It's the age-old question of which came first ...
Let’s not get sentimental about saving thoroughbreds. Let’s be realistic. Which came first? Did we humans save horses or did horses save us?
Please follow my argument. Let’s stipulate that one of the greatest problems in the
The horse industries, including racing, are among the last survivors to have not been outsourced. This is the premise of my novel, Tropical Downs, where two shady characters, one from
Now consider another cause of unemployment: high technology converting jobs from being labor intensive to capital intensive. It looks awkward when this conversion is attempted in racing, as exemplified by the walking machine. Without having ever talked to a horse, I can bet confidently that horses enjoy a stroll in the woods much more than walking around in circles.
In fact, the racing industry is not likely to be outsourced, and much of it, by its intrinsic nature must remain labor intensive. According to the
When combined into one statistic, the four segments of the horse industry, recreation, shows, racing and “other” put approximately 1.5 million full-time equivalent jobs into the economy.
Horse activities also put more than $40 billion into the gross domestic product: GDP. But it’s much better than that. The GDP is a flawed number, as economists Herman Daly and Joseph Stiglitz have explained, because it gives equal value to economic activity created by oil slicks or land mines compared with activities created from baseball or furniture manufacturing. Thus, the GDP is composed of both negative and positive impacts.
Horse industries are among those economic activities that represent a positive contribution to the GDP (though if you’ve owned a race horse and lost money in the process, you might not see it that way).
Every thoroughbred that we can save from slaughter creates jobs: many of the labor-intensive variety, but also a host of collateral economic activity, and the best news is that none of this can be outsourced.
No matter how dominating high-tech life becomes, the winning exacta between humans and animals will remain a fundamental part of the economy. For example, the exacta we're bicycling for: the discarded horses that the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation rescues turn around and rescue the country’s discarded human beings. At TRF farms, located at correctional facilities, horses help inmates by teaching vocational and life-affirming skills through innovative programs in horse care and stable management.
This is why our riding a “tour de France” to save horses is not based on sentimentality. It’s the age-old question about which came first, the chicken or the egg. For me, the answer is simple. Horses saved me long before I set out to save a horse.
P.S. Our first preliminary trip is planned for Monday, May 24, to the beautiful Saint-Cloud race course, just west of Paris. To get there we'll have to climb the "hill of death". Stay tuned.