Horse Racing Has A Massive Doping Problem | Op-Ed | NowThis

August 31, 2019

Racehorses are incredible athletes, but
there’s an important power they don’t have. That’s control over the substances
that go into their bodies. The widespread use of both
illegal drugs is clearly an industry that employs 400,000 Americans. It’s also
hurting and killing our horses and jockeys at alarming rates. Human athletes
who take performance do so by
making a conscious choice to dope, cheat win at all costs. Racehorses cannot make
that choice. They are at the mercy of their owners
and trainers. Unlike other sports that have regulatory bodies to provide
oversight and punish those who flout industry rules that can regulate the industry. In the
current system there are 38 state racing jurisdictions each with its own set of
regulations. This lack of standardized rules allows
potentially shady owners and trainers to simply move racehorses from one
jurisdiction to another. Weak restrictions & consequences allow
people to continue to dope horses and avoid penalty. Each state Racing Commission
allows different medications and varying levels of permissible medications. They
impose different penalties for violations and have different sets of
rules of which horses are tested for drugs. Imagine the confusion if
the NFL had no national standards for consistency with different rules in each
of the 32 professional football stadiums. Without one single regulating body or
uniform set of rules owners and trainers who are barred from racing in one
jurisdiction can move business elsewhere. Doping horses for racing is more
dangerous today and some drugs and making them more vulnerable to break
down than they were even 10 or 20 years ago. Racetracks are turning into crash
sites and jockeys are being trampled to death in the wreckage It’s time for
Congress to take action and the fix is The bipartisan bill introduced in Congress
will establish a uniform set of rules, testing procedures, & penalties are
horse racing created by the nonprofit US anti-doping agency (USADA), the same
agency that monitors Olympic sports in the United States.
Such legislation is crucial to protect the animals and jockeys in an industry
that has proven it will not regulate itself. I oversee the equine protection
department as the senior advisor at the Humane Society of the United States and
the Humane Society legislative fund our organization and other animal protection
groups support this reform and support for this reform is also rapidly growing
throughout the racing industry with leading track owners, horse owners,
trainers, and other industry insiders coming together to call for this bill’s
passage. unfortunately Churchill Downs a publicly
traded corporation that hosts the Kentucky Derby does not yet support the
legislation Horse-racing is a $40B dollar a
year industry that fuels our economy without reform and federal oversight,
horses and jockeys will continue to die and support from fans with waver.
If horse racing fans want to give race horses the voice, they should call their
representatives in Congress and ask them co-sponsor the Horseracing Integrity
Act; not just for the sake of the industry but for the sake of the animals

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