House Cmte to consider thoroughbred racing reform legislation

Laughing hyena. Photographer unknown.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) — The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has officially scheduled a markup hearing for H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., for Wednesday.

The markup, which gives committee members the opportunity to present changes or amendments before it is sent to the full House for consideration, comes on the heels of an announcement last week from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he will introduce compromise legislation.

McConnell’s bill, expected to be introduced this week, and named the Horseracing Safety and Integrity (HISA) Act, would replicate many of the key provisions within H.R. 1754, including a ban on race-day doping, the establishment of a uniform national standard for rules and regulations for thoroughbred horseracing in the U.S. that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The doping of American racehorses has been a controversial issue over the past five years with horses dying on racetracks annually, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March 2020.

The legislative effort is now supported by all three Triple Crown racetracks, as Churchill Downs has endorsed the effort for the first time. The effort continues to enjoy the support of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI), which includes the Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup, Keeneland Racecourse, the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and animal welfare groups like Animal Wellness Action.

The fractured nature of anti-doping and track safety efforts across the U.S.’s 38 racing jurisdictions has undermined the public’s confidence in horseracing, threatened the integrity of competition, and endangered the human and equine athletes.

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We say

Let us be perfectly clear about this. Horse racing is running for cover. They are scared witless. They see that the days of horse racing are numbered. In the meantime, they will try to sustain their doomed run as long as they possibly can, with desperate pieces of legislation like this one. Sorry but it is much, much too late.

Churchill Downs Incorporated is the only racing jurisdiction who saw the handwriting on the wall years ago and began diversifying. Their aim, or so it appears to us, is to become a huge gambling conglomerate which includes little to no live horse racing with the possible exception of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill appears to care very little about the other two races that comprise the Triple Crown. That Crown has been tarnished by super doper and cheater Bob Baffert and those of similar ilk.

In the meantime statements are being made that with this new Mitch McConnell led bill the end of racehorse doping is in sight. One feels like bursting out with hyena like howls of hysterical laughter. If you read or hear anyone making that statement, consider them a damn fool.

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New York lawmakers move bills forward to protect off the track Thoroughbreds

Closeup of Thoroughbred racehorse's hooves galloping on a direct track. Photographer unknown.


State lawmakers in the two legislative houses in New York State have passed dueling bills pertaining to how retired racehorses are treated when they are done racing.

In the Democratic-controlled state Senate, a bill was approved July 21 banning the slaughter of retired racehorses.

In the Democratic-controlled Assembly a day earlier, lawmakers OK’d a measure to create a mechanism to track the whereabouts of New York-bred racehorses after they have stopped racing.

Which bill, if either, gets final approval will be made clear sometime later this week when the New York State Senate and Assembly wrap up another phase of its 2020 session in Albany.

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Horses to benefit from Agriculture spending bill

Interior of the Capitol Hill dome, Washington D.C.

Congress has begun its annual process of funding federal departments, agencies and programs, and last night two House subcommittees voted to include several crucial provisions benefiting animals in their FY2021 appropriations bills.

Two issues in particular are noteworthy. They are:

HORSE SORING. The Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee bill increases funding to enforce the Horse Protection Act from the current $1 million in FY2020 to $2 million in FY2021. 

WE SAY: Not sure how throwing another million dollars at the horse soring issue is going to produce anything good for the horses tortured and abused. The Horse Protection Act (HPA) has been in effect since Horse Protection Act of 1970 yet horrific abuses still go on publicly and behind the scenes of this obnoxious so called “sport”. It needs to be banned outright.

We are working on that. We will continue to keep you posted.

HORSE SLAUGHTER. Prevents government spending on horse slaughter inspections. This language in the measure would effectively prevent horse slaughter in the United States for human consumption. Such “defund” language has been enacted nearly every year since 2005. Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., led a letter signed by 113 Representatives seeking this provision.

WE SAY: This continues to prevent horse slaughter for human consumption being conducted on U.S. soil, and we are exceedingly grateful for another year to try to close U.S. borders to the export of horses for the purpose of slaughter.

Thank you everyone who have worked, and are working still, so hard on these issues.

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How a bill becomes law

Interior of the Capitol Hill dome, Washington D.C.

Who remembers Government class or Civics? Or do they even teach them any more?

It seems a large percentage of American citizens do not know how a bill becomes law. When we started, some of us at the Fund for Horses did, but most of us had very little clue.

We were in good shape though from the beginning because the founder of the Fund for Horses worked for 20 years in the legal profession. A lawyer she worked for was the author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and she was active from the time the bill was drafted and introduced until it became law. It was great experience for her future work in horse protection which she had no idea she would be involved with at the time.

As constituent lobbyists working for (or against) laws that impact the health and safety of horses, the more knowledgeable you are, the better an advocate you will be. Now, this does not mean you need to become an expert by any means, but it will be helpful if you have a general idea.

Action Station

If you are working on the anti slaughter and anti soring bills, please check out the following resources which we feel certain will help you a great deal. There are also loads of helpful links. Here are handy resources from our Take Action page:

• Pending Legislation (

• Calling Congress (

• How a Bill Becomes Law (


POPVOX is an online constituency tool for tracking bills and contacting your Representative and Senators guaranteeing your voice will be heard and counted. We have been with them since they launched in 2010.

Visit our Stakeholder’s page at You will find all horse legislation pending right now before Congress (there’s more than just the anti slaughter and anti soring bills), whether we endorse the bills or oppose the bills and why including detailed talking points.

Create a POPVOX account with an email and password. Weigh in on any and all legislation you want — not just those having to do with horses — and POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your legislators, guaranteed. Oh, did we mention when you sign up POPVOX identifies your legislators for you and stores it right there on your account, so you never need to look them up again! Even if they get booted out and someone else gets elected in their place.

No. We are not getting paid to promote them. We just love them. They make everything so easy. And that’s the truth.

Thank you so much for helping our horses by taking action right away.

Oh. Remember it’s the Senate version of the horse soring bill only, but both House and Senate on the horse slaughter bill. Learn more here or at POPVOX.


Forgot. You can also find and contact your U.S. Representative at and your two U.S. Senators at

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