The office of California Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) announced Tuesday the introduction of AB 2177, the Equine Welfare and Safety in Horse Racing Act. Citing last year’s rash of horse deaths at Santa Anita Park as the impetus, the proposed legislation is co-sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“If the state is to continue to sanction horse racing and its wagering as a legal sport, addressing horse fatalities to the greatest extent possible needs to take precedence,” said Kalra. “AB 2177 tackles the practices that can lead to broken bones and death, including the misuse of medication, running horses with pre-existing injuries, utilizing unsafe racing surfaces, and more. I look forward to working with the state regulators and all those working in the horse racing industry to enact bold action to protect both horses and jockeys.”
The act mandates the use of CT scan screenings for horses; an on-site central pharmacy at tracks and the prohibition of veterinarians from bringing medications onto track grounds; the prohibition of veterinarians from prescribing any medications other than for already diagnosed conditions; the suspension of a trainer’s license, pending investigation, should one of their trainees die; authorizes the California Horse Racing Board to suspend or revoke a trainer’s license for repeat medication violations; and more.