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Meadows horsemen's group opposes HISA

October 05, 2020

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The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, which represents the interests of more than 600 harness horse owners, trainers and drivers, staunchly opposes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA).

While the legislation targets Thoroughbred horses, it clearly leaves the window open for Standardbreds to be regulated by the bill if either state racing commissions or breed organizations choose to include them.

The HISA would ban the race-day use of Lasix, a universally-accepted therapeutic medication. Veterinarians endorse Lasix as the only known treatment for Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), a condition that causes varying amounts of bleeding in the lungs of racehorses. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians support the use of race-day Lasix.

Its funding mechanism is vague and would cause inequitable costs to harness racing. Various proponents of this legislation have indicated that it would be funded by a surcharge to owners and trainers of every horse in every race to cover operational costs and to repay the loans. Standardbreds are a sturdier breed with a much different racing model. A per start fee to pay for the new entity would unfairly penalize Standardbreds due to their racing frequency.

Testing and Oversight: HISA mandates a drug-testing Authority that has limited to no experience with equine welfare related matters. The testing will be done by a private business, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which tests certain human athletes but not horses.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will not make horses safer. It will harm our industry and put our horses and drivers at risk.

The MSOA remains committed to making harness racing safe and thriving for future generations of horses, horsemen and women, and fans. (Meadows Standardbred Owners Association)

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