Edited Release — Today, as the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act signed into law in December of 2020 officially takes effect, Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action (AWA) and senior vice-president at the Center for a Humane Economy (CHE) released the following statement on behalf of AWA, CHE, and the Animal Wellness Foundation:
“We are elated the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s effective date has finally arrived after six years of tireless lobbying in nearly a thousand meetings, and an additional eighteen months of waiting since the measure was signed into law in December of 2020 by President Trump.
“We hope that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) created by the new law will remain objective and unwavering in their charge to stamp out the rampant doping in the sport, and crackdown with a fierce and heavy hand against cheaters and horse abusers that have snubbed reform and rigged the system for decades. HISA is the industry’s last chance to convince the betting public that horse racing is a legitimate sport.”
Animal Wellness Action has been leading the charge to stamp out doping in American horse racing in the animal welfare space and Irby testified before the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020 in support of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act just weeks before the indictment of nearly 30 trainers, veterinarians, and other horse racing parties involved in the largest horse-related doping scandal the U.S. has ever seen. Animal Wellness Action was also instrumental in preventing notorious horse trainer Bob Baffert from competing in all three Triple Crown races in 2022 due to drug violations related to the late Medina Spirit who crossed the finish line first at the 2021 Kentucky Derby, and was ultimately disqualified after his untimely death at Santa Anita Park from a cardiac event in December of 2021.