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Humans need to stop using horses for entertainment

Humans need to stop using horses for entertainment
The starting gates at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on June 11. (David McNew / Getty Images)

To the editor: Suspending races at Santa Anita Park is not enough. The ongoing deaths of horses at the Arcadia track raise the question of why humans continue to amuse themselves at the expense of animals.

Circuses have closed in part because of their mistreatment of animals to force them to perform to entertain people. Even wildlife tourism has been exposed recently by National Geographic magazine, showing how animals are tortured so they can pose for photos with tourists.

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In 1985, Neil Postman’s book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” warned that our “cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments.” It’s time for entertainment consumers to think about the mistreatment of animals and stop amusing themselves to their deaths.

Bob Ladendorf, Los Angeles

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To the editor: My goodness, let’s jump all over the horse racing industry. Even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has jumped in. How about trying to solve the homelessness problem in our country instead of piling on the horse racing industry because of the demise of 29 horses at Santa Anita Park?

The owners, trainers and their staffs go to great lengths to keep their animals healthy. These horses are bred to run races. If we were to end racing in California, the horses would simply no longer exist here. They would continue to race in other states and countries.

Nobody likes to see horses die; however, on balance, the benefits, jobs and entertainment outweigh the costs.

Our society doesn’t mind slaughtering millions of cattle and billions of chickens every year to please our palates. Let’s go after meat consumption next.

Bob Alperin, Long Beach

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