Breaking News from the Daily Racing Form
The California Horse Racing Board voted on Thursday to restrict the use of the bronchodilator clenbuterol in the state this summer, extending the suggested withdrawal time from four days to 21.
The new guideline will take effect with the start of the Del Mar meeting, on July 18.
Currently, clenbuterol is allowed to appear in post-race tests at trace levels – five nanograms of urine or 25 picograms of blood. Those limits will be lowered by July 18, although the new levels have yet to be determined, according to professor Scott Stanley of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He said the university is conducting a study led by assistant professor Heather Knych that intends to determine the new levels in June or July.
The seven-person racing board voted unanimously for the restricted use of clenbuterol.
Do not confuse clenbuterol (a bronchodilator that increases lung capacity and has steroid properties as well), with phenylbutazone (a painkiller commonly called bute).
While restricting use of clenbuterol in racehorses may sound like good news at first, the US horse racing industry clearly knows that thousands of its Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter for human consumption every year. So in good conscience US horse racing should not be allowing the use of clenbuterol at all.
The US and the European Union prohibit the use of clenbuterol in food-producing animals. In light of this, US horse racing is not only sending innocent Thoroughbreds to slaughter but also potentially poisoning Europeans who eat the meat from these horses.
In 2009, China Daily reported:
Clenbuterol, dubbed “shouroujing”, can prevent pigs from accumulating fat, but is harmful to humans and can be fatal. Clenbuterol residue often accumulates in organs such as the liver and lungs. One of the largest food poisoning cases involving clenbuterol happened in Shanghai in September 2006 when 336 people were hospitalized after eating pig meat or organs contaminated with the additive.
A person would be right in wondering how many people have been poisoned or developed fatal illnesses from eating horse meat that have gone undetected or unreported.
In the meantime the US government, fully aware of the toxic horse meat issue, refuses to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. So the Int’l Fund for Horses continually lobbies the European Union to bar the import of horse meat from the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia, and do the job the US will not.