saddened at the waste, but it wasn't until I shared the story with my daughter and heard her indignation and fury, that I knew I had to share the story. Apparently, owners of losing racing horses are having them killed, many of which are perfectly healthy. As one owner justified it:

"If it doesn't produce, after a while I give it away or I kill it," said Arnoldo Maldonado, 60, a businessman who races about five horses a year. "It bothers me, but it has to be done because there is no money to pay for them ... I'm not going to keep losing."
More than 400 horses are killed each year by lethal injection at a clinic tucked behind the Hipodromo Camarero racetrack, chief veterinarian Jose Garcia told The Associated Press after checking clinic log books going back seven years. According to the article, about $210 million a year is bet at the Hipodromo and at off-track betting booths.

Regardless of how insensitive, and inhumane this treatment might sound, veterinarians say they would rather see unwanted horses destroyed humanely than given away or sold to somebody who cannot afford to feed and care for them. Some horses wind up fending for themselves. Emaciated thoroughbreds, marked by tattoos from the track, have been found among the "chongos"- stray, mixed-breed nags - chewing grass by the roads, according to Amigos de los Animales, an animal sanctuary.

I've been searching for a point to this post, something positive to take from this, like turning horse manure into fertilizer, but I can't seem to find one. To be fair, this happens probably everywhere they race horses, and some places save more horses than others. But it continues to be a challenge to find hope for our beautiful island when it's an unending stream of news that makes us look so bad. What will need to happen for positive change to sweep over Puerto Rico?

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: Kvetina-Marie