Source: San Diego Humane Society
November 5, 2022 (San Diego) — San Diego Humane Society has joined animal welfare organizations across California to oppose Proposition 26 — the only ballot measure that legalizes sports wagering at horse racetracks, including Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Prop 26 has drawn considerable opposition from leading animal welfare advocates because it gives a special interest bailout to California’s horse racing industry — providing the industry millions of dollars in new revenue despite its declining popularity and troubling safety record.
On its current trajectory, the horse racing industry will likely disappear in California as fewer and fewer people attend races every year. Prop 26 will secure the horse racing industry’s future by handing racetracks a financial lifeline that allows them to profit by offering sports wagering at their facilities.
“Prop 26 pits profits against animal safety,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO, San Diego Humane Society. “When so many horses continue to die, California cannot allow Prop 26 to subsidize the horse racing industry. We urge all Californians who care about animal welfare to vote NO on Prop 26.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune also opposes Prop 26’s sweetheart deal for horse tracks, writing in its editorial opposing the measure. “[Prop 26’s proponents] barely respond to criticism the measure would prop up racetracks at a time when concerns about their treatment of horses have never been more intense.”
More than 1,600 horses died at facilities regulated by the California Horse Racing Board from 2012 to 2021, and Del Mar facilities had four deaths in its 2022 summer meets with winter racing still to come. Prop 26 allows only for in-person for sports wagering at tribal casinos and California’s four major, privately owned horse racing tracks. Despite the ongoing safety issues, Prop 26 requires racetracks to hold live horse racing as a condition of offering betting on other sports. This means Prop 26 directly subsidizes horse racing and virtually guarantees the industry will continue operating in California for years.
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