For the first time in the 67-year history of the event, the Jockey Club's Annual Round Table Conference featured a speaker from an animal protection organization. Valerie Pringle, equine protection campaign manager for the Humane Society of the United States, told attendees about the HSUS's priority campaigns to protect horses and other equines at the event held at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday, August 11th.
The HSUS has been a leading member of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity and supporter of the federal Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754/S 1820), introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY), who represents the district in which the Saratoga Racetrack is located, and Andy Barr (R-KY), and in the Senate by Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The HSUS supports the Horseracing Integrity Act because it includes a ban on race day medication and would create uniform, universal medication rules while increasing out-of-competition testing. These components will improve the safety and welfare of racehorses, and Pringle expressed the HSUS's public appreciation for the trainers who have signed onto a letter in support of the bill – including Nick Zito, Todd Pletcher and Graham Motion. HSUS calls on other trainers and horsemen's organizations that have not yet endorsed the bill to get on board as well.
Pringle also described the HSUS's role in the campaign to pass federal legislation to ban the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. She acknowledged the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for its recent endorsement of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, (H.R. 961/S 2006).
“I was delighted to be asked to speak on behalf of the HSUS at the Round Table. It is an indication that progressive leaders of the horseracing community understand the importance of animal welfare to the reform of their industry,” said Pringle, “The HSUS joins The Jockey Club in recognizing the need for medication reform to help protect racing's equine and human athletes, which is why we strongly support the federal Horseracing Integrity Act.”
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