New York Horse Racing Tracks to Reopen During COVID-19, NYCLASS To Hold Virtual Protest and Condemns Reckless Decision
*RELEASE* May 16, 2020
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, 917.940.2725; Edita@nyclass.org
New York, NY – As New York is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and most non-essential businesses remain closed, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) Executive Director Edita Birnkrant has released the following statement:
“We are outraged by Governor Cuomo's announcement today that all horse racing tracks in New York will reopen for racing on June 1, including Belmont and Aqueduct, while the pandemic still rages on and most non-essential businesses remain closed.
Workers at New York racetracks contracted and died from COVID-19 in March due to the reckless decision to continue operating during the pandemic, and now, more racetrack workers will be put at risk by allowing racing to begin on June 1.
This is another clear example of the horse racing industry valuing profits over lives; not only does the horse racing industry work horses to death regularly, they have seemingly little regard for the welfare of their workers. Tracks require hundreds if not thousands of staff members to operate – many of whom may travel from out of state – making it extremely difficult for employees to practice responsible social distancing. Even during the shutdown horses have died at New York racetracks as training continued; now with racing starting up again, injuries and deaths will only increase. Thousands of horses die every year at racetracks: forced doping and brutal and cruel training regiments mean deaths are inevitable. 11 horses have died at Belmont this year before racing has even begun. How many horses have to suffer and die before we shut down these race tracks?"
NYCLASS and Horseracing Wrongs will host an online virtual protest on March 31 targeting New York's race tracks, the New York Racing Authority and other officials.