Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hey, Chief Asshat? Suicide means you CHOSE to die!

(I know I'm gonna get in trouble with that subject line...shall we all take bets on how long it takes someone who's 1/32nd Cherokee to come here and tell me I'm a racist?)

All right, since it came up in the comments, today we're going to talk about my A-1 LEAST FAVORITE horse event. I actually think this is marginally worse than horse tripping. And horse tripping is one of those things you have to be lower than scum on the bottom of the sewer to involve yourself in, kind of like dog or cock fighting. Unfortunately, America has no shortage of scum among its population and the Omak Suicide Race shows us that the Native Americans have no shortage of scum among their ranks, either.

For those of you unfamiliar with this disgusting event, let me share this information lifted from the PAWS page:

"Over a span of four days and nights, riders repeatedly send horses off "Suicide Hill" with a 120-foot full-galloping start. Horses plunge blindly more than 210 feet downhill, at a slope organizers have boasted is an "almost vertical…62 degree angle." At breakneck speed horses then meet, with concrete force, the rocky Okanogan River. After a panicked swim of more than a football field in length, the horses face a final, grueling uphill sprint.These horses, many 'on-loan' for the event, have suffered heart attacks from over exertion, broken bones from collisions and shocking tumbles, and even horrifying death by drowning."

Here is a list of all of the horses who have died. I'm assuming it's a partial list since they have no way of tracking horses who died later from injuries received or wound up shipping to slaughter after being crippled in the race.

Listen to this stupid motherfucker act like he's compassionate. This is from the Wall Street Journal:

"When the dust settled, Chavez, a 7-year-old running quarter horse, thrashed frantically to keep from drowning. George Marchand, the horse's owner, dove into the river in his T-shirt and jeans, and after a rescue boat ferried the horse to shallow water, he pleaded with his horse to stand up, his voice filled with despair: "Come on, son. Come on, son."

The horse had broken its back in a collision during an elimination heat in preparation for this weekend's Omak Suicide Race. After half-a-dozen men struggled to load the horse into a trailer, Mr. Marchand took Chavez home, where he ended the animal's life with a shotgun. "The one thing I will not let a horse do is suffer," says the 31-year-old Colville Indian."


And while we are at it, how is dragging a horse with a broken back into a trailer and hauling him home to shoot him NOT letting him suffer? What, you people can't have a VET at the event where you kill horses so at least they can be euthed at the scene? *snort* And people criticize traditional racing!

And of course, they try to cover up all the shit they do. Also from the WSJ article:

"After the hill collision two weeks ago involving Chavez, organizers and the local police cleared the riverbank of a few hundred spectators to prevent anyone from taking photographs. During night races, organizers turn out the floodlights when they clean up a wreck. In 1999, Okanogan County and the Stampede organizers were forced to pay $64,500 to an animal-rights activist whose cameras had been thrown into the river as he tried to document the euthanizing of an injured horse."

People, there is no excuse for this taking place in the United States in 2008. I know I've shown you a lot of the dark side of the horse world here, and some of you are so burned out you have stopped reading, but if you're still here and you care, do this one thing if you do nothing else: Write the sponsors and bitch. We need public pressure to shut down this outrageous event for good. I have been writing for years and we HAVE had sponsors pull out.

If you want to jump off a damn cliff as a test of your manhood, HAVE AT IT. Just don't take an innocent animal with you to its death. The horse did not sign on for that. (Personally, I think REAL men are good to their animals, don't you?)

It would be especially helpful to protest this if you ARE Native American and are disgusted by this cruelty masquerading as "your heritage." Many of us have ancestors who practiced bad things - slave ownership, child labor, there's a huge list of atrocities to choose from - but we live in 2008 and know wrong from right. It's time the Native Americans who have similarly evolved take a strong stand against this appalling display and demand that it be stopped.