GW Expert Available: Churchill Downs Ceases Horse Racing

June 5, 2023

GW's Kathy Hessler

WASHINGTON (June 5, 2023)- Over the course of five weeks, 12 thoroughbred horses stabled at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky have died. The causes of death are unknown at this time.  The world-famous horse racing facility will cease all races at Churchill Downs while investigations are on-going. This news comes only weeks after the working military horses at Arlington Cemetery’s duties were re-instated, which leads to the importance of and suggestion of change for animal treatment and working conditions.

If you would like more context on this subject, please consider Katherine Hessler, Assistant Dean for Animal Law at the George Washington University Law School. Hessler has been teaching animal law for over two decades and serves as the inaugural dean for Animal Legal Education at the George Washington University Law School. Hessler was a founding member for the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, which was named one of the top 15 most innovative clinics. Along with Animal Law initiatives, Hessler created and directed the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative and is the co-founder of the World Aquatic Animal Day. Hessler currently serves on the board of the Center for Teaching Peace and is a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

From Hessler, “It is important tp consider the economic and veterinary decision making processes that frequently lead to the death of so many horses, seen and unseen.  Countless additional horses are injured, die, or are killed in the racing industry.  It is long past time to consider the actual costs of this activity as well as alternatives.”

If you would like to speak to Dean Hessler, please contact GW Media Relations Specialist Shannon Mitchell at [email protected].