Gov Signs Bill to Look at Alternatives for Retired Horses

Bill creates task force to examine how to deal with retired racers
August 24, 2005

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee (D-Nelson) lauded the Governor for recently signing a bill (A.7649) to create a Task Force on Retired Racehorses within the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

"The unfortunate reality is that the racing industry produces a great deal of horses and often times there are legitimate concerns as to what to do with those horses when they have been retired," said Magee.

The task force will include thirteen appointed members, all of whom shall have experience with owning and breeding horses, training horses for uses other than racing, developing other potential farm or other rural economic business applications for horses, and the utilization of horses for therapeutic uses. The task force will be co-chaired by the Chairman of the Racing and Wagering Board and the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

"On both the state and federal levels there have been issues raised with regard to the slaughter of horses and how best to address it," Magee commented. "Through this task force we will be able to, hopefully, identify alternatives that will increase the value and retirement possibilities of retired racehorses."

Among other things, the task force will be charged with assessing the feasibility of promoting and facilitating the purchase and sale of more retired racehorses, supporting the Performance Horse Registry which tracks the performance and pedigree of horses, encouraging the expansion of retired race horse adoption programs supported by private donations and racing industry funding sources and analyzing current methods to train race horses and determine if training regimens can be altered to facilitate the successful retraining of racehorses for other non-racing uses.

"There is no doubt that horses are elegant and graceful animals, and through the work of this task force we should be able to find new ways to ensure the future of our retired racers that is not only good news for those horses but also for the racing industry," Magee concluded.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senator William Larkin (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson)