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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Regulation of Breeding Industry Expected to be on Federal Legislative Agenda

LEXINGTON, KY -   The President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) today predicted that the currently unregulated horse breeding industry will ultimately be folded into any federal racing legislation that advances in Washington.

“I fully anticipate that as current proposals advance in the legislative process, Members of Congress will heed comments made by a key supporter of federal intervention about the practices of Thoroughbred breeders that may be contributing to an inappropriate reliance on drugs,” Ed Martin said.   Prior to becoming involved with racing regulatory matters, Martin served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill for almost a decade.

The President of the Humane Society of the United States and a member of The Jockey Club’s coalition, Wayne Pacelle, wrote in a July 20, 2015 column published on the animal welfare website the following: 

“Doping horses for racing is more dangerous today than ever because breeding practices — which select for speed and champagne-glass legs — make the horses less sturdy and more vulnerable to breakdowns than they were even 10 or 20 years ago.”

The Thoroughbred breeding industry and related sales companies are not currently regulated by the states, creating a void that Martin predicted Congress would fill given the universal concern about Thoroughbred racing breakdowns.

Martin noted that state racing commission medication reforms already implemented are starting to reduce catastrophic injuries in some jurisdictions as reported by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at The Jockey Club’s Roundtable conference this past weekend.

He predicted that unregulated sales company medication policies that permit the stacking of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to be used on horses going through the auction ring could be considered permissive.   “I predict that Members of Congress will want to know why drugs need to be given to horses that have never raced and have not been injured,” he said.

The ARCI President said that if a state were to expand the jurisdiction of an ARCI member commission to regulate the breeding industry and sales companies, the association would begin working on Model Rules to assist that agency in meeting the legislative mandate.   To date, that has not happened.