BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – The Berkeley Health Department confirms about 200 COVID-19 vaccination appointments have been canceled at the Golden Gate Fields mass vaccination site Thursday due to an ongoing animal rights protest over horse racing deaths.
Scheduled races have also been delayed and possibly canceled entirely after a small group of Bay Area residents lay on the track together to demand the cities of Berkeley and Albany shut down Golden Gate Fields.
The four were on the track at 1100 Eastshore Highway as of about 12:20 p.m., connected by PVC pipes in a move the activists called a sleeping dragon. They lit purple flares as they were lying in place.
The four people are affiliated with the global grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere, calling for Golden Gate Fields to be shut down due to dozens of horse deaths over the past year.
Outside the track, people chanted and demonstrated by holding banners. “It’s not entertainment, they chanted. “It’s violence,” they said of horseracing.
The advocates said they were successful at delaying the horse race scheduled for 12:45 p.m. and were hoping to keep horses from running the race at 3:45 p.m.
Two races are scheduled for Thursday.
At least five horses have died at the track so far this year. Twenty-seven horses died at the track last year.
Deaths of horses gained more public attention when 23 died over three months in early 2019 at Santa Anita Park in Southern California.
Bay City News contributed to this report.