Beck: Is AAEP Protecting Horses … Or Its Own Interests?

by | 06.09.2017 | 8:35am
Antony Beck, president of Gainesway Farm

Various members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, the group of industry organizations promoting passage of federal legislation that would bring uniform standards to our sport under the direction of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, have spent a good deal of time with representatives of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) over the course of the past year, listening to their concerns and sharing insights about the revised legislation.

So it was disappointing to see, on June 6, the AAEP Racing Committee stating its opposition to the legislation.

The new bill includes a ban on the race-day medication furosemide (Lasix), and the AAEP's current policy on race-day medication administration endorses the use of furosemide to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in the racehorse.

The AAEP Racing Committee's recommendation, adopted by the general association, seems to be based upon a preference to maintain a system that tolerates a hundred practices harmful to horses just so it can allow one race-day drug that might benefit one horse in 10.

Why haven't the British and Australian equine veterinary associations taken a similar stance on race-day furosemide if the drug is so important for equine health?

Are they less informed or do they care less about horses than the AAEP?

If this bill fails to be enacted, all we have left, as an industry, is the hope and prayer that 38 separate, highly politicized racing commissions will act uniformly to create and maintain a high standard for medication regulation in horse racing.

We all know that is a fairy tale.

My disappointment in the short-sighted AAEP position is compounded by what I perceive to be an inappropriate current system of providing veterinary care to horses.

Equine veterinarians enjoy a unique role in the medical world: in the course of treating horses, they are able to diagnose, prescribe, and sell drugs. That is a big and lucrative business. (For the record, there were approximately 43,000 races and horses made about 323,000 starts in North America in 2016.)

By opposing H.R. 2651, the AAEP has, in essence, voiced its approval for our patchwork of good rules and bad rules, high-standard testing and lowest bid testing, and even-handed prosecution and sloppy or even malicious prosecutions.

Interestingly, there is a provision in Section IV of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics which reads, in part: “A veterinarian shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes to laws and regulations which are contrary to the best interests of the patient and public health.”

I would argue that holding up reform of an entire unhealthy system over the use of one drug that may help only about 10% of the population in fact violates this tenet.

And who will benefit the most from maintaining the status quo?

Very simply, those who will continue to profit from it.

When I joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance, I made my feelings clear, and I feel the need to reiterate some of them now.

As a Thoroughbred breeder and owner, and president of a commercial breeding farm, I assume personal responsibility for the welfare of the horses in my charge. I willingly shoulder the obligations that horse ownership demands.

We must personally ensure that horses regain their position as the heart of this industry, and a large part of that endeavor is the elimination of the seemingly limitless medications and the return to a pursuit based on respect for the horse.

It is regrettable that a formal mandate may be required to achieve this goal, but we need to ensure that we have a level playing field like all other sports — with no medication on race day.

If the industry as a whole does not make these changes, it's not the horses that have failed us — it is we who have failed the horses, and we will all pay the price.

The primary mission of the AAEP is to improve the health and welfare of the horse. By opposing this legislation, the AAEP is acting like a special interest group.

And the interest they are protecting is their own.

Antony Beck is the president of Gainesway Farm and a supporting member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA).

  • Peter Scarnati

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Beck’s position which he has so eloquently stated. Does anyone really believe that vets would cut off their seemingly endless supply of revenue from giving virtually every runner who performs in a race in the US their shot of Lasix?
    I find it interesting that Mr. Beck pointed out the provision in Section IV of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics which reads, in part: “A veterinarian shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes to laws and regulations which are contrary to the best interests of the patient and public health.”
    Unfortunately, like most everything else in today’s society, Mr. Beck must realize these are nothing more than words and hold little, if any, true meaning to practicing racetrack vets.
    After all, there are 535 professional lawmakers in Washington, DC (not to mention countless other local politicians) who all take an oath to defend and uphold the US Constitution. How is that working out?

    • Ben van den Brink

      This is standing on the NAARV website under members in a vet journal.

      The panel found that there is high quality evidence
      that furosemide administration is associated with
      improved performance by Thoroughbred and Standardbred
      racehorses.

      Almost all the horses are getting the stuff, as without it, you have 1 sec disadvantage.

