Following PETA’s investigation of thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen’s New York stable, which showed that most—if not all—horses were routinely fed prescription thyroid drugs in an apparent attempt to speed up their metabolism, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) banned the use of thyroid hormones for nontherapeutic purposes.
Now thyroid hormones can be used in California only if the horse has a diagnosed thyroid condition, and even in that case, the medication must be prescribed by a veterinarian for a specific horse, for a specific diagnosis, and for a specific period of time and reported to the CHRB. Any improperly labeled thyroid hormones found within a CHRB-regulated facility will be treated as contraband and confiscated.
In other words, simply dumping thyroid drugs into horses’ feed without a specific diagnosis—a regular practice at Asmussen’s barn in New York—isn’t allowed. This is a huge step forward in protecting thoroughbreds, and other states that allow racing should follow California’s lead.
Thyroid hormones are just one of the many drugs that horses are doped with in the cruel racing industry. Please urge your members of Congress to support bills that would increase oversight and penalties for overusing drugs in horse racing.