Critical Thoroughbred aftercare bill passes in New York

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

NYTB logoPress Release

A Thoroughbred aftercare bill that prohibits the slaughter of racehorse and breeding stock, requires racehorses to be microchipped and provides tax incentive for Thoroughbred aftercare donations on tax returns passed the New York State Assembly shortly after midnight Wednesday. The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it.

“The breeders of New York state certainly thank the sponsors of this legislation as well as the entire state legislature,” said Thomas J. Gallo, President of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.  “This is landmark legislation that not only ensures the protection of our equine athletes, but adds a key necessary level of integrity to our sport.”

According to Thoroughbred Daily News, “the purpose of the legislation is to ensure the prohibition of the inhumane slaughter of retired racehorses and breeding stock. The legislation also increases access to funding for appropriate care of retired racehorses by ensuring that monies generated by enforcement will be dedicated to the aftercare of retired racehorses, and allowing New York individuals and corporations to make voluntary contributions dedicated to funding aftercare programs. The bill will also increase Gaming Commission insight into transfer of horse ownership information, by requiring microchipping of all racehorses in New York, and that such information be provided to the Commission.”

New York racing industry officials applauded the bill’s passage.

“This legislation positions New York as the national leader when it comes to responsibly protecting our retired racehorses,” said NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke. “NYRA is proud to have long supported all elements of this important legislation because it reflects our commitment to Thoroughbred aftercare. We thank Senator Joe Addabbo and Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committees, for prioritizing the health and safety of thoroughbreds in New York.”

NYRA already features an anti-slaughter policy, whereby any trainer or owner stabled at the NYRA track found to have sold a horse for slaughter will have his or her stalls permanently revoked. NYRA also requires horsemen to do due diligence when releasing horses from their care.

“NYTHA and all our members are gratified that we are able to work with animal advocates both within the sport and in the legislature to achieve this historic legislation benefitting horses that are bred and raced in New York,” said New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Joe Appelbaum,

“As Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, I understand the importance of aftercare for racehorses in the racing industry,” said Senator Joe Addabbo. “Greater oversight, including ensuring there is appropriate funding available for aftercare, microchipping to track ownership, and holding owners accountable in instances of slaughter, are all critical to improving the racing industry and future fate of horses. Over the past 10 years, a variety of nonprofits and for-profit businesses have been created to address the aftercare problem, so it’s exciting to see new regulations being implemented to ensure proper care is in place for horses after they retire. My thanks to the equine advocates and my colleagues in government in advancing this significant legislative initiative.”

“This effort was a hard fought and long overdue recognition of an issue that has, for years gone under the radar,” said Assembly member Gary Pretlow, Chair of Racing and Wagering. “Equines have, for centuries benefitted the world, and served to advance the human condition. It is impossible to think about our lives today without gratitude for their service and usefulness, and in the racing industry, wonderment at their astonishing speed, agility, power, and gracefulness. Yet for all their value and the joy they bring to us, they often suffer from inhumane treatment by the very industries they benefit. This bill is a strong step in the direction of rectifying this and I am proud to have sponsored and championed it.”

Karin Carreau, founder and chair of HORSEPOWER, Inc. the state’s only equine policy advocacy organization, also was pleased with the bill’s passage.

“We cannot thank our sponsors and Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, Chair of Agriculture Committee, enough for their steadfast support and commitment in the face of the many challenges this bill encountered,” Carreau said. “This initiative is a huge stride forward in protecting equines in the racing industry.”

Sue McDonough, of the legislative committee of the New York State Humane Association also added her support.

“We would like to thank Racing and Wagering Committee Chairs and bill sponsors Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assembly member Gary Pretlow, Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo, and their staff, for championing this issue.  This initiative will help to ensure crucial protections and promote aftercare opportunities for our beloved racehorses.  We are grateful to the legislature and advocates for making it a priority this year, and look forward to the signing and implementation of this important measure.”

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