- Georgia, USA -
At Rancho El Centenario in Milner, Lamar County, they board and train horses, and sell honey and eggs, reports FOX 5 Atlanta.
On some weekends, Rancho El Centenario is the venue for horse racing.
Its owner, ARTHUR H. ENGLISH IV, calls it the best bush track in the country, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), “calls it a track fraught with gambling and animal cruelty”, reports FOX 5 Atlanta.
PETA said that “From June 2021 through April 2022, a team of PETA operatives investigated unregulated Quarter Horse racing in Georgia, primarily at the largest Georgia ‘bush track,’ Rancho El Centenario (south of Atlanta). Well over 100 of these tracks operate all over the U.S., from California to Virginia, flying largely under the radar.”
PETA explained that its investigators “discovered a clandestine underworld of crime and cruelty, where racegoers wager hundreds of thousands of dollars and trainers and jockeys drug, whip, and electroshock horses to try to win at any cost.”
Kathy Guillermo with PETA told FOX 5 Atlanta: “There are rampant examples of illicit doping of horses, whipping, electro-shocking, and it all seems to be fueled by gambling.”
Undercover investigators saw race teams “injecting horses in the neck shortly before races, often on the racetrack itself. Racers experiment with drug cocktails to rev horses up, mask injuries, and kill pain, in hopes of achieving maximum speed.”
PETA’s operatives witnessed jockey whipping horses, “often over 20 times in a row”, and said they did not limit themselves to whipping. In fact, investigators’ close-up footage revealed electric shock devices (aka “batteries,” “buzzers,” “machines,” “chicharras,” or “máquinas”) held in jockeys’ hands or taped to their wrists. They use them to shock the horses in the neck during races, even the many jockeys who also race at mainstream tracks, where using or possessing these devices would result in a multiyear suspension.
A gut-wrenching video posted by PETA shows horses forced to race even with injured legs and then being dragged by tractors when no longer needed.
PETA said that after its undercover investigation went public, Rancho El Canelo canceled races on August 6, and Rancho El Centenario canceled races scheduled for August 7.
“On March of 2021, investigators with the Sheriff's Office heard of animal cruelty going on at Rancho El Centenario. Given the nature of the complaints and the resources that would be needed, I contacted the US Department of Agriculture to investigate the complaints. In April of 2021, we met with federal investigators and the case was turned over to them for investigation and prosecution. Myself, along with GBI and the District Attorney’s office met with the investigator, to go over case facts of the case in October 2021. We were scheduled to meet with the federal investigator in March of 2022. The investigator with the US Department of Agriculture advised us that P.E.T.A. was going to release their findings, if they didn't act on the evidence they had prior to March 2022. In April of this year, we had not heard from the agent. We were advised he was transferred or no longer with the Department of Agriculture. We were never advised that he had been transferred and the case was evidently not reassigned. Subsequently, P.E.T.A. and the Washington Post released their findings.
I have spoken with District Attorney Jonathan Adams on what steps, if any, can be taken to move forward with the case.
We certainly do not condone the activities going on at the track. The videos and pictures were sickening and sad. It is our goal to bring justice to the animals that were injected with this poison. I have asked the commissioners to see if they have any legal recourse, to revoke any permits, that the track is under.”
Sheriff White told FOX 5 Atlanta that he has also been in contact with ENGLISH.
“I encouraged him to stop doing it, just shut it down, find another way to make money. But I don't think he was heading in that direction,” said Sheriff White.
Meanwhile, ENGLISH is denying all allegations of animal cruelty and issued the following statement:
“The allegations contained in the recent Washington Post article and PETA social media video concerning my business are untrue and were characterized to mislead and inflame public opinion. The facts are, I hold, and have held, a valid business license and a Georgia Department of Agriculture Stable license for ten years. My facilities are inspected by the State several times each year. I have had constant interaction with various members of the Lamar County Board of Commissioners over the years, and many of them have been out to my place of business from time to time. According to both the Lamar County Sheriff and the Towaliga Circuit District Attorney, my business been subject to investigation by their offices as well as the United States Department of Agriculture for at least eighteen months. My business has to be the most investigated, most closely scrutinized business in the history of Lamar County. Despite all of the scrutiny and investigations, by all of the myriad officials and agencies, no one connected to my business has ever been charged with a single criminal offense. PETA and the Washington Post are well known for aggressively pursuing their own political agendas. Both have recently been attacking the horse racing industry nation-wide. which is clearly reflected in their reporting and social media postings over the past several years. They cobbled together half-truths and flashes of gore to inflame and incite people. Their report and postings are neither accurate, nor reflective of my business or any of the activities on my property. If there was any truth to any of it, one or more of the many investigating officials or agencies would have certainly taken some official action. Horse racing is completely legal in Georgia. However, it is not regulated by the State. Contrary to what the Washington Post and PETA would have you believe. I do have rules (both posted and enforced) at my place of business. Unfortunately, on rare occasion accidents do happen. And sadly, some people will always try to cheat at sport to get an advantage. We do police these things and try to stop them. I have been in the large animal business most of my life. My father and grandfather were cattlemen on this same property. I grew up on a farm with cattle. I love animals and don’t condone the abuse or neglect of any animal. When we find a safety issue, we fix it. When we catch a bad actor, we show him or her the door. PETA and the Washington Post have an agenda, and they want you to buy into what they are selling. Their work was intentionally designed to repulse and enrage the reader/viewer, and to get people angry before they could think about, or even question, what was being fed to them. They have an agenda, and they fed you what they wanted to get the reaction they wanted. Please understand, what was contained in their work was not accurate or correct, and it certainly was not representative of my business or it’s practices.”
After PETA’s video went viral, Rancho El Centenario published a Facebook post that read: “Just to be clear, we expect and demand that everyone treat the horses that run at Rancho El Centenario with the highest care and respect. In case anyone is unclear about our rules regarding the treatment of horses, here are some obvious ones.”
In regards to that, I have left a comment which was promptly deleted and I was banned from the page!
At Rancho El Centenario innocent horses have died and continue to die.
Heartless and soulless individuals run this hell and heartless and soulless individuals pay to watch defenseless horses who unwillingly participate in these barbaric activities.
Those who pay to watch are no better than ARTHUR H. ENGLISH IV.
All of you are just as guilty!
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