Vet Group Issues Statement in Wake of NYT Racing Story Fallout

Statement from Dr. John Mitchell, 2012 AAEP president, regarding the
New York Times March 25 horse racing article,
“Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys”

LEXINGTON, (AAEP) – “There should be no higher priority for the racing community than the health and safety of its equine and human athletes. Reducing equine injuries must be the primary focus of all who care for the horse – from racetrack management and regulators to the veterinarians and horsemen who work daily in the barns.

“The racing community has a fundamental obligation to provide the best of care and oversight for our horses, and there are efforts to fulfill this mission.

Examples of programs that have been recently developed for improved care of equine athletes include creation and refinement of the injury database, certification of tracks through the Safety and Integrity Alliance, the establishment of aftercare programs for retired racehorses, and the dedication of millions of research dollars to equine health and safety.

“As the New York Times article points out, there is much work to be done. Nationwide adoption of best practices for pre-race inspection and post-race observation along with uniform medication, testing, security and enforcement policies by all racing jurisdictions are essential safety and integrity elements for all to embrace.  Commitment to these principles is critical to the very existence of the sport and most importantly, the safety of its horses and human athletes. What is good for the horse is good for racing.  The AAEP’s mission is to promote the health and welfare of all horses, and as doctors of veterinary medicine, we offer our continued support and expertise to the racing community.”

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.