On behalf of thoroughbreds everywhere, a congressional hearing was held today to discuss horseracing—just weeks after PETA and tens of thousands of our members and supporters called for it. You can get a pretty cool play-by-play of the meeting here, but basically, the primary message was that the drugs are the problem—not just steroids but all drugs. Person after person said in testimony that if you get rid of the drugs, you get rid of a lot of problems in racing because horses who don’t have the strength to run won’t run and then won’t be bred. What we need is a zero-tolerance policy!
The hearing was full of moving testimony, including comments from a woman who runs CANTER, a thoroughbred rescue. She gets the horses who have been on all kinds of drugs their whole lives and said that when they go off drugs, they go through withdrawal periods that include hair loss, weight loss, and depression. One of my favorite quotes from the afternoon came from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who said, “Greed has trumped the health of horses.” One person who was not so surprisingly absent was Big Brown’s trainer, Richard Dutrow. Given his rap sheet of drug infractions, I can’t say I was terribly surprised.
There will be at least one more hearing, possibly looking to consider legislation to appoint a federal racing commissioner so that all laws pertaining to racing will be uniform. The congressional committee also voted to admit PETA’s written testimony—which you can read here—into record.
You can respond to our latest horseracing action alert to let Congress know that you care about Eight Belles and all the less famous horses who face death on the track and get your voice heard! These hearings are a wonderful step in the right direction, and we need to continue pushing for progress.
Posted by Christine Dore