Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I was outraged when I learned in Joe Drape's NY Times article that members of our industry who are making their living looking after the welfare of horses have risen in opposition of the most positive proactive step racing officials have taken to ensure the future of racing......
I have therefore created an online petition to support the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s proposed rule requiring disclosure of racehorses' medical records for 45 days prior to their race-day. As a lifelong thoroughbred owner and breeder, I fully endorse this rule. It is a safety measure for horses and jockeys, and an assurance of integrity for the betting public, prospective owners, and other new arrivals to the sport.
If you are involved in horseracing in any capacity, this rule change is designed to improve the quality of racing, by separating unhealthy horses from those ready to race. Full disclosure is the only way to move horseracing forward.Ultimately, it is the abusive practice of drugs that results in unfit horses running on the track, and making poor contributions to the thoroughbred bloodline. Drugs compensate for crooked legs, poor shoeing jobs, lack of conditioning, and an inability to breathe, among a host of other problems. Concealing these realities has created numerous problems for both people and horses; overpopulation with few humane plans for equine retirement and rising veterinary costs for overtaxed, unhealthy horses are serious issues.
Honesty, transparency, and a genuine love and respect of the horse is the only way racing will thrive. This new rule is the first step in answering the question, "What's wrong with racing, how do we fix it, and how do we market it?". The more available information becomes on horses and their health, the better decisions we can make about what will benefit everyone-- humans and horses. The only people who will not benefit are those that would manipulate, deceive, and actively practice animal cruelty through the secret use of drugs to push horses on the track who do not belong there--all in the name of profit.
Veterinarians who oppose this suggested rule should examine their own motives. Stephen Selway‘s claim in the NY Times that time and paperwork would be wasted on the measure, as well as the AAEPs statement that what medications are administered to racehorses is privileged information are both highly absurd!
Personally, I am disappointed that those who supposedly have dedicated their lives to the care of animals are more concerned about protecting private revenue streams than improving conditions for the horses that make their jobs possible. How many drugs are being administered, and in what possible combination and frequency, that it will take "hundreds of thousands of hours" to record by veterinarians? Just because the state isn’t testing for a drug yet, doesn’t mean that its use is ethical, in the best interest of the horses, their caretakers, or the public, let alone that it isn't in their right to know. Personally, I have 30 years of detailed medical bills that veterinarians were never too short on time to send.
The implementation of this new rule will make life better for racehorses and the people who work with them. If you really care about the future of racing and the welfare of horses I encourage you to sign this petition. Click here to read and sign.