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US Horsemen Groups Don't Support Race-Day Salix Ban

Wednesday, 20th April 2011

The largest horsemen's groups in the US announced they "don't support a call by the Association Of Racing Commissioners International for a 5-year phase-out of race-day medication, which currently consists of anti-bleeding drugs" reported bloodhorse.com. The National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protection Association board of directors confirmed it opposes the proposal "as currently written." The organisation (which has 30 affiliates in North America) has called for a summit meeting during its summer convention (July 21-24 in Seattle) to address "key questions we feel have not been sufficiently addressed." The statement follows a declaration by Alan Foreman, chief executive of the US Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (which has member groups in 5 racing states" expressing "skepticism over the call by the out-going & in-coming RCI chairmen"; Foreman emphasised such policy "should be set by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium, which seeks consensus among industry stakeholders in setting medication policy". The NHBPA announcement noted: "As the national representative of the largest number of horsemen who would be directly impacted by what the RCI proposes, the NHBPA takes issue with RCI's strategy of pushing a proposal with such far-reaching implications without initially conferring with any of the major representative horsemen's groups, including the NHBPA." The NHBPA also warned that if the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors "calls a vote on the RCI proposal at its meeting April 18, it will vote against taking action". The NHBPA said discussion must focus on "unintended consequences" of not allowing Salix & adjunct bleeder medications on race day; the role of horsemen in "addressing public perception of use of therapeutic medications in racehorses"; alternative therapies & best practices "for treating exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging"; & the economic impact "any changes would have on the US racing industry. Meanwhile Foreman said the announcement at the conclusion of the RCI annual meeting in late March left many questions & claimed: "I don't think they know what it means. It was a headline-grabbing sound bite lacking in credibility & substance."

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