A New York City horse racing track has become a death trap this winter.
During the middle of a race last Friday, two horses fell down at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., the Queens Chronicle reports. One of the animals died of injuries, bringing the total death toll at the track up to 11 horses since the season began in late November.
Several horses were euthanized after they sustained injuries racing, and some died after falling down. And this year is not even an anomaly: In 2013, there was a total of 23 horse deaths at the track.
An official statement from the New York Racing Association reads:
The New York Racing Association cares deeply about, and takes very seriously, the health and safety of its equine athletes and jockeys at Aqueduct Racetrack. Live racing at Aqueduct operates on track surfaces which are frequently and vigorously inspected by both in-house professionals and outside independent experts, and continue to be found safe.
The statement also notes that Aqueduct is the racetrack with the highest number of "catastrophic injuries" out of New York's four tracks.
Though Aqueduct's record is particularly egregious, horse racing is often deadly. The Jockey Club's Equine Injury Database shows that in 2013, the prevalence of fatal injuries per 1,000 starts was 1.90 - meaning that for every 1,000 races run, nearly two horses died.
"Until the racing industry stops exploiting horses for a profit, they will continue treating these animals as nothing more than a disposable commodity," Allie Feldman, executive director of the animal welfare organization NYCLASS, told The Dodo.