Bo Derek Appointed to Calif. Horse Racing Board


Bo Derek, animal rights activist


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has named animal lover Bo Derek to the seven-member California Horse Racing Board, which oversees all of the state’s racing and betting action.

The 1980s-era movie star attended her first meeting at Del Mar Racetrack, near San Diego. The post, which was confirmed by the state Senate, pays $100 per day, maybe enough for extra oats for her own stable full of Iberian horses.

Derek, who has been lobbying Congress for the past five years to ban the slaughter of wild horses, could hardly have found a more suitable role.

In addition to being a spokeswoman for the Animal Welfare Institute, in 2002 she penned the memoir Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses.

Bo Derek is the founder of her own line of fine pet-care products, Bless the Beasts.

Bo Derek has been active in many capacities for the protection of animals. In addition to her work on the Galapagos Conservancy, she serves on a number of boards, including WildAid, which is trying to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

Bo Derek was also appointed Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for Wildlife Trafficking.

She has taken up the cause of stopping the slaughter of horses in the United States for food export to Europe and testified before Congress with the National Horse Protection Coalition.

With her commitment to animal rights and here love of horses, Bo Derek is well chosen to serve as a watchdog for the much needed protection of horses at the race tracks.



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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Arnie Baby,

    Isn’t this the same as appointing a Fox to guard the Chicken coop?

    We may as well say goodbye to CA Horseracing!!! She’ll take away the speed, the whip, the jockeys over 90lbs, the natural tracks, the artificial tracks, bits, blinders…

    We may as well load the horses in the back of vans and let the vans race!

    Hi Buzz,
    What a terrific idea! No whips, bits, or blinders.
    I’m all for van racing! That just might catch on!


  2. Maybe she could also be appointed to help the BLM horses, someone might listen to a pretty movie star instead of wrinkled old horse folk.

    It is for sure more help is needed for those poor BLM horses! Very distressing!

  3. let me understand this correctly.

    BD is an animal activist….and this is good how?

    Hello Holly,
    Considering the alarming deaths at the racetracks, perhaps you could provide some ideas. Animal activist are usually known for helping to protect innocent creatures from the dreadful acts of mankind.

  4. well, the first thing I’d suggest would be to let the little ones grow up first. Stop riding at a year old.

    and I do agree that there are (and have been) and alarming number of deaths at racetracks.

    It is the animal activist that alarms me……….some of them are…ummmm….a wee bit extreme?

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Unfortunately, some animal activists do not always help the cause.

    But there are countless activists that have protected all forms of nature.

    So far, Bo Derek has done an excellent job in many capacities on behalf of animals. Let’s hope she helps establish sane rules for the race track business (and it is a business) that will protect the horses.

    Presently, it is all about money with no regard to the safety of the horses. They are discarded when the money isn’t there.

    And, yes, keep those poor babies off the race track and in the fields with their mothers!

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Look forward to seeing what she does. I see this as a positive change and she will push things forward in the right direction. People are so quick to believe that animal activism is all about parading around in blood, when really it is basic demand for humane treatment of animals. We can have humane horse racing—take away the drugs, maidens after 4 years of age, mandatory vet check, no more santioned starvation of jockeys, etc…..I think these are the things BD will work changing. It is nieve to think horse racing is done in California, but instead set a standard in California on how horse racing is supposed to be done.

    Hi Photogchic,
    Very well said !

  6. Someone is not an “animal (sic) rights” person if she continues to practice speciesism–which Bo Derek does. Speciesism, also known as human exceptionalism, is a belief, attitude, & practice that assigns different values or rights to sentient beings on the basis of their species membership.

    Bo Derek expresses concerns about the treatment of Thoroughbred race horses but does not object to their being used or instrumentalized in the first place in service of humans on the race-track. Furthermore, Ms. Derek likely practice sother forms of speciesism, including perhaps eating meat, wearing leather, & feeding other dead non-human animals to her so-called “pet” dogs (& cats if she has them). Speciesism is simply another instance of bigotry & essentially comparable to racism & sexism, particularly in its distortion of power relations & all discourse about the order of things (in the material world).

    Ms. Derek is no “animal (sic) rights” advocate.

    By the way: Humans, otherwise known as homo sapiens sapiens, are but one of many species constituting Kingdom Animalia. Humans share this designation with other animal species, including non-human primates & other non-human animals. Homo sapiens by virtue of its unrivaled predatory & reproductive mastery rules by sheer violence above all other animal species. Let us not mistake this raw will to power & violence with any system of what might be termed “morality.”

    The Thorougbred industry has nothing to fear in the wooden-headed person of Bo Derek.

    Hello Tashinima,
    You have expressed your opinions quite thoroughly.

    It would seem that only Ms. Derek can say what her personal beliefs and practices are. We do not know if she “assigns different values or rights to sentient beings on the basis of their species membership.” (your quote)

    We are left to only form personal opinions by her words and actions. Perhaps there are others that can do a better job. However, one good deed is better than none.

    The world hopes there will be many who will put forth the effort to protect both animal and human rights. Life in any form merits respect.

  7. Hi

    A UK voice here. We have synthetic tracks, similar to the one laid at Santa Anita (I was there for the fully awesome Breeders Cup in October!), and the death rates have reduced considerably since their introduction.

    I believe the same is expected in US.

    The key point about appointing a welfare enthusiast like Bo Derek, is that she is only one voice on a committee of seven. Thus, her input is valuable but not sufficient in itself to sway any vote.

    I think it’s a really positive step towards making racing – the sport we all love – safer and, importantly in my view, more socially accepted. [It’s only by listening to the objections that you have an opportunity to improve things].

    Cheers from London,

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for your comments about the racing world. You are so right about Bo Derek being only one voice with small chance to actually change anything. But perhaps it was more of a publicity device for getting attention to the horse racing problems that still remain.

    Cheers across the pond,

  8. I think it is awesome that Bo Derek is involved in this! She is a wonderful, caring woman and will have awesome input in this industry! I am a stable owner in Coconut Creek, Florida. We have a boarding facility and a lesson program. Due to the economic downturn we have found that horses are being abandoned and left to starve to death in their stalls! Because of this and the fact that there have been horses butchered lately in S. Florida so that their meat can be sold on the black market, we have just started a horse rescue facility. I support Bo Derek in all she does!!! Horses are wonderful creatures that deserve more…

  9. Bo Derek is a great voice for sensible change if it was necessary. She always has a fair approach that balances horsemanship and sport in a balanced and favourable (to the horses 🙂 manner. I think it helps that she practices good horsemanship herself and she has had many years learning about horse sport in general.

    She has always sought to be educated and informed. It is good to have someone like that on this board.

    I am a western Canadian (B.C.), but I think California is lucky to have a celebrity spokes person who is kind enough to take an active interest in protecting equine interests. We would be lucky to have her involved in any of our sports.

    Not many celebrities are as down to earth and sincere as she is. I say, you are lucky.


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