      • ben

        My biggest point however is: no one has ever done a necropsy on a horse (studiyng the kidney and the liver, heart) after prolonged use of the stuff. The stuff might be very detoriating for the horse. So the end effects using this type of medications can be more damaging to a horse than the prevention of supposed bleeding.

        EIPH is not effecting more than 1,5% from the racehorse population, whilst 99,5% are receiving the stuff.

        Het middel is erger dan de kwaal.

    • Old Timer

      Man I’m old but can still see that private vets for the most part are not giving Lasix anymore! It’s done by the state or third party groups to comply with the new NUMP standards the ARCI put out. So the whole topic of “cut off their seemingly endless supply of revenue” has and is happening!

      I swear most of the commenters on here truly have no idea where the game is at right now in terms of medication, naturally occurring/contaminate substances, and actual nefarious drugs given to a horse and how those are all treated different in the current set of rules the vast majority of racing jurisdictions now follow.

      • Peter Scarnati

        Third party administration of Lasix occurs in 18 of 32 states. Barely more than one-half. That still leaves a large chuck of money for vets to earn nationwide.
        And what of the thousands of shots givien to horses prior to training/working? Do you believe horsemen will still train on Lasix to the extent they do now if they can no longer run on the stuff?
        As always, it’s a simple matter of following the money.

        • Old Timer

          “Barely more than one-half.” Exactly..For the “most part” i.e. greater than 50% and continues to trend more and more towards third party. Getting vets out of the stalls and doing what’s in the best interest of the horse. The AAEP supports third party administration from what I’ve seen, so obviously not in their best interest, money wise, for the private practitioners on the tracks.

          If you’re looking beyond just racing, and including training, then yes private vets still administer and they will continue to do that, just like they do in all other jurisdictions across the globe. There’s no ban on using Lasix during training in any other country from what I know.

          It all comes down to the efficacy of the drug, and it works. Since it works lets keep allowing horses to run without having blood in their lungs. Sorry I don’t like seeing blood running out of horses noses when it can be prevented with a efficacious drug. You find a different one that still works to prevent EIPH, I’m open to hearing about it too!

          • Dr L

            Amen and well-said, Old Timer.

        • Karen Ferris

          Bad statistics, since some states have lots of racing all year and some have limited racing some of the year. I’d look at the total number of races, and compare 3p lasix with non 3p lasix that way.

  • Bravo + standing ovation

  • johnnyknj

    I’m all for no raceday meds and disagree with the AAEP position, but I have to point out that private track vets are not (or won’t be soon) giving raceday Lasix in most major jurisdictions. It is far from being their major drug revenue source in any event.

    • ben

      With the lasix there are other medications prescribed. So it is plus and plus.

      • Dr L

        No, there are no other medications allowed on race day except Lasix.

  • Hamish

    Wonder if the racetrack vets as a whole are making more money off of Lasix or from subscribing and selling today’s permitted list of therapeutic meds? How about the compounded “stuff” and the chemistry major manufacturers selling products under the guise of vitamins and supplements? Probably some good money in that too. It is easy to agree with Mr. Beck’s analysis and conclusions relative to both our responsibility to the horse and the money motivated AAEP.

  • Thomasmac

    Mr. Beck please state the hundreds of harmful practices that go on without the passage of this bill. With the use of third party veterinarians for lasix administration the every day practitioner does NOT get paid for lasix shots. The state hires them and some have a hard time with that task. On one track where I race 3 well qualified vets gave up practicing on the backside. One went to work for the state and two sited the political atmosphere of veterinary work on the track as the reason. This is not benifitting our horses. Your opinion that lasix only helps 1 out of 10 horses is just that , opinion. I don’t care what they do in other countries. Chasing trainers and vets around for pharmacologically inactive nanograms of therapeutic medication is asinine and again to the detriment of the race horse. While you may think your stand is for the horse I believe using medications in the year 2017 to treat patients is ethically and morally responsible. The vets and trainers work hard for the good of the horse.

    • “Mr. Beck please state the hundreds of harmful practices that go on without the passage of this bill.” Mr. Beck is not required to do that because these nefarious practices have been neatly catalogued online. Just google it pal.

    • SteveTG

      Every time there is a fork in the road as it pertains to horse care & one fork goes in the direction of expediency and/or financial gain rather than the fork that takes the ethical path, then that’s one problem. 100 problems? Mr. Beck is being very generous.

