Sunday, July 16, 2006

Horse update

In case you were worried, Barbaro is doing well. Assistant trainer Peter Brette says "He's doing fine. He's in a good frame of mind."

Do you remember Barbaro? He won the Kentucky Derby this year, and quickly brought up discussion that he might become the first triple crown winner in almost thirty years. Instead, he shattered a bone in his leg before the first turn of the Preakness.

They used to "put down" horses with such injuries. But not Barbaro; the loss of millions of dollars of potential stud fees was too hard to stomach, so some of the world's best doctors were assembled to repair the leg.

After this latest surgery, the article explains, Barbaro spent a night in ICU. I have visited several ICU's over the years and never came across a horse in a bed.

I don't want to know how many millions of dollars are being spent on this horse's injury. I do want to remember how willing we all are to chuckle about such devotion to the life of a racing horse while we complain at the cost to society of health care for people who cannot afford it.

I went to seminary in Kentucky, in horse farm country. Several of my fellow students had part time jobs as security guards for some of the horses. These horses, they told me, lived in more luxurious conditions that some of the people of Lexington.

I realize this is a capitalistic country, and the market "freely" decides what money goes where. But when the efforts to save the life of a horse, and that only so his owner can receive stud fees, make actual "news," that tells me something is wrong. When there are so many people who live below any reasonable standard of decency, I can't chuckle at the absurdity of these reports anymore.

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