Help us protect horses confined at Golden Gate Fields

Over 1000 horses are confined to small stalls in Berkeley, California for up to 20 hours a day, and are routinely subjected to the torment of specific implements, like whips, with little to no formal protections. A new ordinance proposed by Berkeley City Council aims to change that.

Send this letter to the Berkeley City Council to show your support for this new ordinance.
Send a Message to Berkeley City Council
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Dear Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council,

I am writing to express my strong support for the adoption of an ordinance adding Chapter 12.75 to the Berkeley Municipal Code. This proposed ordinance aims to establish crucial protections for animals held, owned, used, exhibited, or otherwise kept for racing or other sport, entertainment, or profit within our city.

The current situation at Golden Gate Fields, one of two remaining horse racing tracks in the Bay Area, is deeply concerning. The track has witnessed a distressing number of horse deaths, with eight horses losing their lives in 2023 alone. It is disheartening to see these magnificent creatures suffer due to what appears to be sanctioned animal abuse.

As a charter city, Berkeley has the authority and responsibility to establish regulations that safeguard the well-being and safety of animals under its jurisdiction. This proposed ordinance would prohibit inhumane or abusive treatment of animals involved in racing or other activities for sport, entertainment, or profit within our city limits.

Recent actions taken by nationally recognized racetracks, such as Churchill Downs and Baltimore's Laurel Racetrack, have highlighted the urgent need for reform. The suspension of racing at these tracks was prompted by an alarming number of horse deaths, leading to investigations and concerns about animal welfare. We must learn from these examples and take proactive measures to prevent similar tragedies within our community.

The proposed ordinance addresses critical issues by:
Limiting Confinement: Making it illegal to confine a horse to a stable for more than 10 hours per day and ensuring that every horse has access to a full turnout with a minimum of one-half acre of pasture.

Prohibiting Animal Abuse: Incorporating existing state and federal laws, including California's Animal Abuse and Cruelty Penal Code, to prohibit abusive behavior and the use of instruments/devices that cause harm or distress to animals.

By implementing these provisions, we can create a safer and more compassionate environment for animals involved in racing or other activities for sport, entertainment, or profit. This ordinance reflects the values of our community and aligns with the principle that animals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

I firmly believe that the adoption of this ordinance will demonstrate our city's commitment to the well-being of animals and set a positive example for other communities. I respectfully urge you, Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council, to support and approve the proposed ordinance, thus taking a significant step towards protecting the welfare of animals in our city.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I trust in your leadership and compassion as you consider the best interests of our community and the welfare of the animals that inhabit it.

Concerned Horse Advocate
Send a Message to Berkeley City Council
Use this link above, or email