Mandatory Disclosure of Vet Practices Postponed

Edited press release

The Monitoring Committee for the Sales Integrity Program has postponed implementation of the mandatory disclosure of acceptable veterinary practices, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced Aug. 5.

The program's code of ethics defines acceptable veterinary practices as surgeries designed to affect permanent changes in a horse's conformation. They include transphyseal bridges and periosteal transsections, manipulations, and elevations. The code had called for mandatory disclosure of the procedures beginning with the foals of 2005.

"We have always said this program is a work in progress," Monitoring Committee chairman Reynolds Bell Jr. said in a statement. "As we were implementing this particular provision of the code, certain issues and concerns were raised about the information management process for acceptable veterinary practices. After careful consideration by the Monitoring Committee and an open discussion with members of the Sales Integrity Task Force and consignors, we felt it was best to postpone implementation of this provision until these issues and concerns were fully addressed.

"However, until next year, when a new implementation plan for mandatory disclosure is developed, we encourage sellers and consignors to voluntarily disclose this information. In the interim, we will be forming subcommittees to address the pertinent issues to make this aspect of the code work effectively."

Issues and concerns raised include development of an effective record-keeping process at veterinary clinics, and development of a centralized database to capture and maintain the information.

Components of the program that have been implemented include a public awareness campaign with posters promoting the slogan, "Act With Prudence, Buy With Confidence," being placed around sale barns and sale arenas that display a condensed version of the code of ethics. Also, copies of the entire code of ethics and dual agency forms are available.

The program has completed a mailer promoting the program to all owners that have registered a horse with The Jockey Club in the past two years, and people who have applied for credit at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton. The program also launched a Web and is developing public service announcements to air on TVG, HRTV, and in-house monitors at major sales companies including Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Ocala Breeders' Sales, and Barretts.