The chairman of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA), Mr. Louis Romanet, has issued the following statement on behalf of the organization regarding animal cruelty allegations which have been recently aired in connection with United States racing.
Animal welfare is a core value of the IFHA. The IFHA's code of global industry standards states unequivocally that practices which jeopardize the health and welfare of the horse are inappropriate and prohibited. The IFHA is aware of the situation in the United States concerning allegations raised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and reported on 20 March 2014 by The New York Times. The IFHA encourages U.S. racing regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their investigation of these matters.
Two key missions of the IFHA are to ensure the quality and fairness of racing in the interest of both the breeding and the public and to provide the organization on racecourses of the protection of the welfare of horses, jockeys, and the people attending. Any matter that is threat to these fundamental ideals must be promptly handled by the appropriate regulatory authorities.
In the upcoming meetings of the IFHA, including the executive council meeting on 5 May 2014 in Hong Kong, the appropriate committees of the federation will reaffirm its pledge to actively address all horse welfare and medication issues at both the local and international level. These include a proficiency and quality control proposal intended to ensure the highest level of capability and performance in anti-doping testing throughout the world by racing analytical laboratories.
In addition, the IFHA fully supports its North American colleagues who seek a comprehensive national reform of medication rules, laboratory standards, and penalties. The adoption of a national uniform medication program is paramount to the reform of medication rules in North America and demonstrates the value of regulatory authorities working together to harmonize racing rules.