Lasix and the Horse Race

Horse racing is a form of sports competition that involves humans riding horses on a course against one another for a prize. It is the oldest of the major spectator sports, and it has been practiced in various civilizations for thousands of years. Archeological evidence indicates that it was first practiced in Ancient Greece, and it was included in the Olympic Games as early as 700 to 800 bc. It has also played a prominent role in myth and legend, such as the contest between Odin’s steeds Hrungnir and Gungnir in Norse mythology.

During the race, the horses had to keep running and sweating, which put them at serious risk of dehydration. To combat this, they were injected with a drug called Lasix, which is noted on the racing forms with a boldface “L.” The medication works as a diuretic to help horses lose water weight by excreting epic amounts of urine—twenty or thirty pounds worth. Lasix is a necessary evil because hard running can cause pulmonary bleeding in some horses, and it can lead to fatal collapse.

But Lasix isn’t the only way horse race promoters sacrifice animal welfare for profits. In an industry that is desperate to keep its share of the public’s purse, trainers routinely use painkillers on their runners to make them more likely to win. A 2011 report commissioned by the Jockey Club found that racing was losing fans, revenue, and race days. The report blamed the decline on growing awareness of abuses in the industry, such as harsh training methods that can damage a horse’s lower legs and tendons, and on allegations of illegal drugs, injuries, and breakdowns.

The most important thing that could happen for horse racing, according to PETA, is a complete and comprehensive overhaul of aftercare for ex-racehorses. Without it, the animals hemorrhage into the slaughter pipeline. A few nonprofit rescue groups network, fundraise, and work tirelessly to save them, but many others are stuck in a system that treats them like disposable merchandise. They are given a Facebook post and a short window of opportunity to be “bailed” from a facility, then shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

While a horse race can be a good strategy for selecting a new CEO, it can have negative implications for the company’s culture and organizational structure. Boards should consider whether the company is a good fit for this approach, and adopt strategies to minimize disruptions. They should also be aware of the potential repercussions for strong leaders deeper in the organization who may have aligned themselves with an unsuccessful candidate. In some cases, a long-running horse race can even undermine the effectiveness of the new CEO by wasting time and resources.

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