For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2021
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – Following its request for a full investigation into the life, health, and death of 3-year-old Medina Spirit, PETA today called on Chair Greg Ferraro and members of the California Horse Racing Board to protect the surviving horses in trainer Bob Baffert’s barn by essentially issuing a restraining order against him.
Pending necropsy results, PETA is calling for measures similar to those put in place before the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar racetrack last month, including 24/7 security guards and additional drug testing. PETA is also pushing the board to ban Baffert from having unsupervised contact with the horses in his barn and from making any veterinary decisions about them, as well as appointing an independent veterinarian to make all medical decisions.
“Just as the Catholic Church refused for decades to protect children from its predatory priests, the racing industry has failed to protect young horses from Bob Baffert,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Seventy-five dead Baffert-trained horses in California is a disgrace, and state officials must seize control and stop the carnage.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Ferraro follows.
December 9, 2021
Gregory Ferraro, D.V.M., Chair
California Horse Racing Board
Dear Dr. Ferraro and Members of the Board:
On behalf of PETA entities who have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including 700,000 in California, I urge you to take immediate steps to protect the horses in the barn of trainer Bob Baffert. With the death of Medina Spirit, Baffert’s record of drug violations and horse deaths must not be ignored—as the previous board apparently chose to do when the Baffert-trained Justify failed a drug test after winning the 2018 Santa Anita Derby. The Board should suspend his license, but as you’ve stated that this is not possible under the current statutes, horses must be protected in other ways.
Pending the outcome of Medina Spirit’s necropsy and a complete investigation into the causes of his death, we urge you to expand the measures undertaken as a condition of Baffert’s participation in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar. These should include the following:
- 24-hour security guards and camera surveillance
- Additional testing, at Baffert’s expense
- An independent, state-appointed veterinarian assigned to Baffert’s barn This veterinarian should be responsible for all veterinary decisions, prescriptions, and administration of medications, supplements, and medical treatments. Baffert should have no direct or indirect involvement in veterinary decisions.
- Supervised-only contact between Baffert and the horses in his barn.
Overlooking both Medina Spirit’s tragic death and Baffert’s assault on horses— as exemplified by his reckless use of thyroxine for nontherapeutic purposes— would likely put other horses in danger. Will you take action on these recommendations? Thank you.
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department