Thank You, Ed Whitfield

For those who don’t know, a connection to Kentucky Rep Ed Whitfield is the reason that CANTER’s director was invited to speak before Congress several years back about issues related to Thoroughbred racing.  Since racing exists because of Congress, and the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (which allows simulcasting/interstate gambling, and thus racing, to exist), issues regarding drugs, and racing safety, are indeed under the jurisdiction of Congress.

I just saw news via the Paulick Report that Representative Whitfield (and co-sponsor Tom Udall) have introduced legislation to significantly curtail the use of drugs in horse racing, called the “Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act of 2011.”

Since one of the biggest problems we’ve run into doing what we do is the after-effects of performance enhancing, and misused “therapeutic” drugs, I’m impressed that there is now a serious effort to improve the problem.  I’m sad for the racing industry that they couldn’t do it from the inside, with a national governing body with teeth, and standardized rules across racing jurisdictions, but if it takes an act of Congress, I guess that’s what it takes.

I NEVER again want any of us at CANTER to have to make the decision to euthanize a horse because his joints have been injected too many times, so that he can’t live a normal and comfortable life.  I NEVER want any of us to have to hold the lead rope of a young and vital animal who could have had a great future, had he not been given that last shot of cortisone and raced just one more time

I’m not sure what will happen with this legislation, but I hope in the end it works towards improving the welfare of racehorses in this country. 

(BTW, these are my personal feelings, not an official statement on the part of CANTER, though I suspect there will be one on our main website shortly.)

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One response to “Thank You, Ed Whitfield

  1. Hoping that this is positive news for racehorses. I share your concern and grief over decades of drug abuse and disguised lethal injections perpetuated on our horses in the racing industry. It is unfortunate that the industry could not regulate itself. However, when high finances are at stake and corruption runs amuck it is very difficult to identify and punish these perfected hidden practices. In the 1980’s ,high profile cases such as notorious N. J. /Pa. track vet Lenny Patrick have brought this reprehensible abuse to the media and the public eye.. It is very sad that it has taken multiple equine deaths and decades of injecting horses (many who died “mysteriously” after the injection as in the aforementioned case) before legislation to curtail such despicable behavior could be introduced. Still….better late than never.

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