    • One_Jackal

      Horses deserve the best medical care we can provide them. To provide that high level of care there is going to be trace levels of approved medications in the horses system. Horses suffer injuries and disease just like we do.
      Another reason I cannot support H.R. 2651 is allowing congress to regulate horse racing is opening Pandora’s Box.

    • Lehane

      “The vets and trainers work hard for the good of the horse”…..if only!
      You ought to care about what other countries do e.g. Australia and Britain because they have a much higher standard of veterinary care for their horses. Isn’t that what you would want for your racehorses in the USA?

    • L.L. Kauffman

      You say ” I don’t care what they do in other countries.” Why not? That is a huge body of evidence that refutes the need for Lasix in most horses. The horses I have raced did not need Lasix. It sure would be nice to have a level playing field.

      • Mindy

        maybe yours don’t, but what of those who do? what happens to them? there aren’t enough homes/jobs for the horses unable to race anymore now, you wanna dump thousands more out there?

        and what would you have done if one of your horses had bled? Lasix next time? long layoff, hope they’ve healed, and race again? retirement? did you have a plan?

        • L.L. Kauffman

          Of course I had a ” plan”. And yes, I still have the hanfdul I have bred (retired at the farm), so no need to preach to the choir here. I do think Lasix is seriously over-used to gain an advantage (40 pounds less of water weight), that it harms more horses than it helps, and that the overwhelming number of Lasix shots are medically unwarranted.

          • Mindy

            you don’t think that prevention is ‘medically warranted’? I think it’s cruel to wait for a horse to bleed (surely a painful & terrifying experience, not to mention the physical damage done), before helping them to avoid it, and since we have this medicine that can do that, why not use it preventatively? (I am also a super-advocate for nasal strips, but that’s only an aid to breathing, not really a solution for EIPH); I think the problem of calcium, and thus, bone density loss, could be solved, if Lasix was used better, and horses were not asked to come back and run so often while using it, they have to be given time to recover, and given replacement fluids & minerals, I think we’d see fewer bad consequences of it….Lasix is a tool, and like any tool, it’s the human behind it, who determines whether it is used for good, or for ill

          • L.L. Kauffman

            It is not considered medically appropriate to administer Lasix on a purportedly “preventative” basis to horses who have never bled, which is the majority of usage in racing. The exception does not justify the overall misuse of the drug, which is “perfornance enhancing.” Just curious have you ever raced or bred any Thoroughbreds?

          • Mindy

            I wonder what the horses would find “medically appropriate,” if they could choose whether or not to be given something to dramatically lower the risk of their bleeding from the only way they have of breathing? how is merely being a few dozen pounds lighter really *that* “performance enhancing”? especially when weighed against the effects of dehydration? if being lighter is so much better, why aren’t all tiny horses champs? how did Zenyatta win so much? she was nearly always heavier than her (female) competition…perhaps the “performance enhancement” is that they’re not bleeding through their only source of air, and, especially if they’d bled before, once they run on the Lasix a couple of times, and realize that’s not happening anymore, they’re able to try harder, without fear making them naturally hold back, so as not to bleed again

          • ben

            Did you ever raced a horse by your own,to me it seems that you did not.

          • Kathryn Papp

            By dehydrating the horses blood volume of the liquid portion it thus increases the percentage of Red Blood Cells and oxygenation to tissues. Lasix to an extent is a form of blood doping, hence it is classified as such in human sports

    • ben

      No they work for their own money.

  • The AAEP as usual is simply thinking of today and not tomorrow. Just like most racetrack owners. So what is the answer to eliminating PEDs and meds? Although it is against my own political views (I am a liberal), I think that a two-tiered system for racing may be the only way to go. The elite athletes capable of racing in the top races including international competition would have their own circuit or races, while the rest would compete much as they do today. This would do very little to improve the image of racing, but would allow those owners dedicated to clean sport and animal welfare to race as they want to and allow the outlaws to do whatever the hell they want to with their stock. The question may boil down to whether there are enough real sportsmen and women out there to have their own racing league. It was tried before and it failed because some disingenuous people that were opposed to the idea submarined it. It was a very bad day in racing and cost the sport one of its most active and prominent members. Will be interesting to see if horseplayers bet more on racing as a sport or as an outlaw enterprise.

