The Windsor Star has reported that disgraced horse trainer Derek Riesberry was fined $3,750 on Friday April 8, 2016 after having been found guilty of injecting a racehorse with performance-enhancing drugs and attempting to inject another one with the same in 2010. In addition, the crown attorney Brian Manarin ensured that the case was criminally prosecuted instead of going through the fines and suspensions handed down by the Ontario Racing Commission. According to crown Manarin, Riesberry has been“branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat.” This is the first time a horse doping case has been prosecuted as a criminal conviction. Riesberry now has a criminal record. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada. See article here:
Riesberry’s charge and his criminal record, though, relates to fraud against us, the public. In injecting the performance-enhancing drug he tried to cheat in a horse race – fraud against the public. However, crown attorney Manarin drew a distinction between another user of performance enhancing drugs, Lance Armstrong, Riesberry’s administration of such drugs to a horse: Observing that Armstrong did, indeed, have a choice, Manarin observed that, in this case “The horse has no choice.”
Not only did the Crown attorney Manarin see the horse as an innocent victim, but Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin was even more direct: “‘The horse was a defenceless victim in the hands of an unscrupulous trainer,’ Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin said as he passed sentence — a $2,500 fine for the fraud (injecting a horse) and $1,250 for attempted fraud (being caught with drug-filled syringes),” (Windsor Star, April 8, 2016).
The words of the crown and the words of the Superior Court Justice ring true: the horse is an innocent defenseless victim of a cheat. Let us follow the logic of the words of the crown attorney Manarin and Justice Rogin: If injecting performance enhancing drugs into a horse is a wrong against the horse such that two pillars of our legal system see this as a wrong, then what on earth is slaughter? The horse in transport to slaughter, at the feedlot, loaded into the kill pen, and then shot with a gun and dismembered is a defenseless victim. These words of Crown Attorney Manarin and Justice Rogin recognize the horse as a sentient being with rights.