Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on recent actions by California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state legislature to protect racehorse in California:
“I’m grateful for the recent actions by Governor Newsom and the California legislature to protect racehorses. Even with just six days left in the Santa Anita racing season, it’s important we take steps now to save horses’ lives.
“I’ve repeatedly called for Santa Anita to suspend racing for the remainder of the season, and I still believe that’s the right call. Since December, 29 horses have died at Santa Anita, six after its track was resurfaced.
“The Stronach Group, which owns the Santa Anita Racetrack, has instead agreed to allow a five-member safety team led by the California Horse Racing Board’s chief veterinarian to review the horses’ medical, training and racing history. A single member of that team can prevent a horse from racing if they feel its health is at risk.
“While this is a good step, this whole episode shows why we must empower the racing board with stronger authorities. The state Senate has passed legislation that would allow the board to suspend racing at tracks deemed unsafe and after today’s committee vote, the Assembly is moving in the same direction. I hope the bill will be sent to the governor’s desk soon and urge him to sign it.
“We must also take a serious look at the abuse of the drug Lasix in horseracing. The drug is widely banned outside of North America and I believe the United States should follow suit. If a horse needs Lasix in order to race, then it’s not healthy enough to race. Period.
“These are reasonable steps that should be taken to protect the lives of these magnificent creatures, and I encourage California’s leaders to continue pursuing them.”