Racing Medication Debate Plays Out On NPR

The debate about the use of Lasix and other therapeutic medications has spilled over into national news as Belmont Day approaches. National Public Radio took a look at the issue Thursday, weighing the perspectives of animal rights groups, anti-medication advocates, and horsemen who want to continue using the therapeutics currently available to them.

The California Horse Racing Board’s Dr. Rick Arthur pointed out the public’s interest in a variety of racing welfare topics has increased since the rash of breakdowns at Santa Anita this spring. Arthur also acknowledged that there was no consistent pattern with the initial cluster of 23 fatalities to suggest that therapeutic drugs were the cause of the spike.

“There certainly are a few glaring exceptions to that, but that didn’t cause this particular problem,” Arthur told NPR’s Tom Goldman.

The report brought perspectives from PETA’s Kathy Guillermo, owner John Ed Anthony, and trainer Dale Romans. Anthony starts many of his horses without furosemide, which he believes puts him at a competitive disadvantage. Romans believes it’s just common sense to use modern medical tools to help horses, and also that appropriate medication use can prevent injury.

A correction issued on the story after publication contained clarification about Guillermo’s comments with respect to PETA’s outlook on horse racing.

“A previous version of this story said Kathy Guillermo of PETA doesn’t want to end horse racing,” the correction read. “In fact, Guillermo says, ‘PETA is opposed to racing and all sports involving animals. But it’s not enough to just say stop it. We want to end the cruelties and improve conditions for horses immediately.’”

Read more at NPR

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