NY Legislature holds hearing on race horse protection

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) — The Capital Region is known for its horse racing, but there’s always been a dark shadow over horse treatment and deaths. Now, some say racing should be banned outright.

Reducing race horse fatalities is just one issue discussed at a legislative hearing on the welfare of the animals in the state.

“We want to hear about how they’re safeguarded during the racing season, on race day, and then when they retire,” Sen. Daphne Jordan said.

The NYS Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Scott Palmer says the state doesn’t regulate training the way that racing is regulated.

“Every horse that races at a New York race track is examined by a veterinarian more than once on the day that he races,” Palmer explained. “Ok, so lame horses don’t get on that race track. But when a horse trains, the trainer decides he’s gonna train today. He just sends him out and trains him. Nobody looks at him.”

He also says some illnesses can be difficult to detect.

“Training injuries can happen because there are factors that can exist in the horse’s bones, changes in the bone can exist in there, and we don’t know about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, some animal advocates are on a mission to ban horse racing in the United States completely.

“We document horses dying across the country every day,” Patrick Battuello, Horseracing Wrongs Founder and President, said. “Over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training on American tracks every year.”

Battuello calls horse racing “cruelty.”

“When you look at what’s happened in just the past few years with Ringling Brothers closing for good, and Sea Wold in steady decline because of “Blackfish,” greyhound racing is all but dead, there are rodeo bans in multiple cities,” he said.

More information on race horse deaths and the breakdown is available at data.ny.gov.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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