US – US House passes anti-doping bill to reform American Horse RacingBy Phil - 30 September 2020
The US House of Representatives passed H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, with the promise to end the era of widespread doping of horses in Thoroughbred racing in America.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act includes a ban on race-day doping, the establishment of a uniform national standard for rules and regulations for US horseracing that would be overseen by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is landmark legislation that would directly address the safety and welfare of racehorses, and the integrity of the sport itself, through better anti-doping measures and racetrack safety standards.
“Doping of athletes in sport to enhance performance is widely recognised as a form of cheating in human competition,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action who testified before Congress on the issue in January. “It’s equally wrong and even more dangerous for the athletes involved to allow widespread doping in American horse racing.”
“After nearly six years working to advance this bipartisan legislation to modernise horseracing in the United States, we are at long last rounding the final turn,” said US Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. “Our Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act puts the health and well-being of our equine athletes and jockeys firmly at the center of the sport, and delivers commonsense medication and track safety standards that will lift this noble sport to higher standards of integrity and safety. These long overdue reforms will help restore public trust in the sport and put it on a path to a long and vital future, supporting countless jobs and driving economic activity in communities across our nation. I thank my longtime collaborator and friend, Congressman Barr, for leading with me in this effort to restore integrity to our sport of kings. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to advance their companion legislation without delay and deliver it swiftly to the President to sign into law.”
The doping of American racehorses has been the subject of Congressional attention over the past five years with hundreds of horses dying on racetracks weekly, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March of 2020.
The bill has the support of Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, and key players throughout the horse racing industry, including all three Triple Crown racetracks. Churchill Downs, which runs the Kentucky Derby, is the most recent corporation to get on board. The effort continues to enjoy the support of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, which includes The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup, Keeneland Racecourse, the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and AWA and AWF.
The patchwork of regulations across the U.S.’s 38 racing jurisdictions has undermined the public’s confidence in horseracing, threatened the integrity of competition, and endangered the human and equine athletes. Enactment of the HISA will address these problems head on while helping to enhance the public’s interest in this very important industry. For the safety of the horses and jockeys, and for the sport of horseracing itself, American horseracing needs the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020.