CANTER: Federal Drug Bill Needs Fine-Tuning

CANTER, a major placement program for retired Thoroughbred racehorses, said May 23 it supports in concept federal legislation calling for a ban on performance-enhancing drugs in racing but believes the language may be too broad.

CANTER, a volunteer organization with 10 chapters in the United States, said the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act’s goal to “preserve the soundness of the Thoroughbred at the end of its racing career” is worthy. The organization also said it stands by the American Association of Equine Practitioners in “supporting the concept of a national uniform medication policy.”

“We believe that the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act of 2011 is an important first step in the right direction,” CANTER said in a statement. “However, with its broad application, CANTER believes the legislation as currently drafted could unintentionally tie the hands of the animal health professional in treating injured or ailing Thoroughbreds well beyond racing day.”

Other industry organizations have made similar comments about the language in the federal bill.

CANTER said the legislation’s sponsors in Congress, Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, “have shed an important spotlight on abuse and the need for reform. CANTER commends their leadership and looks forward to working with them in fine-tuning this important legislation to ensure national guidelines stop abuse, while protecting the ability to treat and prolong the quality of life for the nation’s Thoroughbreds during and beyond their racing careers.”

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