ALBANY, Calif. (KRON) – Outrage in the East Bay yet again after two more horses died this week at Golden Gate Fields.
That brings the total number of deaths in the last year to 37 at that race track alone.
Activists call the racetrack a stain on the East Bay, claiming we are coasting on the coattails of the ’60s when the area was known for activism and are now instead seemingly complacent in the face of alleged ongoing animal cruelty.
The California Horse Racing Board reports two more horses have died this week at Golden Gate Fields, citing an accident on April 1 in the case of a horse name Jor Jah and no specific cause of death on April 3 of a horse named Velocemente, whose break down was broadcast live during a stream of the race which we won’t show you here.
That brings the total to nine deaths this year and 37 since 2020.
Concerned community members are once again calling for the race track to shut down for good.
Samatha Faye with Direct Action Everywhere grew up around horses and has trained some that in her words were rescued from racing.
She along with several dozen activists urged Albany city council members in a meeting Monday night to use whatever power they have to put an end to what they say is an outdated, cruel sport that leads to abuse of the horses and feeds into gambling addictions in their town.
Councilmembers were also asked by callers including one of the four activists who recently protested in the middle of the field – to publicly speak out against the race track and a lawsuit launched against them.
Other callers said they’d like to see the waterfront site serve other needs like housing.
While some council members expressed compassion and scrutiny over the deaths, they seemingly feel their hands at the local level are tied.
Albany city councilmember Rochelle Nason tells KRON4:
“Like many in our community, I view horse racing in its current form as excessively dangerous to the horses involved and am deeply troubled by the traumatic breakdowns and premature deaths suffered by so many of them. However, I believe that California law places responsibility for regulating this activity on the state rather than on the local government. I encourage those opposed to the presence of Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley and Albany to raise their concerns with our California legislative representatives.”
Councilmember Aaron Tiedemann said: “I am very saddened to hear that there have been more horse deaths at the track and thankful that activists like Samantha are keeping this on our radar as, due to the extremely limited power Albany has to affect operations at Golden Gate Fields, it is all too easy for events like this to happen without our attention. I am hopeful that we will see action from the State on Golden Gate Fields soon, as I think our community is ready to see our shoreline used for something more constructive than horse racing.”
Representatives of Golden Gate Fields did not get back to us.
In the meantime, activists point to dog racing and cockfighting as being outlawed across the country and they are now waiting for the same to happen with horse racing telling the council Albany can lead the way for the rest of the state and the nation.