Article published on 24 May 2012

Ottawa Sun Highlights Troubled Ontario Racing Industry

Fears Mount for Ontario's Horse Racing Industry
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The Ontario government seems determined to go through with its plans to introduce sweeping changes to the province's gambling laws.

The industry which will feel the most impact from the changes is the horse racing industry, especially if the government starts to remove slot machine funding from horse racing tracks in Ontario.

The Ottawa Sun ran a rather graphic article yesterday, highlighting what it calls the "precarious state" of the province's horse racing industry and showing what will happen to many of the horses when their owners can no longer afford to keep them.

The article first talks about the impact that the changes will have on employment in province.

"Let's talk devastation," the article reads. "As in potentially thousands of jobs lost (there are an estimated 60,000 people employed in Ontario's horse racing industry), including 400 at Rideau Carleton Raceway."

The article then begins to describe in minute detail what happens to a horse once the decision is made to send it to the slaughterhouse.

"The lineup to slaughterhouses will be long," a vet who works at Rideau Carleton Raceway is quoted as saying. "For sure, some of these horses will go to slaughterhouses. It costs a lot of money to dispose of a body."

Thousands to Support Race Horses

The article in the Ottawa Sun highlights the case of 45 year old trainer and driver Robbie Robinson who, along with his wife Jackie and two business partners, has a stable of 20 horses.

Robinson worked out that it costs thousands each money to keep the horses. He believes that if he loses his livelihood, he will have no choice but to get rid of the horses.

He said that there was a lot of anger toward Ontario Lottery and Gambling for their decisions regarding horse racing in the province.

"If there's no racing, what do you do with 30,000 horses across the province," he asked hopelessly about the troubled Ontario racing industry.

New Racing Task Force Created

In the meantime, in light of these changes, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) created a Task Force to develop a dialogue with the government, which will hopefully see the continuation of a viable horse racing industry in Ontario.

The Task Force is comprised of the chair of OHRIA, Sue Leslie, the executive VP of Racing at Woodbine Entertainment, Jamie Martine, and the CEO of Western Fair District, Hugh Mitchell. More people will be added in the coming weeks.

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