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Hakol Chai Demonstrates To Protest Toto Horse Racing Ads








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November 1, 2013, Tel Aviv


Hakol Chai (Everything Lives) invites the public to join its demonstration Tuesday, November 5th at 11 A.M. in front of the office of Limor Livnat, Minister of Sports, to demand that the Ministry's TV and billboard advertisements promoting gambling on horse races abroad, conducted together with Israel's sports betting association, Toto, be removed from public display.


"Behind horse racing's glamorous image lies the cruel reality of illegal drugging, catastrophic injuries, and death," says Hakol Chai's spokesperson, Reut Reshef. "Horse racing, like dog fighting and bullfighting, is a brutality of the past and must end if we are to have a compassionate society. Horses are literally being raced to death."


"Thousands are bred annually, the fastest picked to race, most of the rest sent to slaughter," Reshef explains. "Horses are trained and raced at 2, before their bones have hardened. In the U.S. alone, 1,200 die every year from injuries in training and on the track. By age 6, most are no longer fast enough to win races and even former champions are sent to the slaughterhouse, though a Thoroughbred's natural lifespan is 25. Illegal drugging to improve performance and cover up injuries, potentially fatal bleeding in the lungs from unnatural overexertion, ulcers, heart attacks, and other abuses are all common."


The abuses of the industry are the subject of ongoing U.S. Congressional hearings, at which experts testified that no laws, regulations, or governing bodies have been able to control the illegal drugging and corruption. This is true in every country where racing exists.


Toto's campaign has met with strong public opposition. Earlier this week, 10 Knesset members, including Zehava Galon of Meretz, Chairman MK David Azoulay (Shas), MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), MK Dov Henin (Hadash ), and MK Tamar Sandberg (Meretz ) sent a joint letter to Minister Livnat at Hakol Chai's initiative, stating that Toto's campaign encourages Israelis to violate the Animal Protection Law and demanding that Toto halt the campaign.


Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, issued a psak (ruling) forbidding Jews from attending races or working in the industry because the cruelties violate tsa'ar ba'alei chayyim, the mandate to prevent cruelty to animals, and because Judaism forbids gambling as it enriches one at the expense of another.


"It makes no difference whether the race takes place in Israel or abroad," said Reshef. "The suffering of the horses is the same." Hakol Chai invites the public to join Hakol Chai's protest to tell Minister Livnat that gambling at the expense of animals is abuse and will not be tolerated."