The Horse Racing Integrity Act (HRI) was recently reintroduced in Congress by Representatives Andy Barr and Paul Tonko, with the hopes that the legislation will make more progress during the current session than it did previously. In addition to covering Thoroughbred racing, the new proposal also includes both Quarter Horse and Standardbred racing.
The HRI has had strong support from The Jockey Club since it was first introduced. However, in a statement issued June 6, the American Association of Equine Practitioners has come out against the newly reintroduced legislation. The AAEP issued the following statement:
Statement by American Association of Equine Practitioners 2017 President R. Reynolds Cowles, DVM:
“While the American Association of Equine Practitioners supports the uniformity of medication rules in U.S. horse racing, which is one of the chief goals of the Horseracing Integrity Act, our association opposes the newly introduced version of the legislation.
“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 (EIPH) in the racehorse. This policy is based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence.
“H.R. 2651 seeks to end the administration of furosemide on race day, which conflicts with the AAEP's long-held position. While we are optimistic that current research projects will yield an alternative treatment for EIPH which does not require race-day administration, as doctors of veterinary medicine we cannot abandon our current policy until science provides an efficacious option for protecting the health and welfare of the horse.
“The ability of USADA to regulate a sport which has far more participants than any sport they currently oversee remains a concern for the AAEP, but we are pleased with the change to the legislation's proposed structure which allows for the inclusion of a veterinarian as part of the governing body. We also are pleased with the expansion of the bill's language to clearly delineate the role of therapeutic medication and a formal anti-doping program.
“We appreciate the opportunity provided to us previously by Rep. Barr to offer input on the legislation in the areas of governance and veterinary involvement. Although our suggestions were not incorporated into this version of the bill, the AAEP wishes to continue to serve as a resource to Rep. Barr and Rep. Tonko as issues affecting the health and the welfare of the racehorse are considered.”
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