Monday, March 19, 2012

The Luck and Death of Horses

Secretariat, alive and well

A few days ago, HBO cancelled its series Luck about conniving humans and racing horses. I never watched the series, but saw the notice that the series was cancelled after the third horse death connected to filming. For a full account, see the Los Angeles Times article. The article also notes that no horses died in the filming of Secretariat or the filming of what looked like a hazardous film, War Horse.
The Random Animal bows to an excellent blog on this topic. Hal Herzog, a social psychologist who studies human/animal interactions, writes on the bad luck of Luck, horse racing, and animal cruelty for Psychology Today. Herzog notes that animal sports linked with lower income groups, like dog fighting, are more apt to be scorned and regulated than high-end hunting or horse racing. Herzog refers to ethologist/animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, who commented on the ethical issues of horse racing in an ABC News article. As the ABC article discloses, horses generally fare better in entertainment than in real horse races: in the U.S. there's a horse fatality for every 500 race "starts."
So, more significant than a requiem for a TV series is a requiem for the horses.

Coming soon: Militant dogs and the challenges of security in an era of terrorism.

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