    • Peter Scarnati

      All of the owners who are so inclined would need to do to have their own circuit of races is to obtain a license, build a track, develop their own “house rules,” and staff and operate the track.
      A fairly nice, modern racetrack could be built for less than $100 million, which would seem feasible if enough owners were involved.
      This way, sportsmen and women could most certainly have their own racing league and it wouldn’t matter (since the track is owned by the very people that participate in the league) who or what forces were against the notion.

      • Yes, all it takes is will. But too many owners are not in this enterprise just for the races and the horses, they are in it for the political advantages, social trappings, etc., so it would have to be supported by the top people in the game to get off the ground.

    • Minneola

      I would, of course, rather that the whole racing industry comply with one set of high expectations but, if that cannot be done, then, I have also thought in a similar vein as you. Perhaps, have some races be restricted to those horses running without any meds, at all, in their systems. And, have those races have higher purses. Perhaps, those higher financial incentives may encourage more trainers to race their horses clean. Of course, how to get those higher purses…. But, even if those higher purses cannot be easily provided, at least, there will be those races that give those owners/trainers a more level playing field for their horses. But, the question may boil down to whether there are “enough real sportsmen and women out there” to make a difference. I am not, by nature, a pessimistic person but, in this case, I am.

    • Pete

      How about one simple rule: “You can give a horse Lasix/bute anytime and anywhere you want but once the horse raced on it one time you cannot breed with him/her anymore”.
      I would think that would take all the 2 yo and (potential) stake-horses of Lasix/bute!

  • Larry Sterne

    vets are hired hands. there to do what we ask. their special skills do not give them any special voice in how racing is to run. there are many young vets who would like the race track business if the current vets don’t want to agree to the new thinking that is trying to save our racing

    • Ryder311

      Vets are NOT there to do what you ask. That is part of the problem with this industry. You would not march in to your PCP’s office and demand they prescribe you certain medications or treatments and expect them to do it. Yes, you can ask and most certainly should be your own advocate before blindly following any medical option whether PCP or vet but you can not expect them to go against their many years of education and experience just because you say so. It is the vets job to do what they feel is in the best interest of the horse based on their knowledge. They will always be condemned for whatever they choose to do because someone, somewhere will always think they know better. So yes, since they are the ones that help contribute to the quality of life for the equine athlete AND since they are the ones that will be required to fix the injuries after the races they most certainly should be respected and allowed a “special” voice in how racing is run. The industry does not need vets who are “yes” men (and women) that will blindly do what the trainers and owners ask.

      • Lehane

        The industry needs vets who will put the welfare of the horse first in lieu of going along with the trainers’ and owners’ demands which are more often than not, not in the best interests of the horse.

      • Bryan Langlois

        The odd thing about the first part of your post is…well…yes…some PCP’s will blindly give what a patient desires because they saw a commercial saying it would make them better and the drug companies offer them “incentives” for lack of a better term for prescribing their drugs.
        I do agree with your overall premise though that vets need to do what is in the best interest of the horse. That is why I really think you will not see major change until the tracks basically ban private vets from the backside and allow only state hired vets (who are paid appropriately by the commissions) to be the ones to practice on the horses. This way it takes away incentives or thoughts of doing more for some trainers to make more money. Of course it likely will never happen for a variety of reasons.

        • billy

          Could they have say private vet under watchful eye of state vet or something of that nature have the vet sign in write down the barns they go to into the horses they treat and have personel with them the entire time, I’m not sure how many vets are on the backside at one time so personel could be difficult something has got to keep these money grubbin creeps out of the stall

  • Evelyn Waugh

    AAEP is protecting its own interests–& revenue stream.

  • Ryder311

    What arrogance.

    “If this bill fails to be enacted, all we have left, as an industry, is the hope and prayer that 38 separate, highly politicized racing commissions will act uniformly to create and maintain a high standard for medication regulation in horse racing.

    We all know that is a fairy tale.”

