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US House members hear pro-government regulation, anti-medication testimony

MATT HEGARTY writing for the Daily Racing Form reports:

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Members of the racing industry who support the passage of federal legislation to regulate the sport and ban the raceday use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide made their cases on Monday in front of a House subcommittee hearing held at a school in Pennsylvania.

With frequent invocations of alleged drug abuse in racing, the panelists, which included a Hall of Fame jockey, several trainers, three owner-breeders, and two veterinarians, appeared before the subcommittee in an effort to push for a bill that would hand authority over the sport to the federal government. Three members of the 27-member Subcommittee on Health attended the hearing, along with two other House representatives from Pennsylvania. All five representatives are Republicans.

The hearing lasted 2 ½ hours, during which all but one of the panelists, the trainer Ken McPeek, said that the alleged use of drugs was both widespread and crippling the sport. All eight panelists said that they supported the federal legislation, which has been introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, and Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, though McPeek said that he supported the bill as a way to simplify the array of regulations that are applied to trainers in the 38 different racing jurisdictions in the U.S.

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Image: Not filed with original source.

1 thought on “US House members hear pro-government regulation, anti-medication testimony”

  1. Maybe a discussion about Lasix will start an honest and meaningful conversation about the entire picture of routine abuse leading to slaughter to take care of our “disposable” horses. This discussion is not nearly adequate to change this dynamic.

    I am glad to see Gary Stevens speak since he can command attention from people who know his name from racing. He has been respected a long time. Education about this topic is important. It

    The one conclusion that seems obvious is that when any business refuses to regard humans as worthy of respect, it will do the same to animals. Neither can fight back and win until the entire truth is told to as many people as possible.

    The irony about this welcome discussion is that even as we try to find a way to stop this abuse with medication, our horses are being shipped off to slaughter plants. The continuum of breeding, abusing or using and then “disposing” of our equine athletes when we can’t get more use out of them would indicate that we need more attention paid to the entire situation.

    There is no national single horse agency or organization which can be turned to for questions about basic standards of care, resources, legal precedents, interventions, safety, education, medical care, you name it. Each individual breed and specialty has its own separate venue. They do not cooperate with each other. Horses end up being lost in this mix.

    We need a sort of “secretary of state” who can bring together responsible and educated horse people for a binding discussion about the entire situation we have inherited with our domestic horses. Enforcement cant be left up to individuals and agencies who simply refuse to be responsible. The records on this lack of performance are obvious.

    If racing cant even find a way to enforce its own rules, what are the chances for an anonymous grade horse or registered Quarter Horse formerly used for local shows? They can be even more easily abused and killed. We never hear about that.

    The way we regard and treat Thorobreds from birth to death is true for any horse. The culture does not value horses nor the people who care for them. There is no education about this topic to those who are not already familiar with horses. The general public knows little or nothing about this. As long as the situation with horses and other equines goes on unexposed, laws to protect them will be very hard to get passed.

    If we can’t manage to stop horse transport/slaughter (question of life and death), how do we ever enforce humane treatment anywhere? We dont even value our healthy horses enough to keep them from going to kill plants.

    I hope that somehow a larger audience of Americans can get educated about the situation for horses in this country. I am not even sure many Americans would understand why this issue matters when daily events include questions about job security, survival without access to health care, food insecurity, homelessness, etc.

    The story of the horse needs to be told in its entirety so their lives can be saved. Maybe this discussion can lead to change.

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