After constructive discussion with other members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity on animal welfare issues and working with thoughtful and progressive leaders committed to elevating the welfare standards in horse racing, The Humane Society of the United States announced the formation of its HSUS National Horse Racing Advisory Council. The council is composed of industry professionals and specialists who continue to promote higher animal welfare standards (PDF) within the scope of their involvement in horse racing.
“The HSUS is serious about its responsibility to engage with sensible leaders within different industries where there are animal mistreatment issues to find a pathway for reform,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS. “Everyone who makes or has made a living from the horse racing industry has a moral obligation to take all reasonable steps necessary to protect and enhance the welfare of the equine athletes who are the heart and soul of the sport and the business of horse racing.”
Joe De Francis will chair the council. A long-time animal advocate, he is the former CEO and controlling shareholder of the Maryland Jockey Club, which is the corporate parent of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course (home of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown).
In addition to DeFrancis, council members include a diverse set of stakeholders within the industry, including Jim Gagliano, Stacie Clark-Rogers, Allen Gutterman, Joe Gorajec (PDF), Staci Hancock (PDF) and Chris McCarron.
“I am both honored and excited to be working with the HSUS and with the outstanding and dedicated individuals who will comprise the council,” said DeFrancis. “I have every expectation and confidence that the council will be a catalyst for the enactment of federal policies for the betterment of horse racing, to the benefit of all involved: horses, industry participants and fans.”
Marty Irby, senior director of rural outreach and equine protection at the HSUS, said: “The establishment of our National Horse Racing Advisory Council is a tremendous step forward for the welfare of equines, the promotion of humane practices and standards both on and off the track, and for the economic vitality and future of the horse racing industry. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with each of these dedicated professionals who recognize the problems that must be solved and want the sport to thrive and flourish, while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare.”
The formation of the council follows the recent release of Pacelle’s latest book, The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Consumers are Transforming the Lives of Animals, which delves into the revolution in American business and public policy that is changing how we treat animals and conduct commerce. The book includes an in-depth discussion of how consumer demand for animal welfare improvements is transforming the animal entertainment model.
“The horse racing industry should no longer be an outlier in the humane economy,” added Pacelle. “It’s time for the industry, and the Congress, to adopt a set of independent rules to end doping of horses.”
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- Media Relations