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NYRA Adopts Tough Anti-Slaughter Policy

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  • NYRA Adopts Tough Anti-Slaughter Policy

    NYRA Adopts Tough Anti-Slaughter Policy
    By Jason Shandler - The Blood Horse

    The New York Racing Association has announced an anti-slaughter policy that introduces harsh penalties to offending horsemen while encouraging them to support horse rescue and adoption initiatives.

    The newly created policy, announced in a Dec. 10 release, is as follows:
    Any owner or trainer stabled at a NYRA track found to have directly or indirectly sold a horse for slaughter will have his or her stalls permanently revoked from all NYRA tracks. NYRA requires its horsemen to conduct due diligence on those buying horses and encourages them to support rescue and adoption efforts and to find humane ways of dealing with horses unable to continue racing.
    “We are fully committed to protecting our sport’s equine athletes,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “This policy sends the message that horse slaughter will not be tolerated and that those participating in this practice, either knowingly or for lack of due diligence, will not be welcome at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, or Saratoga.”
    In addition to its stance against horse slaughter, NYRA also supports numerous equine retirement, anti-slaughter, and research organizations, and has made donations to the following organizations within the past year:
    • Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation – Mission to save thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.
    • Columbia Green Humane Society - Dedicated to the protection, humane treatment and well being of all animals.
    • Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation – Committed to the advancement of research to enhance the health and soundness of horses of all breeds.
    • Exceller Fund – Providing a future beyond the finish line, the Exceller Fund works to transition thoroughbred horses to a second career off the track.
    Diana Pikulski, the executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, added this:
    "This policy is important because it makes everybody involved with a horse aware that they need to plan for its retirement and educate themselves about the options.
    "It is also significant that NYRA, NYTHA, the NY Riders and The Jockey Club have already donated $100,000 for retirement in NY and committed themselves to developing a long term plan for retirement funding. We have had several follow up meetings to develop that plan and all the parties have participated."

    Good news, hopefully all racing associations will follow this policy...

  • #2
    Does it not include Finger Lakes?
    www.canterusa.org

    Comment


    • #3
      It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?
      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

      My CANTER blog.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by NMK View Post
        Does it not include Finger Lakes?
        Finger Lakes is not affiliated with NYRA per say. That association is only Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont...

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by caffeinated View Post
          It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?
          I don't know...hopefully there will be more information on retirement/placing options forthcoming.

          Comment


          • #6
            Finger Lakes while in New York State and subject to the State's wagering and racing board it is not part of NYRA organization - comprised of Belmont, Saratoga, and Aqueduct.

            Worth pointing out is that NYRA did as much as could with ruling off Ernie Paragallo and family from their tracks after that story broke. They've worked hard in recent years but of course there is always room to do more.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by caffeinated View Post
              It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?
              Maybe the industry needs to start taking responsibility themselves for the lives they produce. It's not someone else's job. This is a great step for the horses. Of course there are ways around these things, but these are the kinds of steps the industry needs to take to improve and I hope we get to a point where this is universal.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would like to send Mr. Hayward a thank you note - anyone know where the offices are located?
                She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by caffeinated View Post
                  It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?
                  That was always my problem with these policies as well. If you don't help provide alternatives all it is is lip service as far as I am concerned. If it truly was a priority and not a publicity stunt they would have a solution in place.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    That was always my problem with these policies as well. If you don't help provide alternatives all it is is lip service as far as I am concerned. If it truly was a priority and not a publicity stunt they would have a solution in place.
                    Yep, not to mention that policies like this (with no details as to the hows and whys and specifics) also lead to more trouble. People will find ways to get around rules, driving the problem "underground" where horses are less likely to get caught by safety nets.
                    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                    My CANTER blog.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Buffyblue View Post
                      I would like to send Mr. Hayward a thank you note - anyone know where the offices are located?
                      Linny likely would know how to reach him better for feedback.

