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HISA Releases Report on Churchill Downs Deaths: PETA Statement

For Immediate Release:
September 12, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Louisville, Ky. – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo regarding the just-released report by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) on the deaths of 12 horses at Churchill Downs:

The HISA report is disgraceful, incompetent, and forgiving of the unforgivable—the needless deaths of 12 horses in just six weeks this year. If HISA can’t determine a common reason for these deaths, is it admitting that racing is simply fatal by definition? If so, it must end. Prevention of deaths isn’t some Agatha Christie mystery, and the HISA report—whether by design or out of failure—missed the two most obvious ways among others that PETA has long pointed out would save horses’ lives: synthetic surfaces to replace deadly dirt tracks and a CT scan screening system to detect bone injuries before races. We don’t need more necropsy report pseudo-analyses to know these things. The racing industry’s own studies confirm that 90% of horses who experience catastrophic breakdowns have preexisting injuries, which low-radiation, standing CT imaging would pick up. Everyone already understands the solutions. Just do it.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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