    No, Mr. Beck it is you that is spinning the fairy tale. As someone else has commented, it is Pandora’s Box so be careful what you wish for.
    Yes, it would be wonderful if all states followed the same set of rules. What a grand idea! I can’t believe no one else has ever thought of that! Oh. Wait. I think there are SEVERAL industry groups who have been working hard on this for many years. There are so many great people INCLUDING members of AAEP who have spent countless hours at meetings and tracks discussing changes. They have had quite a bit of success as well with making improvements but because changes don’t always happen over night it has been deemed the industry would be better off in the hands of the government. The same government whose president makes asinine classless tweets on a daily basis. Yes, I”m sure handing over the industry we all love and support to the politicians in Washington will make everything better. Why not use your title to support the groups that are already working to make the industry better?

    “Equine veterinarians enjoy a unique role in the medical world: in the course of treating horses, they are able to diagnose, prescribe, and sell drugs. That is a big and lucrative business. (For the record, there were approximately 43,000 races and horses made about 323,000 starts in North America in 2016.)”

    I don’t know many practicing vets (and I know quite a few in the US and around the world) who work a normal 8-5 day. As far as the “big and lucrative” business I also don’t know many that have gotten rich from their practices. When was the last time one invited you onto their private jet?

    “A veterinarian shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes to laws and regulations which are contrary to the best interests of the patient and public health.”

    So since they won’t agree with you, you are now going to call their ethics into play? I personally know several members of the AAEP and know they sit on a variety of industry committees where they fight quite passionately to make changes to laws and regulations.

    “As a Thoroughbred breeder and owner, and president of a commercial breeding farm, I assume personal responsibility for the welfare of the horses in my charge.”

    “It is regrettable that a formal mandate may be required to achieve this goal, but we need to ensure that we have a level playing field like all other sports — with no medication on race day.”

    So which is it Mr. Beck? You care about the welfare of the horse or you are only concerned with a “level playing field” on race day. Why not start limiting medication use well before they get to the track? How many horses on the farm get medicated every day? How many weanlings and yearlings at sales get “preventative” meds. to prevent them from walking “sore”? BBD anyone? (bute, banamine, & dex. very common on the sales grounds) Do you mind if the vet makes a profit then?

    Anyone that thinks any vet out there is basing their annual income off of race day medications and that is why they fight against USADA needs to sit down and actually look at some real numbers.

    • Old Horse

      So what can be used to help prevent EIPH in the racehorse on race day instead of lasix? Horses are going to bleed without it unless there’s a natural supplement that actually works that can replace it. From my experience as a jockey years ago, riding a horse who actively begins to bleed during the race is an awful event for the horse and rider. The horse can’t breathe and begins to choke. He just shuts down from running. Looking down at my jock pants with blood spatter was a terrible experience. All a rider can do is ease the horse to try to help him calm down so he can breathe again. I don’t understand how taking lasix away from the horses on race day is going to help them…

      • Where is it written down or taken as gospel or a right that every horse born has what it takes to successfully compete as a racehorse? Just because some human beings bred a horse does not mean that a horse has the physical qualities to be a gifted athlete., Horses bleed for various reasons, many of which can be addressed by good management. Some cannot be successfully addressed and need to stop racing. This is life. Racing in countries where Lasix is banned has not shut down due to the large numbers of horses that are incapable to performing. There is little more aggravating than having a gifted horse that bleeds and cannot perform up to snuff. But part of the enterprise is breeding, managing and racing horses that are not compromised by bleeding, because bleeding is not a desirable trail in a racehorse.

        • L.L. Kauffman

          Thank you for being a voice of reason amidst some tiresome diatribes.

        • Mindy

          “Some cannot be successfully addressed and need to stop racing. This is
          life.” …it can also mean death, for the horse

          “Racing in countries where Lasix is banned has not shut down due to
          the large numbers of horses that are incapable to performing.”
          no, but most, if not all, of those jurisdictions conduct, and have no problem with, horse slaughter for human consumption, that (to many in the US), is an unacceptable “solution” to the bleeding problem

          • ben

            So the US system creates lasix addicts, because no one is taking the FINANCIAL loss of cutting.?

          • Mindy

            the loss isn’t “financial” for the horses, it could be death

          • Lily FaPootz

            oh my gawd, Mindy, how DID the industry thrive before Lasix, then?

          • Ben van den Brink

            You really do not understand, that the vets trainers and owners are purposely creating the problems.

