NTRA, AAEP respond to Times report on horse racing

by | 03.27.2012 | 9:25am

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners issued statements Tuesday regarding the New York Times report on horse racing published over the weekend.  From NTRA president Alex Waldrop:

“Recent media reports have presented a sobering assessment of the safety and integrity of horse racing. The NTRA takes these reports very seriously because we know that thousands of industry participants consider the health and safety of our human and equine athletes and the integrity of our sport to be our highest priorities. Over the past several years, the industry has instituted a number of significant safety and integrity reforms, including such initiatives as the Equine Injury Database, the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Despite this progress, we must do more and move with a greater sense of urgency than has been demonstrated to date. Toward that end, tracks, horsemen, regulators and other participants must consider all options for enacting nationwide reform in a more comprehensive, lasting way.”

Statement from Dr. John Mitchell, 2012 AAEP president:

“There should be no higher priority for the racing community than the health and safety of its equine and human athletes. Reducing equine injuries must be the primary focus of all who care for the horse – from racetrack management and regulators to the veterinarians and horsemen who work daily in the barns.

“The racing community has a fundamental obligation to provide the best of care and oversight for our horses, and there are efforts to fulfill this mission. Examples of programs that have been recently developed for improved care of equine athletes include creation and refinement of the injury database, certification of tracks through the Safety and Integrity Alliance, the establishment of aftercare programs for retired racehorses, and the dedication of millions of research dollars to equine health and safety.

“As the New York Times article points out, there is much work to be done. Nationwide adoption of best practices for pre-race inspection and post-race observation along with uniform medication, testing, security and enforcement policies by all racing jurisdictions are essential safety and integrity elements for all to embrace.  Commitment to these principles is critical to the very existence of the sport and most importantly, the safety of its horses and human athletes. What is good for the horse is good for racing.  The AAEP's mission is to promote the health and welfare of all horses, and as doctors of veterinary medicine, we offer our continued support and expertise to the racing community.”

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