National HBPA Position Statements
The National HBPA has recently updated its mission statement and updated or created position statements on the regulation of racing medication, the welfare and safety of the horse and rider, therapeutic medication in racehorses and the stewardship of the horse.
Founded in 1940, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and its Affiliates operate on behalf of Thoroughbred racehorse owners, trainers and backstretch personnel throughout the United States and Canada.
- Providing a representative voice for all Thoroughbred horsemen on matters integral to the advancement of Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada and at the state/province level.
- Encouraging the highest standards of horsemanship to continuously improve the care, health and safety of the horse.
- Facilitating guidelines to ensure the safety of the jockeys, trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, farriers, veterinarians and all others who regularly come in contact with racehorses.
- Supporting the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of nationwide uniform rules that promote safety and integrity in racing.
- Disseminating information on critical issues facing our industry to HBPA Affiliates, members and the general public as appropriate.
- Supporting and promoting programs and entities that provide general benevolence and other beneficial programs for Affiliates and members.
- Assisting in the development of programs at affiliated tracks providing for the aftercare of our horses when their racing careers are over.
- Promoting the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.
Position Statement Regarding the Regulation of Racing Medication
- The National HBPA’s focus has always been, and remains, the health and safety of the horse, the safety of the jockey and the safety of all individuals coming into contact with the horse, including grooms, hot walkers, trainers and veterinarians.
- The National HBPA believes a truly independent and transparent Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) composed of industry stakeholders (including the NHBPA, The Jockey Club, U.S. Trotting Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, among others) and not dominated by an individual organization, with input from appropriate medical and veterinary professional bodies such as the American Association of Equine Practitioners, must be the final evaluator of relevant medical and veterinary science.
- The National HBPA believes that RMTC-approved medication rules should be reviewed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International on behalf of state racing commissions, and following an evaluation based on science and medical research with all industry stakeholders being heard, the rules should be adopted or rejected by a majority vote.
- The National HBPA contends that uniform medication rules must be based solely on published, scientifically determined regulatory thresholds, with published, scientifically determined withdrawal time guidelines, all based on and supported by data published in the scientific literature.
- The National HBPA believes that RMTC and ISO-17025 accredited laboratories should perform all medication testing.
- The National HBPA supports rules wherein repeat offenders of medication rules are cited in conjunction with the Association of Racing Commissioners International Multiple Medication Violation Rules.
Position Statement on the Welfare and Safety of the Horse and Rider
The National HBPA has always been focused on working on ways to best turn solid industry safety and welfare recommendations into uniform national rules and standards for all horsemen to follow. The NHBPA Model Rules Working Group has a mission to:
- Gather and analyze all proposed recommendations and national model rules aimed to improve the welfare and safety of the horse.
- Collect input from HBPA horsemen on ways these rules can be improved or modified if needed.
- Engage in direct dialogue with the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Model Rules Committee on how best to design specific rules that would represent proposed industry welfare and safety recommendations.
- Help guide any such proposed rules through the RCI Model Rules approval process.
- Support at the state and/or local regulatory level any welfare and safety-related model rules that have been approved by the RCI Model Rules Committee after the appropriate interaction with the NHBPA Model Rules Working Group.
The National HBPA Board believes that the racing industry is still the best source for finding ways to improve and regulate welfare and safety in racing, and our challenge will be to shepherd all sensible proposals from the recommendation phase to the rule adoption phase. It is this role the National HBPA intends to undertake in order for our industry to better safeguard our horses and riders.
Position Statement on Therapeutic Medications in Racehorses
The National HBPA encourages the highest standards of horsemanship to continuously improve the care, health and safety of the horse. The NHBPA and its members aim to provide the best health care possible for competing racehorses while ensuring the integrity of the sport. The NHBPA position is that all therapeutic medications should be administered to racehorses by or under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. Health care decisions on individual horses should involve a veterinarian, the trainer and the owner, with the best interests of the horse as the primary objective.
The NHBPA also strongly encourages continued peer-reviewed research in determining regulatory threshold levels and appropriate withdrawal times that represent responsible use of therapeutic medications in the racehorse.
Position Statement on the Stewardship of the Horse
The National HBPA advocates respect for the dignity and the welfare of horses of all breeds. The NHBPA encourages the highest standards of horsemanship to continuously improve the care, health and safety of our racehorses. The NHBPA advocates for research toward understanding and reducing injuries and illnesses and for education to inform and support owners, trainers and veterinarians regarding preventive medicine, responsible training and the humane treatment of our racehorses. The NHBPA approves of euthanasia when deemed necessary via thorough and expedient diagnostic procedures to end inhumane suffering.
The NHBPA emboldens, fosters and provides education regarding responsible ownership and management that will reduce the number of unwanted racehorses. The NHBPA passionately supports the development and enhancement of off-the-track-Thoroughbred (OTTB) retirement facilities and adoption groups along with programs at affiliated racetracks providing for the aftercare of our horses when their racing careers are over.
The NHBPA also supports the humane and ethical use of horses in spectator events, competitions, exhibitions and entertainment in accordance with existing federal, state and local animal protection laws. The NHBPA encourages all equine organizations and individuals involved in such events to develop and abide by stringent standardized rules, policies and procedures to ensure horses shall be treated humanely at all times and with dignity, respect and compassion.