California senator Dianne Feinstein

California senator Dianne Feinstein

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Feinstein Cosponsors Horseracing Integrity Act

Feinstein announced her support of the bill Nov. 18.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Nov. 18 that she has joined as a cosponsor of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820).

Feinstein is the eighth cosponsor of the bill introduced June 12 by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Matha McSally (R-Ariz). McSally is the original cosponsor.

In a statement released Monday Feinstein said:  "I'm cosponsoring the Horseracing Integrity Act because it's past time that we end the rampant doping that plagues horse racing and is contributing to racehorse fatalities. We can't sit idly by while these magnificent creatures continue to die.

"Drugs, including the much-prescribed Lasix, allow trainers to mask illnesses and push horses beyond their physical limitations. The result is too often a catastrophic injury requiring the horse to be euthanized. There is no reason a healthy horse should need drugs to race. If a horse is sick enough to require medication, it's too sick to race. Period.

"The tragic deaths of racehorses at Santa Anita and Del Mar only scratch the surface of the sport's serious issues. Doping is a problem bigger than any track. It demands a national solution.

"Banning doping is one of the biggest steps we can take to clean up the problems with horse racing. It will save horses' lives, and that's something we should all support."

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are also cosponsors.

The Horseracing Integrity Act would create an independent body, overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, that would establish uniform, national standards for and oversee the use of drugs and medication for racehorses. Currently the 38 states with horse racing create their own rules.

Following a rash of equine deaths during Santa Anita Park's winter/spring meet, Feinstein in late May called for a moratorium on horse racing at the Southern California track. In June, after Santa Anita's meet finished, she sent letters to California's Gov. Gavin Newsom and operators of Del Mar and Los Alamitos Race Course urging enhanced safety reviews at those tracks. The letters supported Newsom's agreement with The Stronach Group to require an enhanced safety review of horses before they race at Santa Anita, but asked for the protocol to extend to other tracks.