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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

But is 'Booting' less Cruel When Compared to Whipping?

I am sure it isn't the first time and it won't be the last time I read or hear something similar in sentiment  but I came across a comment from someone which reflected the title of this blog entry.

The person in question wonders if there should be a fixed number of kicks (oops, boots?) allowed because when you think about it, it isn't as cruel as whipping is, right?  The person goes on to say people are equating what happens to a person when they get kicked to what is happening to a horse, suggesting the horse doesn't feel it the same way we do,  

Well, not being a horse I can't say how it feels to a horse.  For that fact I don't think anyone can and unfortunately, since horses can't talk ("Paging Mr. Ed"), we don't know what a horse thinks other than it moves faster so it must be spooked or otherwise trying to run away from the boot.  What we can imagine is how it would feel for us to be running and continuously knock into something each time we took a stride.  I don't believe we would appreciate it and while it may be a case of antrhopomorphizing, I suspect a horse doesn't appreciate it either based on their reaction. 

But back to the original question, is booting less cruel when compared to whipping?  There lies the problem.  When we are measuring degrees of cruelty, we acknowledge booting is improper.  One can't say drowning in one foot of water is better than drowning in six feet of water, dead is dead.  Hence, cruel is cruel. 

For those who reject kicking/booting is cruel, let's agree it looks bad to the 'non-experts'.  Therefore, if the perception is kicking is bad, for all practical purposes, it is bad.  Offensive to the sensibilities of many of the people who would witness it in person, on television or on YouTube.

Is it a question of political correctness running amok?  Not really, the fact is society's sensibilities towards the treatment of animals have evolved.  Without going into detail, suffice it to say some of the things which were considered acceptable treatment of horses years ago is no longer considered acceptable.  Racing needs to adapt to the new sensibilities or else risk going away.  After all, if people who gamble on standardbreds find kicking offensive, what are those who are potential customers going to think?


Anonymous said...

You really don't understand what "kicking" a horse you? If you did, you couldn't possibly compare striking an animal with a whip and simply allowing their hock to brush against your foot. Not debating whether "kicking" is legal; simply pointing out that way too many people who write about racing take way too little time actually researching what they're writing about. Please keep blogging...but take a minute to learn some things before hitting that keyboard!

Pacingguy said...

Oh, I totally understand there is a big difference between using a whip and allow a horse to brush against their hock. I will admit, I was using hyperbole when comparing the two, but the point is the horse feels the brush. The fact remains the public considers it cruel, whether or not it is and there is nothing anyone can do to explain it isn't that bad to get them to change their mind. Besides, telling them it scares the horse a little wont go over well.

However, as you mentioned 'kicking' is illegal and that is where the argument can start and end.

BTW, I appreciate the criticism, it keeps me honest.

Anonymous said...


I'd prefer judges call all the violations, whether it's kicking/booting, whipping or something else. If there's a rule, enforce it or remove it.

Now, allow me to add some fuel to the comments of the 8:10am poster. We shouldn't have to choose between whipping the horse and kicking in an effort to decide which is better for the horse. I don't like either, but let's remember that whipping most times involves hitting the sulky or the number pad on the horse's back. The horse isn't struck. You can't say that about kicking/booting.

Anonymous said...

Pacingguy: is now reporting Tetrick and Sears have been fined for kicking Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation last weekend.

An official with the Kentucky Commission explains the judge who found no problem with the drivers spoke before viewing some video with different camera angles.

I suppose that statement is an attempt to avoid criticizing or embarrassing the judge, but the revealing part is an admission that the judge never looked at all the available evidence.

Even if there were no firestorm of protest from bloggers, journalists and racing fans, that judge's work is unacceptable

Pacingguy said...

I was expecting the fines and had an idea on Monday that fines were forthcoming. Let's consider this a victory for the blogosphere.