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Report on Horse Racing and Its Widespread Abuse of Animals

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 5:00pm
Race horses

Although it’s Triple Crown season, the horse racing industry has little to celebrate. A grim cloud of animal cruelty and cheating continues to hang over the sport.

The New York Times recently published the latest article in its series about the widespread, dangerous practice of racehorses being drugged—the drugs enable horses to run through pain and gain a competitive edge. The Times piece revealed that Steve Asmussen (the second-most-winning trainer in thoroughbred racing, with career earnings over $214 million) and some of his associates stand accused of animal abuse after an undercover video proved that many of the horses in Asmussen’s care were subjected to cruel and illegal training methods, including doping and electric shocks.

The video provides irrefutable evidence of what we’ve known for decades: In the race to compete, horse welfare finishes dead last. In 2012, a New York Times exposé revealed that 24 thoroughbreds die at American racetracks every week. The Jockey Club found that thoroughbred racehorses in the U.S. are dying at twice the rate of racers competing in other countries—not surprising given that the U.S., unlike most other countries, has no uniform medication rules for horse racing.

It is time to clean up the U.S. horse racing industry by passing the federal Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act (HISA), H.R. 2012/S. 973. Introduced by Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in the House, and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) in the Senate, this bill will ban performance-enhancing drugs in U.S. horse racing and designate the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as the governing body to create and oversee the implementation of uniform medication rules to protect horse welfare. The Jockey Club recently acknowledged the importance of this bill and agreed that the USADA “has the experience, the knowledge and the credibility to bring much-needed integrity to our sport.”

You can help move this life-saving legislation over the finish line. Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to support the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act, H.R. 2012/S. 973.

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Koryn Nocchi

This is just unacceptable...

Tessa

I will NEVER EVER go to a horse race and will tell everyone I know not to attend these races - they and dog racing need to be shut down.

lisa

same here Tessa-- God bless you.
They shld practice on their owners the same crap they do to the horses!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

not shut down just fixed

carol

Horse and dog racing can be a fun sport but only if the humans managing, training and breeding are held to high moral standards. It should be a no-brainer but money tends to cloud integrity. Animals love to compete just like humans do. We just have to put in place the rules to govern these events to make sure everyone enjoys the race.

Delores Tyre

That is not going to happen as long as the stakes are as high as they are on horse and dog racing. Be prepared to give up racing until STRICT, ENFORCED laws are passed to protect these animals from doping and other abuse. For many years I have watched the triple crown races on TV. I will not do that again ever. I will not watch a live race, either.

Edith

Unless you hold a degree in animal physiology I fail to see how you can think for them. And the people who attend animal racing in any form are just as much to blame as the owners trainers jockeys. Like to put a saddle on these idiots and see them run the course. Pity they had nothing better to do with their time. Try some community work.

Felicia

Carol, I agree with you. One thing that could make horse racing much safer is to keep horses off the track until they are at least four years old. That will lower profits so would keep the more greedy people out of the business, lower injuries to the horses and riders, enable these horses to live longer, more healthy lives after their racing careers are over. Strict enforcement of drug policies would be good, too, and immediate, permanent expulsion of anyone caught doping or shocking or otherwise hurting a horse would slow down the cruelty. Dog racing would benefit from rules like this, too.

Lorelei

I will never understand how anyone can see a helpless animal suffer and not do something to help it. It is even more inconceivable that anyone would purposely inflict pain on an innocent animal...that is just purely evil.

Mary

The United States are so willing to go and help other countries try
to clean up whatever is necessary, but they need to take a look at their own country and clean it up first. Animals like people should come first. They ones that abuse the rules should be punished first and foremost. Not just a slap on the wrist. I cannot abide animal abuse.

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