An effort to mandate the tracking of retired racehorses in New York has now picked up support in both houses of the state Legislature.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who represents Aqueduct Racetrack, recently introduced a measure to create a seven-member Commission on Retired Racehorses to monitor the whereabouts and treatment of retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. The new Senate bill by Addabbo, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, is the same as one introduced in the Assembly earlier this year by Gary Pretlow, a Westchester County Democrat who chairs that chamber’s racing committee.
“Horses have played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States,” a bill memo accompanying the legislation states, noting that racehorses in New York have generated billions of dollars in economic activity in the state.
“Despite what they may have contributed, many horses at a young age (that) are no longer profitable or affordable for the owner, wind up in international slaughterhouses to be inhumanely slaughtered for consumption abroad where horse meat is a major delicacy,” the bill memo adds.
The bill puts reporting requirements on horse owners, requiring reports to be filed with the state within 72 hours of any ownership change of a retired racehorse, along with contact information about owners and other recordkeeping rules. The death of a former racehorse must also be reported to a state registry within 72 hours. Each violation of the measure’s provisions can be assessed a fine up to $500–if violators are a resident of New York State.
Using Jockey Club data, the NYSGC spent nearly two years compiling the whereabouts of every New York-bred Thoroughbred that raced between 2010 and 2012. Of 3,894 horses that raced in that period, the commission was able to locate 1,871 horses. Of those, 356 were deceased, three sold at auction and 1,512 were retired in some form, such as 604 retired as broodmares or 155 adopted.
A broad-based group of Thoroughbred industry stakeholders announced today the establishment of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA)—an organization designed to serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities.
Funded initially by seed money from Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is comprised of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals and other industry groups.
“It is our responsibility as owners, tracks, breeders, trainers, jockeys, bloodstock agents, and anyone who has a stake in the game to take responsibility for the aftercare of these great animals who are the keystone of our sport,” said TAA board President and Thoroughbred owner Jack Wolf. “Securing support and funding from Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club, Keeneland and so many other great organizations speaks to the credibility and importance of our effort and is so greatly appreciated.”
Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report posted this today:
Yesterday we broke the news of Kelsey Lefever, a 24-year-old woman who has allegedly been misrepresenting her intentions of finding a new home for retired racehorses in Pennsylvania and taking them to kill-buyers instead.
Earlier today, we reported Great Scott Farm fired Lefever from a position as a riding instructor and by all accounts was caught unaware of the charges against her until our report. There will certainly be more to come on this story, but we applaud the quick and decisive action taken by the owners of Great Scott Farm.
But all of this does raise the obvious question, what can we do to keep this sort of thing from happening in the future? We asked our audience yesterday both on Facebook and Twitter if they had any suggestions on how to prevent this type of alleged incident from happening.
If you are on Twitter and/or Facebook, please weigh in with your ideas. If you are on neither, you can go here and comment on Mr. Paulick’s original post with proposed solutions, and read what others are saying. He has included feedback from social networks there too.
Thank you Ray Paulick.
I am wondering if letters, such NK for “no kill” could be added to a Thoroughbred’s lip tattoo? Or would buyers for the slaughterhouses just ignore it, like they do everything else that is put into place. Since horse slaughter is such predatory business, what can be done to ensure your horse never ends up in the hands of a killer buyer?
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission has approved a rule that would designate about $100,000 a year out of a breeder’s incentive fund to help care for retired racehorses.
The proposal would use money from the Oklahoma Breeding Development Fund Special Account to help pay for the retraining and care of Oklahoma-bred thoroughbred racehorses. The Oklahoma Legislature still needs to approve the plan.
Retired and unwanted racehorses have become a serious problem in Oklahoma and other states, according to Oklahoma horse racing officials.
“We can’t save all the horses in the world, but we want to do our part to take care of the ones that are Oklahoma bred,” commission member John Smicklas told The Oklahoman.
The reports also mentions:
The number of unwanted horses has increased dramatically since the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States were closed down in 2007, Smicklas said.
While we heartily applaud the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission for their racehorse retirement program, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the number of “unwanted horses” has not increased dramatically for the reason that horses are no longer slaughtered in U.S. plants. As a matter of fact, more U.S. horses are being slaughtered across the border in Canada and Mexico than when plants were in operation here. The reason is there are more horses bred than there are homes for them to go to, and the collapse of the American economy.