Today, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) cosponsored a bill from Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to end the use of performance enhancing drugs in horseracing. The Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act of 2011 was introduced this afternoon in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
For years, permissive medication rules have allowed unscrupulous trainers to give horses painkillers and other drugs to improve race times. Horses given such medication can run faster without feeling pain, leading to devastating injuries of both horses and riders.
"I'm proud to cosponsor this bipartisan and bicameral legislation to bring integrity to horseracing," said Rep. Pitts. "Many in our community love and care for horses and it breaks our hearts to see these animals mistreated for sport."
The Whitfield-Udall legislation, introduced today in both chambers, would improve the safety and integrity of the sport by amending the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, a federal law governing horseracing. Under the bill, race tracks that provide "simulcast" or Internet wagering must ban performance-enhancing drugs and test the winning horse plus one additional horse from each race. The legislation also would require stiff penalties for doping violations, including fines and a "three strikes you're out" rule.
Rep. Pitts added, "Rampant drug abuse does not have to be tolerated, and many nations around the world have taken action to protect horses from performance enhancing drugs. The United States should join in this movement, and make sure that trainers play by the rules."