By Diana Pikulski
A bill relating to the aftercare of retired racehorses passed the New York State Senate with bi-partisan support and is expected to pass the N.Y. State Assembly in this legislative session. The bill, Senate Bill 1442, sponsored by State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., prohibits the slaughter of race horses and breeding stock or transfer of horses intended for slaughtered or the transfer of horses where one knows or who should have known that the horse would be slaughtered. Violators will be denied Gaming Commission licenses and be barred from receiving breeding awards.
The bill mandates that all racehorses be microchipped, requires breeding organizations to have a dedicated fund set-aside for aftercare programs, and provides that monies generated by enforcement will be dedicated to the cost of aftercare.
The bill will also increase Gaming Commission insight into transfers of horses and ownership, as all microchipping information will go to the Gaming Commission as well as to The Jockey Club.
Finally, the bill establishes a tax check-off on individual and corporate franchise tax returns that will bring awareness and more funding for the ongoing care of retired race horses.
“The reason why I love this bill is that it came from the industry itself and we flushed out the details,” said Addabbo. “We worked with the breeders and the horsemen. They were all a part of the initial draft of the bill. All around the industry, we found support and those in the animal rights groups all support it as well.”
On the bill's chances in the New York State Assembly, Addabbo said he sees no roadblocks.
“I can't imagine who can be against the ban of horse slaughter and more funds to care for the retired horses,” said Addabbo. “Importantly, there is no cost to the state involved.”
The bill goes beyond other what other states have passed on the same issue.
“In doing our due diligence, we did find this was quite unique and somewhat ground-breaking which did entice the animal advocates to embrace it,” said Addabbo. “Maybe we do become the model for other states. I'm only hopeful. The aftercare of our horses is essential so maybe we do pave the way for others.”