28 January 2007

What's The Deal With Barbaro?

There's a new story on ESPN.COM about Barbaro, and the more I think about him and his situation, the more I'm baffled by the whole thing. The first thing that comes to mind is - why does anybody care about Barbaro? My answer is, you shouldn't...he's a horse! But for whatever reason he's bonded with the American public, and that question is really a moot point.

The next question is: why is Barbaro being kept alive? It really seems as if the owners of the horse are putting their interests ahead of his. Barbaro was a great horse, and won at least a few races. But the main value a race horse accrues is when they are put to stud. Is he being kept alive because his owners hope to one day profit off his sperm?

The owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, are saying all the right things. They don't want him to suffer, they don't want him to go through any misery.

But upon reading the article, doesn't it seem that he IS suffering, and he IS in pain?

Barbaro likely will have to bear more weight on his front feet because of his two ailing back legs, making him more susceptible to laminitis, a painful and often fatal disease caused by uneven weight distribution. Laminitis already struck Barbaro's left rear foot in July, and 80 percent of the hoof was removed.


Now I'm no Horse Whisperer. I'll leave that to Robert Redford. But I can imagine that Barbaro is in plenty of pain. He shattered his leg, he's gone through numerous surgeries and treatments, and now doctors are about to try a risky approach.

Animals are luckier than humans in that they are allowed to be put out of their misery, and put to sleep. They're able to avoid long, painful deaths, and die in a dignified way. If Barbaro's owners really cared about his well-being, wouldn't they have done that long ago? Aren't all of their efforts to save him really about recouping their investment and profiting off of him? I'm not sure I know the answer, but it does seem fishy. I do know that it's time for the American public to move on from Barbaro. For god sakes Wilbur, he's just a horse!

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