Thank you to everyone who has signed this petition and taken action on this campaign! The Golden Gate Fields horse racing track has announced it will be closing mid-2024, but we have to keep the pressure on to make sure they follow through and stop racing horses to death in the East Bay.
The Stronach Group, which owns the Golden Gate Fields horse racing track located in Berkeley and Albany, announced on July 16, 2023 that it would be shutting down the track at the end of its 2023 racing meet. This announcement came just days after Berkeley Councilmember Kate Harrison proposed a Berkeley city ordinance on July 11, which would require minimal humane treatment for the horses who die regularly at their facility.
Unfortunately, The Stronach Group recently backed out of its promise to leave and publicly extended its stay until the end of the next season in June of 2024. Furthermore, Stronach has not yet put the property up for sale. They have yet to put any plan in place for relocating the horses or the workers to another location. To sidestep all Berkeley regulations including Kate Harrison’s ordinance and the CAFO ballot measure, Stronach could purchase land near Albany in Richmond or El Sobrante for the stables and forever take away Berkeley’s power to regulate them.
For years, DxE activists have protested this deadly track and have advocated for its closure. In 2021, four activists chained themselves together across the track to raise awareness about the cruelty of horse racing, and stopped a horse race from occurring at GGF— which led to legal backlash from GGF that they are still battling. When a horse dies at GGF, activists hold a memorial protest (eight horses were killed in the first half of 2023) and call on residents of Berkeley and Albany to join them in demanding the track’s permanent closure.
Residents also recently took the policy route to combat GGF’s animal cruelty. DxE is one of a number of groups working on a ballot initiative, launched in June 2023, that would ban Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Berkeley, including the GGF stables. In October, it officially qualified for the November 2024 ballot.
Horses are raced as young as 2 years old, even though their bones are still developing until they are 5. Devices like twitches (tongue ties) and stud chains (attached to the halter and going under the upper lip against the gum) are commonly used to get young horses into the starting gate. Horses are drugged to mask pain, hiding smaller injuries that lead to catastrophic injuries during exertion. Horses are fed a diet for speed and energy, not health, so many horses develop ulcers that lead to colic from poor diets too high in sugar.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association reports that half of all horses bred for racing go to slaughter.
It's time to end this violent industry and start respecting and protecting horses.
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