Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Horse racing? Premier says don't bet on it -- yet

QUASHING RUMORS Although a plan to allow auto and equestrian races is in the works, the premier said there were many angles that had to be considered first

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

"The party supports competitions like auto and horse racing either in outlying islands or Taiwan proper in terms of promoting sporting activities, but we have to take related problems such as gambling and the deterioration of public security into account," Kuo said.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus, however, urged the Cabinet to draw up a complete set of policies if it decided to allow betting on races.

Animal rights groups yesterday voiced opposition to the plan, saying that cruelty to animals should not be tolerated.

"Horses are not suitable for racing. Many break their legs during races," Chen Yu-min, director of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

"The government has failed to boost the economy, and now it is suggesting horse race gambling. We can hold a public debate to see if the public supports it or opposes it," she added.

Shih Chao-hui, a Buddhist nun who campaigns for animal rights and is against gambling, also objected to the plan.

"Studies have shown that in places where gambling is legalized, the gambling industry alone thrives while other businesses decline," she said.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang and Flora Wang

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