COVID relief package features horse racing safety legislation

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Horse racing somehow found its way into the latest $900 billion COVID relief bill agreed upon by Congress and likely to pass, which would give many Americans a morsel of help before 2020 ends.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was tied into the massive 5,593-page bill. Should it get passed, the legislation would allow the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to come up with and implement horse and racetrack safety standards at a national level.


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Horses involved in racing would be barred from receiving pain killers.

The measures would be overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and enforced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic New York Rep. Paul Tonko and Republican Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr, was passed in the House in September. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., also sponsored the bill.

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“Among the required elements of the horseracing safety program are sets of training and racing safety standards consistent with the humane treatment of horses, a system to maintain track surface quality, programs for injury and fatality analysis, investigation and disciplinary procedures, and an evaluation and accreditation program,” the bill says.

“The bill sets forth other provisions regarding (1) funding, conflicts of interest, and jurisdiction; (2) registration with the authority; (3) program enforcement; (4) rule violations and civil sanctions; (5) testing laboratories; (6) review of final decisions of the authority by an administrative law judge; (7) unfair or deceptive acts or practices; and (8) agreements with state racing commissions.”

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A fact sheet from lawmakers called on Congress to “Stop Horsing Around!”

The bill received support from animal rights groups among other elite horse racing organizations.



By Ryan Gaydos

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