Animal Welfare: Robyn Louw Replies

Animal Welfare

Hi Jane (and everyone else who has been kind enough to take the time to comment),

Firstly, I agree whole-heartedly that changes are necessary. The thing about Emily’s original post is not that she was entirely wrong, but she was not entirely correct either.

Hopefully I did mention it enough times to make it clear that I do NOT think the racing industry is perfect by any means and I don’t think there can be any argument that there are problems. However, as I hopefully also managed to point out, there are also good people doing good things, so to say that it is ONLY cruel / abusive / about the money etc is not correct either. I know people will argue that good things don’t cancel out the bad, but surely it counts for something that racing does at least try. Criticise by all means – it’s what helps us improve – but also praise where it’s deserved.

While I do understand sentiments like Scarlett’s (and they are of course entirely welcome to their opinion and their anger), bashing people may feel satisfying in the short-term, but it’s not a long-term solution and writing off an entire community doesn’t help anyone get anywhere, least of all the horses. We need dialogue and understanding to move things forward. All I was hoping to show was that yes, racing does have its problems, but racing is by no means blind to them and it is open to constructive criticism and to change. Yes, perhaps that change is slow, but it is there.

I see a lot of anti-racing sentiment and it saddens me a little that racing seems to become inured to it and very seldom do we stand up and say ‘Hey, that’s not quite right. There are good people and good stories too.’ I guess I just wanted to make sure that someone said it, because while I’m certainly not proud of all of racing, I’m damn proud of some of it. I understand that it might be difficult for some people to understand, but instead of taking the easy option of chucking it all in the bin and walking away over racing’s perceived shortcomings, I’ll take the criticism on the chin but I’m going to stick around anyway, because I KNOW there are good bits and I think if we can help, grow and support good people doing good things, then we can make things better. And I think that’s worth sticking around for.

Anyway, many thanks for reading and commenting.

Robyn

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