                      Mailing could go to his attention at the Aqueduct offices ...
                      Charles Hayward
                      NYRA President and CEO
                      New York Racing Association
                      PO Box 90
                      Jamaica NY 11417

                      Or you could email, Joanne K. Adams, Community Relations Manager for NYRA
                      jadams(at)nyrainc.com

                      It would get routed to him via her far better then the general "info" email address for NYRA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just in terms of PR, is a euthanasia barn, for example, going to go over better with the public?
                        Author Page
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                        Steampunk Sweethearts

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is a colossal mistake for many reasons. Is NYRA going to establish a program to adopt out or "re-home" these horses? It is easy to talk the talk but walking the walk, is a whole different ballgame. What about those TBs that ARE "re-homed" and turn up at the killer sales a year later and the last name on the JC papers is someone who still races? (Didnt they TRY to give little Suzie or Johnny a horsie that they soon grew tired of????) What about dibbling with the tatoo so it is no longer readable? There are so many reasons that this move by NYRA is just smoke and mirrors, feel good legislation. The horses will suffer MORE by being dumped (like in FL right NOW). Papers will be gone, tatoos scarred off or re done to obscure the original and I see nothing positive coming out of trying to legislate moral behavior. Dead is better than suffering. Zipping up flame suit.........................
                          The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jumphigh83 View Post
                            This is a colossal mistake for many reasons. Is NYRA going to establish a program to adopt out or "re-home" these horses? It is easy to talk the talk but walking the walk, is a whole different ballgame. What about those TBs that ARE "re-homed" and turn up at the killer sales a year later and the last name on the JC papers is someone who still races? (Didnt they TRY to give little Suzie or Johnny a horsie that they soon grew tired of????) What about dibbling with the tatoo so it is no longer readable? There are so many reasons that this move by NYRA is just smoke and mirrors, feel good legislation. The horses will suffer MORE by being dumped (like in FL right NOW). Papers will be gone, tatoos scarred off or re done to obscure the original and I see nothing positive coming out of trying to legislate moral behavior. Dead is better than suffering. Zipping up flame suit.........................
                            I think there is no easy solution. Dogs and cats are dumped reguarly at SPCAs all over the country. If someone doesn't want a horse any longer, it's a bit harder to manage. So, what are the answers to all the horses that can't or no longer race? The questions are many and there are only so many answers to helping these horses. It will be interesting to see if NYRA has a plan. I understand what you are saying, talk is cheap but there needs to be a plan....With a 2008 foal crop of 34,500+ it's only certain that the future of many of these horses will be in question in 2or 3 years...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Betsy is right. I hope that these rules create a sense of guilt and concern in certain barns but honestly horses will fall through. I know plenty of NY trainers and most try very hard to place horses. The problem is that most horses leaving the track in NY fit two categories. They are too slow or they are not sound. The slow ones may be able to cut it at a lesser circuit. The unsound ones are the ones that are at risk.

                              Organizations like CANTER (not in NY) offer a listing service for trainers to sell horses privately. I know that many of them end up with CoThers, but some may well end up in bad situations, no matter how hard the seller tries. Many trainers lack connections in the show/pleasure riding community and don't know how to "vet" the buyers or just need to move the horses.

                              There are several people that operate businesses taking free or very cheap horses off the track and retraining them. They may be willing to take horses that are not 100% sound, figuring that they will come sound with rest. Well, if they don't come sound or they don't turn out to be mentally suited for a pleasure/show career, they have to go. They become liabilities. In many cases if these horses end up in an auction, the last known owner/trainer are the ones that had him on the track.

                              Rescues of all sorts do great work. They are hampered by the non profit regulations that make every one of the horses they take in "wards" of the system. A rescue takes a 4yo TB and retrains him to be a lovely riding horse and he's a legit prospect as an A show horse. They cannot sell him for his fair market value, only adopt him out. If the adoptee gets a huge offer for the horse from a BNT barn, they may not sell him. This assures that the horse is always the property of the rescue, which is good, but also assures that the horse is "worthless." By worthless, I mean in monetary terms.
                              The way to avoid throwaway horses is to allow them to have monetary value.

                              (Rant over)
                              Last edited by Linny; Dec. 12, 2009, 04:46 PM.
                              F O.B
                              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                The announcement made by NYRA may just be their starting point, as it does seem to be old news that a racetrack institutes a zero tolerance policy. Many have done that, ours included.

                                We always felt that by telling the trainers what they cannot do with their horses, that is was our responsibility to give them an outlet, understanding full well that they have little time to follow up their horses' whereabouts, or even find the right people to take them--and then there is the issue of stall space at the track being at such a premium.

                                Turning For Home has taken over 300 horses from Philadelphia Park since May, 2008. We have a model plan that many other tracks and organizations dealing with tracks have asked about, but none of been able to come up with similar backing (meaning $$) as ours from the horsemen's organization, horsemen, and track. Not sure why...it is basically about funding and lots of legwork!!!

                                The tracks do not seem to want an on-track person to run it, but rather want to hand off the responsibility to outside organizations, but lack the funding to support the large number of horses in need.

