McCONNEL TO INTRODUCE HORSE RACING SAETY LEGISLATION IN SENATE
By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis CPP
Freelance Writer and Author
September 1, 2020
© September 2020 – All Rights Reserved
THE MECHANICAL HORSE, A HORSE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS
On August 6, 2014 I authored an article entitled: “THE MECHANICAL HORSE, A HORSE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS. The article was authored in response to the growing horse doping issues coming to light, on the Thoroughbred Race Tracks. The first paragraph of the article specifically states: “At first glance, this articles title suggests an apparatus resembling a horse traveling on rails, making a series of stops and turns and acting much like the mechanical cow we see in the training arena. However, this article is about the horse that performs, whether on the racetrack or in the performance arena, under the influence of drugs.”
The article continues. “Lately a heightened awareness of horse doping has been bestowed upon us by the news media, news articles and by legislative action in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D – New Mexico is a co-sponsor of a bill addressing the horse-doping fiasco in the United States. “The chronic abuse of race horses with painkillers and other drugs is dangerous and just plain wrong,” Udall said.”
The article goes on to suggest; one day the Federal Government will step-in and intercede on the horses behalf. Apparently, that day has arrived with the intended introduction of legislation by Senator Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate targeting horse abuse and horse doping in-general. To read the entire Mechanical Horse Article, click on the following link:
MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES HE WILL INTRODUCE HORSE RACING SAFETY LEGISLATION IN THE US SENATE
In an August 31, 2020 article, by Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal the author outlines McConnell’s intent: “LEXINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is putting his weight behind the latest effort to introduce universal safety regulations to the horse racing industry.
In a ceremony at Keeneland on Monday, the Kentucky Republican announced he will introduce the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the Senate. The legislation builds on Horseracing Integrity Act, which had gained majority support in the U.S. House of Representatives but failed to gain traction in the Senate.
Many advocates of the Horseracing Integrity Act, including Marty Irby, the executive director of Animal Wellness Action, previously identified Churchill Downs and McConnell as the chief obstacles to the bill.
The new bill is endorsed by a large segment of the horse racing industry, including Churchill Downs, which was not a supporter of the previous House bill introduced by Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr and New York Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko.
McConnell said he decided to bring the various segments of the industry, which had clashed over previous proposals, together after reading a Washington Post editorial calling for the end of horse racing.
“We’ve seen painful tragedies on the track in recent years," McConnell said. "Doping scandals have rocked the horse racing community. These challenges pose a threat, not only to this industry but also to the 24,000 Kentuckians who work in it.
“... If we wanted to preserve horse racing and its future, we needed to act. We owe it to the horses, we owe it to the jockeys, we owe it to the trainers, breeders and fans to make thoroughbred racing as fair and as safe as possible.”
The bill would create the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, a private, independent, self-regulatory nonprofit organization tasked with developing and implementing both a horse racing anti-doping and medication control program and a racetrack safety program. The authority would be governed by a nine-member board of directors made up of five members independent of the industry and four members representing owners and breeders, trainers, racetracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions and jockeys.
The nationwide anti-doping rules developed by the authority will be enforced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The authority will also create an accreditation program to ensure racetracks comply with a set of training and racing safety standards, including racetrack design and maintenance; oversight of human and equine injury reporting and prevention; and procedures for undertaking investigations at racetrack and non-racetrack facilities related to safety violations.
The Washington Post editorial that McConnell said spurred him to action was written in March after the arrests of 27 trainers, veterinarians and drug distributors as part of an alleged doping scandal. Those arrests followed increased scrutiny on the industry due to a rash of horse deaths in recent years.
"The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will bring 16 hands of integrity back to American horseracing by banning race-day doping," Irby said in a news release. "U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others are right to press the industry to create a uniform anti-doping standard that will protect the horses and the sport against the worst impulses of some of its actors."
McConnell said he has already spoken with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about his bill and anticipates bipartisan support for the legislation.
Barr said he plans to introduce an amendment to make his bill mirror the one introduced in the Senate by McConnell.
"This is not a particular bipartisan place we’re in right now in Congress, as you may have noticed," McConnell said, "but we’re hopeful a subject like this can overcome the partisanship that’s been pretty much on full display as we get closer and closer to the election."
FEDS CHARGE HORSE RACING TRAINERS, VETERINARIANS OVER “WIDESPREAD, CORRUPT DOPING SCHEME
The article Senator McConnell is referring to can be read by clicking on the following link:
Eventually, the avenue of control that’s being sought after, is long overdue. Horses don’t deserve the treatment they’ve received over the decades from unscrupulous trainers and veterinarians whose only stake in the game is making more money. Unfortunately, for the horse it’s become a disposable entity, with the majority ending up on someone’s dinner plate in Europe or Asia after they’ve been crippled by illegal drug use on the race track or in the performance horse show arena.
“UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP EM BETWEEN THE BRIDLE”