As Derby weekend began, Oscar- and three-time Emmy-nominee James Cromwell sent an urgent letter to James Gagliano, president of The Jockey Club, calling on him to adopt PETA's proposal for a concrete plan to help fund the retirement of thoroughbred racehorses.
More than 10,000 thoroughbreds in the U.S. alone are sent to Mexico and Canada every year to be slaughtered for dog food and even for overseas human consumption. In the letter, Cromwell—whose many film credits include Secretariat—points out that The Jockey Club is in a unique position to ensure the lifelong well-being of these horses.
“The slaughter of 10,000 thoroughbred racehorses every year is the great shame of the racing industry,” wrote the actor. "These magnificent animals should not end up on a meat hook after a terrifying journey to a terrifying death.
“The Jockey Club’s efforts to deal with this tragedy through your voluntary checkoff program and supplement to that are laudable, but they have proved inadequate.
“I urge the Jockey Club, as the only official body that deals with every thoroughbred owner in every racing state, to implement PETA’s Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Retirement Fund without delay. This program is very affordable for thoroughbred owners and would generate $20 million a year toward permanent retirement. It is the best hope for the horses now abandoned by the people who profit from them. Please act without delay to save these animals.”