Press Release

Animal Wellness Brands Continues Work with U.S. Horse Racing Industry to Improve Welfare Standards

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Animal Wellness Action (AWA) executive director Marty Irby said this week that key leaders within the Thoroughbred racing industry are the leading voices within the horse racing industry for animal welfare issues, including ending race-day doping to enhancing performance on the track to halting horse slaughter for human consumption.

Last week, during the annual August meet at Saratoga Racetrack leading up to Travers Day, Irby joined leaders in the U.S. horse racing industry from the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, The Jockey Club, National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., co-chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus, and others in Saratoga, New York, for The Jockey Club’s annual events and Roundtable.

“We applaud the Thoroughbred racing industry for their commitment to ending doping, slaughter, and other practices that persist, and appreciate their inclusion of AWA at the events in Saratoga last week,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action who was honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II last August for his work to protect horses. “The leaders in other equine breeds, including the American Quarter Horse Association, and U.S. Trotting Association, should take a page from Thoroughbred racing’s playbook, and put the welfare of the horse at the center of their enterprise.”

AWA and its leadership team long-lobbied and advocated for passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) and continues to work with the industry on the issue of horse slaughter, the use of the whip, and other equine protection issues. Irby testified in 2020 in support of the HISA that was signed into law in December and banned race-day medication in the sport.

Most recently, AWA conceived a U.S. House-passed amendment led by Reps. Troy Carter, R-La., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and John Katko, R-N.Y., and cosponsored by Tonko, to the infrastructure package moving though the Congress that would ban the transport of slaughter-bound equines for human consumption endorsed by more than 230 equine industry organizations, businesses, rescues, and animal protection groups. The list of endorsements include the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), The Jockey Club, New York Racing Association, The Breeders’ Cup, The Stronach Group, NTRA, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization, Claiborne Farm, Stone Farm, where three Kentucky Derby winners were raised, West Point Thoroughbreds, Team Valor, Nick Zito, Pin Oak Stud, Crawford Farms, the U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association, and Texas State Horse Council to name a few.

But the U.S. Senate passed the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill last week without any provision to ban the export of live horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for human consumption, putting in jeopardy the anti-slaughter language comfortably adopted more than a month ago in the House by a voice vote. The Senate assembled anew its infrastructure bill, taking the House bill and number, H.R. 3684, the INVEST Act, but little else, and effectively stripped the provision that would have banned the transport of equines across state and federal lines for the purposes of slaughter for human consumption.

AWA remains committed to working with the horse racing industry, and larger equine world to end the slaughter of American equines shipped overseas for human consumption.

Photos available upon request. AWA’s short videos from Saratoga can be found here, here, and here.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.