Both houses of the New York State General Assembly have passed legislation prohibiting the slaughter of racehorses and the breeding of both Thoroughbreds and Standardbred horses.
The bill would make it illegal to slaughter racehorses or “import, export, sell, offer to sell, barter, transfer, buy, possess, transfer, deliver or receive” a horse for slaughter, or direct someone else to do the same. Violations of the law would be misdemeanors punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 per horse, which doubles for repeat offenders. Proceeds from these fines will help fund aftercare programs.
The new law will also require owners to show the appropriate documentation to transfer ownership, taking responsibility for the horse’s whereabouts to the last individual in the Jockey Club’s chain of ownership records. This will also require all racing and breeding breeds to be equipped with small slides.
The New York Racing Association already has an anti-slaughter policy that states that any owner or trainer found to have sold a horse for slaughter will have stalls permanently disqualified.
“This legislation positions New York as a national leader when it comes to responsibly protecting retired racehorses,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “The NYRA is proud to have long supported all elements of this important legislation because it reflects our commitment to aftercare. We thank Senator Joe Adabo and Assemblyman Gary Brettlow, chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees for Race, Game and Betting, for prioritizing the health and safety of New York’s Thoroughbred horses.”
The New York Thoroughbred Horse Association has also expressed support for the legislation.
“NYTHA and all of our members are grateful that we are able to work with animal advocates within the sport and in the legislature to achieve this landmark legislation that benefits New York-bred and raced horses,” said Joe Appelbaum, president of NYTHA.
The effort was a hard and long-awaited admission of a cause that for years had been under the radar. “Horses have benefited the world for centuries, and have helped advance the human condition,” said Gary Brettlow, chair of the association’s standing committee on racing and betting. “It is impossible to think of our lives today without gratitude for their service and utility, and in the racing industry, it is impossible to think of their astonishing speed, agility, strength and agility. Yet for all their value and happiness they bring us, they often suffer inhumane treatment by Industries they benefit from. This bill is a powerful step in the direction of correcting this and I am proud to sponsor and support it.”
The legislation will enter into force on January 1, 2022.
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