Both houses of the New York State Assembly have now passed legislation that would prohibit the slaughter of racehorses and breeding stock for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds.
The bill will make it illegal to slaughter racehorses or to “import, export, sell, offer to sell or barter, transfer, purchase, possess, transport, deliver, or receive” a horse for slaughter, or to direct another person to do the same. Violations of the law will be misdemeanors punishable by a $1,000 to $2,500 fine per horse, which is doubled for repeat offenders. The proceeds from such fines will help fund aftercare programs.
The new law will also require owners to show proper documentation of transfer of ownership, with liability for a horse’s whereabouts falling to the last individual in the Jockey Club’s chain of ownership records. It will also require all racing and breeding stock to be microchipped.
The New York Racing Association already has an anti-slaughter policy stating that any owner or trainer found to have sold a horse for slaughter will have stalls permanently revoked.
“This legislation positions New York as the national leader when it comes to responsibly protecting our retired racehorses,” said NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “NYRA is proud to have long supported all elements of this important legislation because it reflects our commitment to thoroughbred aftercare. We thank Senator Joe Addabbo and Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committees, for prioritizing the health and safety of thoroughbreds in New York.”
The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association also expressed support of the legislation.
“NYTHA and all our members are gratified that we are able to work with animal advocates both within the sport and in the legislature to achieve this historic legislation benefitting horses that are bred and raced in New York,” said NYTHA president Joe Appelbaum.
“This effort was a hard fought and long overdue recognition of an issue that has, for years gone under the radar. Equines have, for centuries benefitted the world, and served to advance the human condition,” said Gary Pretlow, chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering. “It is impossible to think about our lives today without gratitude for their service and usefulness, and in the racing industry, wonderment at their astonishing speed, agility, power, and gracefulness. Yet for all their value and the joy they bring to us, they often suffer from inhumane treatment by the very industries they benefit. This bill is a strong step in the direction of rectifying this and I am proud to have sponsored and championed it.”
The legislation will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
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