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Barbaro was Just a Horse

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As you probably already heard, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized yesterday by his owners after an injury to his right hind leg just wouldn't heal. The horse was in a lot of pain, so we know they made the right decision. Barbaro had captured America's hearts at the Derby -- and some thought he had a real chance at the Triple Crown -- but those same hearts were broken when he came up lame in the midst of the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

Now LAist loves animals, but folks, don't take this the wrong way, but Barbaro was just a horse. The outpouring of support and media coverage is a bit much, don't you think? (We saw a piece on the FOX 10 o'clock news about how the florists in suburban Philadelphia were overwhelmed by flower orders.) Today dozens of media outlets including USA Today and even the New York Times came out with editorials about Barbaro's death. Here's an excerpt from the Times:

You would have to look a long, long time to find a dishonest or cruel horse. And the odds are that if you did find one, it was made cruel or dishonest by the company it kept with humans. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly every horse — Barbaro included — is pure of heart. Some are faster, some slower. Some wind up in the winner’s circle. But they should all evoke in us the generosity of conscience — a human quality, after all — that was expended in the effort to save this one horse.
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Sure, we all cry and mourn when we lose pets -- they are part of our families. But Barbaro? Most of us never met him. Most of us never even watched him race. We don't see this kind of support, compassion and media hype for most people who die: the hundreds and thousands of Iraqi citizens, American soldiers, innocent bystanders in LA gang violence like Charupha Wongwisetsiri or even the recently departed President Gerald Ford.

Our only hope is that if Brian Williams or Katie Couric are planning to cover Barbaro's burial at Churchill Downs that some little girl falls down a well so that the networks will have some other drama to hype.

After all, Barbaro was just a horse. And while networks like animal stories, they love little-girls-in-distress stories better.

AP photo by George Widman.