                                If every track had a similar program, the problem would not be nearly as bad, and racing could clear its name in that department.
                                Turning For Home, Inc.
                                Philadelphia Park Racehorse Retirement Program
                                www.patha.org
                                turningforhome@patha.org

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Providing long term for horses off the track is so expensive even at the basic level that I would love to see some joining of the for profit and non profit methods. Lets face it, a 4yo pasture puff is a pricey proposition and he might be expected to live at least another 20 years.
                                  I'd love it if those horses with monetary value could be channelled to training and to a place where they could be SOLD-for profit- in order to better provide for those with issues or infirmities.

                                  I agree that I would like for this to be the first step. The problem is that tracks don't like to admit that there is a problem with horse disposal. This is especially true in NY which is supposed to be the "top tier" of the racing hierarchy. I agree with Laurie and others that trainers need to a.) be offered some outlet either via "pre-vetted" re-trainers or a sanctioned rehoming program or b.) given reasonable protection if a horse they once had turns up at a killpen several degrees separated from them.

                                  As someone who has seen many trainers agonize about placing horses, I would hate for one of these smaller outfits to be run off under such a cloud when a horse 3 owners out of his operation turn up at auction.
                                  F O.B
                                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Linny View Post
                                    Rescues of all sorts do great work. They are hampered by the non profit regulations that make every one of the horses they take in "wards" of the system. A rescue takes a 4yo TB and retrains him to be a lovely riding horse and he's a legit prospect as an A show horse. They cannot sell him for his fair market value, only adopt him out. If the adoptee gets a huge offer for the horse from a BNT barn, they may not sell him. This assures that the horse is always the property of the rescue, which is good, but also assures that the horse is "worthless." By worthless, I mean in monetary terms.
                                    The way to avoid throwaway horses is to allow them to have monetary value.(Rant over)
                                    I'm not an expert, but I'm fairly sure that is not entirely true. I do know of several "rescues" that are 501(c)3 status that transfer full ownership immediately and at least one more that transfers ownership after 6 months. There are also several that charge market rates for their "fees".

                                    In addition, that is my problem with a lot of rescues. We retrain OTTBs for resale (occasionally keeping the special one for ourselves). Financially, it makes absolutely no sense to "adopt" a thoroughbred, put a years worth of training into him and then, when it's time to sell, have the rescue invoke their right of first refusal at the adoption price.

                                    I'm a strong believer that it's much better for an OTTB to go to a trainer who is experienced with them and then be sold to a new home as a valuable horse than to an inexperienced owner that may end up with a lot more horse and trouble than they bargained for. That half starved, quiet horse will not be so quiet and compliant once he gets comfortable and puts some weight on. We also "fix" problem horses and, for the most part, they seem to be horses that have not had professional retraining.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If an owner or stable legitimately cannot pay for euthanasia, they should rethink their business plan. Why should someone else have to pay for euthanasia for a horse that became injured/unsound/whatever working for them? Euthansia and carcass disposal has to be miniscule compared to any part of maintaining a horse actively training or racing. Shouldn't euthanasia of injured/unsound or unplaceable horses be a cost of doing business in the racing industry?

                                      As for caring for 4 year old pasture pets for lifetime, maybe that isn't realistic to expect anyone to do, individual or organization. I'm sure it is very difficult, but putting a young permanently disabled horse to sleep is not unreasonable. Most people willing to keep pasture pets long term are full up with their own.
                                      "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Barbara L. View Post
                                        The announcement made by NYRA may just be their starting point, as it does seem to be old news that a racetrack institutes a zero tolerance policy. Many have done that, ours included.

                                        We always felt that by telling the trainers what they cannot do with their horses, that is was our responsibility to give them an outlet, understanding full well that they have little time to follow up their horses' whereabouts, or even find the right people to take them--and then there is the issue of stall space at the track being at such a premium.

                                        Turning For Home has taken over 300 horses from Philadelphia Park since May, 2008. We have a model plan that many other tracks and organizations dealing with tracks have asked about, but none of been able to come up with similar backing (meaning $$) as ours from the horsemen's organization, horsemen, and track. Not sure why...it is basically about funding and lots of legwork!!!

                                        The tracks do not seem to want an on-track person to run it, but rather want to hand off the responsibility to outside organizations, but lack the funding to support the large number of horses in need.

                                        If every track had a similar program, the problem would not be nearly as bad, and racing could clear its name in that department.
                                        At Penn National the HBPA has shown no desire to use their funds to support an adoption program - in other words, the powers that be would rather spend the money on less important things rather than retire these horses properly.

                                        Comment

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