DEL MAR, Calif. — People gathered to protest the Del Mar horse races Thursday. The demonstration was organized by a group called Kill Racing Not Horses.
They held signs spelling "Kill Racing Not Horses" on the I-5 overpass on Del Mar Heights Road in the hopes people leaving the Del Mar racetrack would see them.
"There's nothing kind about horse racing for the horses. It's not a sport for the horses it's pure animal abuse," said Ellen Ericksen, an animal rights activist.
Ellen Ericksen has organized protests in del Mar for more than 15 years. She described some of the deadly injuries the horses can endure.
"They have structural muscular skeletal injuries, microfractures in their legs and on race day are pushed so hard that they actually die at racetracks," she said.
Martha Sullivan, who organized Thursday's protest, says five horses have died at Del Mar so far this year.
"One was from racing episode five and four were in training. One of those just happened this past weekend," she said.
The California Horse Racing Board says Del Mar racetrack saw a decrease in fatalities and injuries in 2022 with four horses dying which was was down more than fifty percent from 2019. For animal rights activists that decrease isn't enough. They hope one day horse racing will end for good.
"Shut it down just like dog racing was shutdown in this country a few years ago. there's no more grey hound racing. it's a little complicated because of the money associated with horse racing," Ericksen said.
The protestors say they plan to hold another demonstration Saturday at the Del Mar racetrack.
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