The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, introduced in the U.S. on Senate Wednesday by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ).
The bill would create a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority, the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HADA), responsible for developing and administering a nationwide anti-doping and medication control program for horse racing. HADA will create a set of uniform anti-doping rules, including lists of permitted and prohibited substances and methods, after consulting racing industry representatives and the public, along with taking into consideration international anti-doping standards and veterinarian ethical standards. The new nationwide rules would replace the current patchwork of regulatory systems that govern horseracing's 38 separate racing jurisdictions.
“We applaud Senators Gillibrand and McSally for their leadership. The introduction of a companion bill in the Senate shows tremendous momentum on this issue,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of CHRI. “A significant part of the racing industry, as well as all of the major animal welfare organizations, support the Horseracing Integrity Act. We call on the rest of the industry to come together and support this common sense legislation and be on the right side of history.”
The Senate bill is nearly identical to the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 1754), introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), but the Senate version includes the requirement that horse sellers notify buyers if a horse being sold has ever been treated with bisphosphonates, a medication that may be harmful to bone development in young horses.
H.R. 1754 has already garnered the bipartisan support of more than 100 representatives this Congress. With the support of key members such as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection & Commerce, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, CHRI is hopeful and optimistic that the legislation will move through the committee process and pass the House this year. This companion Senate bill will help expedite this process.
HADA would be governed by a board composed of six individuals who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse-racing areas, six individuals from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and its chief executive officer. USADA is recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympic, Pan American, and Paralympic sports.
“We commend Senators McSally and Gillibrand for leading efforts in the Senate to address racehorse welfare,” said Kitty Block, president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States. “This crucial bill will help establish a uniform set of rules, testing procedures and penalties to rid racing of unethical drugging and doping of horses. This promises to improve both oversight of the industry and also the welfare of racehorses.”
The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity represents a diverse group of racing organizations, racetracks, owner and breeder associations, and animal welfare groups that support adoption of a national, uniform standard for drug and medication rules in horse racing. For more information and to read a copy of the proposed legislation, visit horseracingintegrity.com.
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