Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. Although its popularity has fallen in the recent years, it still remains popular in certain countries and is even in the Olympics. Horse racing tournaments worldwide award millions of dollars in prizes and profit even more due to attendance and sponsorships. Overall, it is an extremely profitable industry. However, it is also controversial due to the fact that it uses live animals for sport, which some see as an animal rights violation and there are many arguments claiming that horse raising is immoral and/or unethical. This is exacerbated by the fact that several horses have died in modern history due to horse races. Others claim that horse racing is argue that horse racing is not immoral if done properly and horses are cared for in an appropriate way.
The argument that horses racing is immoral has roots in the belief that animals deserve freedom and that humans deprive them of their freedom by forcing them to participate in horse races for our amusement. Horses, despite their formidability are quite fragile animals, and certain injuries sustained during the sport cause immense pain that euthanasia becomes the humane option. Racehorses are also trained and undergo strict diets and work schedules, which some argue limits their freedom. The equipment horses have to wear such as cinch girths can sometimes be painful or intrusive. The general argument is that horses are wild animals and should not be captured and used for entertainment.
The counter argument is that racehorses are treated quite well, and that they lead comfortable lives in the care of their owners. Horses are also said to enjoy racing as an activity, and this can be observed in wild horses who run great distances for presumably no other reason. Domesticated horses are allowed free roam of the fields they are kept in and are kept safe from threats that would harm them in the wilds. Horses do not like being confined to a stable and are therefore allowed to race on occasion, and are given well balanced diets, even during periods where food in the wild may be scarce such as winter or during droughts. Human care also protects them from various diseases and illnesses, and they receive veterinarian care when required, which allows them to lead much longer lives than in the wilds. Finally, almost every horse owner genuinely cares about their horse and their wellbeing and treats them with kindness. When a horse must be euthanized, the riders mourn their passing very deeply.
Horse racing should, however, be heavily regulated to ensure the safety of both horses and riders. Horse racing is also rife with gambling with horse betting being a pastime for many. Horse racing is known for keeping many gambling addicts from recovery and costing them their savings. Enforcing proper regulations and standards on the treatment of horses as well as the specifications of tracks could go a long way in making the sport more ethical, as well as safer for the participants.