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Bill aims to protect race horses with national regulations

A group of horse racing experts is using a bill crafted to better protect horses to add stricter regulations to current doping rules. (WKYT file)
A group of horse racing experts is using a bill crafted to better protect horses to add stricter regulations to current doping rules. (WKYT file)(WKYT)
Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 3:44 PM EST
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A group of horse racing experts is using a bill crafted to better protect horses to add stricter regulations to current doping rules.

As of now, states make their own regulations on when and how pain medication can be administered to horses. Some lawmakers say that's a weak spot and needs to be corrected.

While horse racing has slowed down amid winter, the topic is speeding up in Washington.

A bipartisan bill brought to the table by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and other colleagues hopes to crack down on doping within horse racing.

"Simply masking pain for injury for benefit for human exploitation and capital gain has created an equine welfare crisis within the racing community and public domain alike," said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action.

The group calls for a new private organization focused on ending the abuse of pain masking drugs, banning the use of all medications on race day and administering drug tests.

Their goal is to end the greed and enable horses to naturally heal without being forced into their next race.

"We need safety and integrity if we are going to continue to see this industry prosper going forward," Rep. Barr said.

The new organization would be called the Horse Racing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.

Along with their goals, they say the industry has too many gaps and it's time for Washington regulation to step in.

"Imagine if all 32 football stadiums in the US had their own set of rules, with variations from stadium to stadium, and that's the scenario that horse racing currently operates in," Irby said.

The bill is scheduled to be read in the House, where all 225 co-sponsors expect it to pass. It will then move to the Senate.

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