Written by Jeff Mackey
In a huge victory for horses—one that's sure to get even
bigger as its effects are felt throughout the racing industry—the Kentucky
Horse Racing Commission has approved
a plan to phase out the use of the race-day medication furosemide, also known as Lasix
and Salix, in races in the bluegrass state, following pressure from PETA, The Jockey Club, and other
progressive forces within the industry to ban
this dangerous practice.
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As PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo explained when she addressed the commission in November, the prevalence of catastrophic breakdowns in horses has sparked a
backlash against risky procedures such as the use of powerful
Lasix, a powerful diuretic, not only causes horses to lose about
2 percent of their body weight in water (resulting in a weight advantage of
roughly 20 pounds) but also increases urine production, which can mask the
presence of other—often illegal—drugs by "flushing out" a horse's
system. This enables unscrupulous trainers and veterinarians to run injured
horses when they should be recovering by giving them a variety of drugs to mask
pain and control inflammation, leading to breakdowns.
Most countries ban the use of Lasix on race days because of
its performance-enhancing qualities, yet more than 90 percent of thoroughbreds
in the U.S. are given the drug just hours before they race. But thanks to the
efforts of PETA and other advocates for horses, the tide is turning.
With this latest victory, Lasix will be banned in 2014 for
all 2-year-old graded and listed stakes races in Kentucky. Starting in 2015,
Lasix will be banned in all 3-year-old graded and listed stakes races, which
means that the Kentucky Derby will be Lasix-free in 2015! The next year, Lasix
will be prohibited from all graded and listed stakes races regardless of age.
Join PETA in celebrating this important victory by keeping
the momentum going—please contact your members of Congress and ask them to
support the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act, which will ban the use of
performance-enhancing drugs and increase drug testing in all races.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.