Our Culture of Victimization: Lasix is Welfare for Horses
“Oh these poor horses, their lungs bleed when we race ‘em, so let’s give them a drug to make that go away.”
“Oh these poor people, they are so unfortunate that we should give them food stamps, subsidized rent, and a free cell phone to help them out.”
It’s going to be impossible for me to stick with this analogy without letting my political beliefs seep into the post. Screw it, the mainstream media can’t write a story without their biases shining through, why should a lowly blogger be any different? I love seeing the Paulick Report complain about biased NYT/MSNBC reporting on drugs in horseracing – where is all that outrage when these same outlets lie and falsify information while attacking all other issues that don’t jibe with your liberal agendas?
Now the Ray Paulicks and Jennie Rees’ of the world know how the other half of the country feels reading/watching this primetime propaganda on a daily basis. Welcome to the club. Fun, isn’t it? You hypocrites are supposed to merely report the news, not opine on it like a salesman of a product. Now, take your medicine as you are exposed to the drivel that fills the network airwaves.
Back to the topic. Lasix and welfare are both well meaning ideas that have proven to weaken, not strengthen, the recipients well-being. Watch an episode of ‘Intervention’ some day, when you have a person who is making poor decisions in his life with drugs or alcohol, the last thing to do is further enable that addict by rewarding that behavior. Human welfare creates a culture of victimization where the ‘beneficiaries’ of the aid develop ‘woe is me’ victimization complexes that make succeeding in life even more difficult. I’ve been a 30+ year old who has had to ask his parents for money, it doesn’t do much good for the old self esteem, let me tell you that.
Same with horses; when you address a weakness with an artificial pharmaceutical solution – you only create a culture of treating these horses like pieces of fine china, racing them less, working them less, etc. The result? Horses with brittle bones and swiss cheese like ligaments/tendons that run a big race or two in their careers and then are off to the breeding shed, or more likely the retirement farm. Just yesterday I had a breeder tell me how you have to go easy on today’s horses because we have bred weaker bones into their lower legs in an effort to find ‘speed’. That is only half the picture, the other half is that bones are alive and exercising them at speed makes them stronger:
Just 15% of horses bleed enough in the lungs to be a problem, and probably a like number of humans are truly victims of circumstance and also deserve our help. Sadly, 95% of horses get the diuretic Lasix and hundreds of thousands of Americans swell the welfare doles who are perfectly capable of earning a living. Chaos eventually ensues, as neither is a sustainable system.
The Law of Unintended Consequences is at play in both cases. Human suffering and thoroughbred performance are inherently complex systems, and when a simple-minded intervention is introduced to solve a single issue (Lasix for horses, welfare for humans), well… the rest of the system gets all screwed up. What started out as a noble action has turned into a destructive one. Now, through the most recent Senate intervention into our wonderful sport – the floodgates to government involvement have been opened – I can just see the 2016 headlines now:
“The IRS today hired 1,600 new agents to administer the Uniform Drug Rules for Horseracing Act. (This is not a tax)”