Horseracing in Italy began again on 25 May, after the Ministries of Health and Agriculture gave in to pressure from the racing associations, opening up racecourses after the period of lockdown due to the cornonavirus emergency.
And so of course horses die again: on 26 May the four-year-old Aramist died at the Trieste hippodrome: he was seen to slow down on the finishing stretch only to collapse once over the line.
The following day, at Follonica, Bianco e Nero, 10 years old, was euthanized following a serious accident. The video shows him fall halfway through the race - he immediately tries to get up but has a danglingleg, it is broken.
On 1 June at Taranto, death came to Billionaire Glory, he was just three years old. He also collapsed straight after the finishing line. To date, the precise cause of his death, as for that of Aramist, is not known.
“We have been requesting a meeting with the relevant Institutions to examine the many grave issues affecting horses used in racing for a very long time”, commented Sonny Richichi, President of IHP, “but we are consistently ignored, while those who profit from racing and the use/abuse of the animals are listened to without question or examination. Of course, they feed millions of euro into the sector – no less than €46 million in 2019. And we find this totally unacceptable: since for a start the tracking of the horses, especially of those ‘rejected’, is far from properly monitored, and also since the Judiciaryitself considers the racing business as potentially criminal”.
To support these accusations, suffice it to reference the recent operation “Mani in Pasta”, carried out by the Guardia di Finanza coordinating with the local antimafia authorities (DDA) of Palermo: among the various illegal activities listed by the DDA in Sicily – which has dismembered the power network built up around the mafia families Ferrante and Fontana – there were also rigged races in Italian hippodromes - doping of horses and threatening jockeys so as to get selected runners placed. Earnings from betting profits were then recycled in all manner of operations.
Richichi affirms “In a letter dated 20 May 2020, addressed to Ministers Bellanova and Speranza, we yet again strongly requested that the government take on responsibility of the welfare of animals. We have not to date received a reply, but the horses go on dying”.
Bianco E Nero, Follonica 27 maggio 2020
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