The Animal Wellness Action hailed lawmakers in Congress for helping secure funding to help Thoroughbred horse racing in the US.
In July, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which banned race-day doping in the US, became law. The goal was for a standard group of regulations to be put in place at every track across America.
However, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia filed a lawsuit claiming the HISA was unconstitutional. The $1.7 trillion federal spending bill, signed by President Joe Biden, helps keep HISA in place.
The bill also includes a record $4.1 million to enforce the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 for FY 2023.
Anti-doping advocates applaud Congress
“We applaud the Congress for making the statutory fix to remedy a legal concern that came from a federal appellate court,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action.
In a press release, Irby said: “It wasn’t without a fight. And it’s hard to believe that horsemen and even some politicians are fighting to preserve race-day doping. Their work puts horses and jockeys at risk and scrambles the results for gamblers and other fans of the sport.”
Approved funding is a victory for horse racing in the US
Scott Beckstead, an equine welfare specialist, and director of campaigns for Animal Wellness Action and Center for a Humane Economy said the bill is a victory for the entire industry.
“The bill amounts to an important victory for horses, as Congress continues to defund horse-slaughter inspections as part of the year-end spending. This ensures the cruel and predatory horse-slaughter industry will not regain a foothold in the US,” Beckstead said.
“With the Bureau of Land Management’s unprecedented, shameful assault on our nation’s iconic wild horses and burros continuing unchecked to benefit commercial livestock, it’s critical that Congress has again appropriated millions for humane fertility control so more of these living icons can thrive wild and free on our public lands.”
Both agencies would have preferred a stronger legislative ban. However, the $4.1 million in funding will allow more robust enforcement of the existing HISA law.