NTRA re horse slaughter, is anybody at home?

NTRA: IS ANYONE HOME?

Dr. Patricia Hogan, an accomplished veterinary surgeon who operates Hogan Equine in New Jersey and oversees the Ruffian Equine Medical Center adjacent to Belmont Park, understands that public perception is reality when it comes to equine welfare issues. When the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners came out in support of horse slaughter, Hogan said the organizations were out of touch with the general public’s views on animal welfare. Her criticism of those two groups has fallen on deaf ears.

Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Reuters Photo Feb 2008.

Recently, Dr. Hogan turned her attention to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, an organization that invested a great deal of time and money on the much-ballyhooed Safety and Integrity Alliance created in the wake of the tragic death of Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. The Alliance has a Code of Standards that, among other things, encourages tracks to provide for the aftercare of retired racehorses, but takes no position on horse slaughter. In fact, the last time anti-slaughter legislation went before Congress, commissioner and CEO Alex Waldrop wrote that the NTRA neither opposed nor supported the bill.

In a letter sent by Federal Express to Waldrop on Jan. 16, Hogan urged him to reconsider the NTRA’s neutrality on anti-slaughter legislation and not rely on the AVMA and AAEP leadership position as the NTRA’s compass on the issue. “I sincerely hope you will consider my request,” Hogan wrote. “I only represent what so many people want to see happen in this sport–both the industry participant and the casual racing fan–we all want to see Thoroughbred racing survive and we cannot lose if we truly look to preserve the principles of integrity, decency, and those of equine welfare.”

More than three weeks have passed, and Hogan has yet to hear anything from Waldrop or his staff, even after she followed up with a phone message to the NTRA chief.

The lack of response begs the question: Is anyone home at the NTRA?

To read the complete text of Hogan’s letter, please visit The Paulick Report here.

Interesting comments too. Our favorite is, where is “has been” Tommy Thompson? Has he completely left the building?

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