      • And how often did that happen? And how is it that in countries where Lasix is not used this happenstance does not seem to occur on a regular basis? I have been racing for a long time and I race in many locales. Right now I have three horses that suffer from episodes of bleeding, two of which are allergy related. That’s it. All of this panic and posturing about the perils of racing without Lasix is hard for me to really understand.

    • Dr L

      That is a very good question, among several good points here: how successful would the breeders be if they could no longer give bute-bana-dex to their sales prospects? How about 2yo-in-training sales? If NSAIDS were outlawed prior to racetrack competition, would Gainesway Farm be able to sell as many weanlings, yearlings, 2yos?

      • Jack Frazier

        On this I agree 100%. IF you add Clenbuterol or perhaps a PED to the mix, it should be banned. Bone structure isn’t finished developing in colts for several years but when steroids or PED’s are added, both fillies and colts have way too much body weight to carry on the legs that are not able to fully developed. The sales should pull blood on every horse in the sale and those that show anything that isn’t natural in their development should either be withdrawn or a notification board should list their names along with whatever is in their systems. Then the buyer would be able to make a decision based on facts involving their prospective race horses.

  • Noelle

    Excellent article. I started going to the races in 2008 and was appalled to discover that nearly all the horses I was watching were routinely drugged to enable their performance. Yet I loved watching them and thought – because of what I heard from people like Jess Jackson and Arthur Hancock, and because of the strong anti-drugs arguments I read on the Paulick Report and other sites – that it was only a matter of time before racing established a national governing body and uniform rules. I thought it was only a matter of time before the dinosaurs woke up and realized they were killing the sport. How naive was that!

    I don’t like the idea of expanding federal power any more than most, but in this case, the states have failed to act for the good of the horses. Someone commented about the endless committee meetings that result in tiny, tiny improvements and argued that those improvements (whatever they are) proved that all the committees could eventually repair racing’s problems. I doubt it. It’s already nine years since I went to my first horserace and the steroids ban (not applicable to babies, as far as I know) is the only truly positive step forward – and that only happened because of very public tragedies on high profile racedays.

  • Thomasmac

    So what do i google PAL ? Nefarious practices? If it’s on the web it must be true!

    • Lehane

      Check out the long list of trainers’ violations.

      • togahombre

        if trainers aren’t willing to risk taking a positive (doing what it takes to win), most owners wont hire them

        • disqus_wZUB6w9ANy

          BS

          • togahombre

            don’t spend so much time at that kool-ade punch bowl

        • billy

          Number 1 problem

    • You are being silly and you know it.

  • Thomasmac

    Where do you come up with Britain and Australia have a higher standard of veterinary care than we do? Have you been to these countries? I have never been to Australia but I have been on tracks in Britain Canada and the US and found all to have high standards of care.

    • Australian vet expenses are very high., Reliance on vets is perhaps even more practised than in America. But veterinary intervention and reliance in Europe is less than in America.

    • Lehane

      I live in Australia and am not unfamiliar with the veterinary practices here where Lasix is banned. And this from Mr Beck’s excellent article –
      “Why haven’t the British and Australian equine veterinary associations taken a similar stance on race-day furosemide if the drug is so important for equine health?”
      Lasix is a performance enhancing drug. I’m no expert on it preventing horses from bleeding but if it does then it’s interfering with nature and the well-being of the horse. The bleeding occurs because the horse is overdoing it and nature comes into play signalling that his body is close to going beyond its physical limitations and the horse should slow down but the whipping doesn’t let them do that. Studies have revealed that about 98% of racehorses bleed during a race and the degree of the bleeding varies. The horses that suffer a bi-lateral bleed have an embargo placed on them by the stewards that they cannot race again for at least 3 months. If they bleed again for the second time they are banned from racing forever (in Australia). So these horses are protected by being found to be unsuitable for racing. A successful retired jockey friend of mine said that sometimes he could smell blood coming from the horses’ nostrils and that the ones that have a bi-lateral bleed are the lucky ones.

      • Mindy

        “If they bleed again for the second time they are banned from racing
        forever (in Australia). So these horses are protected by being found to
        be unsuitable for racing.”
        and what happens to them? some may be sent to the US, but not many, are ALL the rest adopted/sold to OTTB homes? Brumbies are slaughtered in Australia, y’all even eat kangaroos there, is this the fate of many/most bleeders who are banned from racing? how does that “protect” them?

