Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit, Upholds Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

Anti-Doping Law Can End Abuses in the Sport if the Measure is Properly Implemented and Contract with USADA is Secured

Texas Judge James Wesley Hendrix has just dismissed a lawsuit initiated by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) last year, an attempt to derail the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) that takes effect in July of 2022. The HISA, championed by U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as well as U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., was inked into law in December of 2020 and bans the use of race-day medication in Thoroughbred horse racing.

Animal Wellness Action (AWA) executive director Marty Irby, who testified before Congress at a January, 2020 hearing on the legislation, released the following statement just after Thoroughbred Daily News broke the story:

“We applaud the court for validating what we knew all along, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act well within the confines of the U.S. Constitution and intent of the Commerce Clause – some of the most brilliant legal minds in Congress, the animal protection space, and Thoroughbred horse racing prepared and vetted a bullet-proof measure that’s now the law of the land.

“It’s time for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to swiftly implement the new law as intended and secure a contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to oversee all testing and enforcement so the eradication of doping can begin. We congratulate the Authority on this tremendous victory leading up to the running of the 148th Kentucky Derby.”

AWA led the charge on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the animal protection space working with coalition partners such as The Jockey Club, New York Racing Association, The Breeders’ Cup, Water, Hay, Oats Alliance, and Stronach Group, and continues to work as a member of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity to implement the HISA, and execute the legislation’s intent. AWA’s recent written works on the issue in the Lexington Herald-Leader and Horse Nation have urged the new Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to secure a contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as the Congress intended.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Contact: Marty Irby, Animal Wellness Action