        • ben

          It shorten their lives for the benefit of all.

          • Mindy

            wow….so nice to know you care…so, because some humans were irresponsible breeders, the horses they created must die? you’re a lovely bloke

          • Ben van den Brink

            If you are not able to give them away as pasture ornaments like I did: Yes that,s the only possible decision, if you like to save the breed.

  • Old Timer

    “And the interest they are protecting is their own.”

    This piece of “opinion” eschews the very essence of “pot meet kettle”.

    Track vets are not giving Lasix for the most part across many jurisdictions. Look into third party administration of Lasix please, its part of NUMP.

    Finally, Wake Up! Use actual legitimate positions, it’s getting to the point that your whole coalition will fold because you’re absolutely irrelevant to the times.

    Stop whining about Lasix!
    Stop whining about the sport doing bad!
    Stop wasting money on legislation that will go nowhere!

    Start doing more to get out a positive message!
    Start doing more to breed more horses!
    Start getting more owners back in the Sport!

    • Mindy

      “Start doing more to breed more horses!”
      Do something to make sure that *EVERY* horse you breed has a safe, happy home, post-racing! wait, you can’t do that? then DON’T BREED SO MANY HORSES! they are not disposable/interchangeable cogs in the system, they are living, feeling beings, to whom a debt is owed, by those who create them

  • Jack Frazier

    Lasix and bute are cash cows for the vets and they will fight tooth and nail to be able to administer them. I said a couple of times that there is almost $400 profit on bute and about $240 or so on Lasix. Most want cash and don’t report it as income either and charge more for using a credit card of check. Vets are circling their wagons and this just appears to be a way they can claim they are doing it for altruistic reasons. Far from it.

    • Dr L

      Where in the heck are you racing horses?? “Vets want cash and don’t report it as income?” These claims make all you say unbelievable.

      • Jack Frazier

        That would be California. When did train I was asked to pay cash instead of credit card or check. I could name the vets Dr V, obviously a vet but I won’t. Maybe this has changed but I doubt it. Your opinion on this is not important to since you must have a dog in this practice.

  • Mindy

    I would like to see something in the WHOA mission statement, and in the bill, if possible, acknowledging that some horses do bleed, and that those horses, if unable to race, due to this legislation being passed, or, until then, those in the care of signers to the Alliance, MUST be retired and rehomed, back to their breeder, to a trainer/organization for retraining and adoption/sale, as a pasture pal, whatever, but that they NOT be simply ‘disposed of,’ needlessly euthanized, or sent to auction (where they’re more than likely to be sold to a killer buyer) or directly sold/sent to slaughter….there MUST BE ACCOUNTABILITY, there is a responsibility to all horses bred, but, if you advocate for a law that will suddenly render thousands of horses ‘useless’ on the track, translation, ‘worthless,’ to a lot of owners & trainers (especially smaller outfits), there must be a humane plan out there for them…the mission of WHOA is noble, but nobility is meaningless, if it causes the deaths of thousands of horses

    • Unrealistic as a law or policy, but perhaps good as an individual goal.

  • L.L. Kauffman

    Spot on.

  • Always Curious

    Setting aside the benefits or not of Lasix, it is more about the public image of the sport. Public image is vital to the future of the sport. If it can be said that the sport has outlawed all race day medication, universal testing rules for all race horses of all breeds will do more than anything else to keep racing alive. Passing the Barr Tonken bill would be the most important action for betterment of the horses in our lifetime. IMO Contact your DC reps Just an email or a call! Then we can move onto things like designer drugs & other important stuff. I hate PETA but the fact they are in support of this legislation is Big Time. Their political influence is huge. I am new to twitter but I am getting a tweet together to promote the legislation and will tweet it every day!

  • Lily FaPootz

    you mean 5 furlong bullets don’t cut it? ;-)

    • Jack Frazier

      Not unless all you want to run are races well under a mile. The average distance is about 6 or 6 1/2 furlongs. Five furlong bullets work for those but that is a speed work. To run further, say 1 1/8th to 2 miles, which are seldom run here, a horse needs a really good bottom in gallops of two or three miles. The desire to get a quick return on investments leads to this as well as the idea of racing to breed instead of breeding to run. How many really top horses stay beyond their three year-old year? Answer that one.

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