Groundbreaking legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., (S.1442B) prohibiting the inhumane slaughter of retired racehorses and breeding stock was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on December 2, 2021. The new law further ensures any funding generated by enforcement will be dedicated to the aftercare of retired racehorses.
“After several years of collaborating with advocates, colleagues and partners representing different interests in the horse racing community, we have finally enacted a law that will improve the racing industry, add a key level of integrity to the sport, and protect the future fate of horses,” stated Addabbo. “As Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, I am grateful for all the advocates who contributed to creating this important legislation, as well as my colleagues, Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for understanding the importance of aftercare for racehorses in the racing industry by making it a priority in 2021,” added Addabbo.
This innovative law makes New York a national leader in protecting retired racehorses by requiring microchipping of all racehorses so they can be tracked, preventing New York's horses from being sent to slaughter facilities and kill pens, promoting accredited horse retirement and rescue programs in NY, and establishing a tax check-off on individual and corporate franchise returns that will bring much-needed awareness and funding for retired racehorses.
Individuals found to be in violation of the racehorse slaughter ban would be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by fines and a possible suspension or revocation of their license with the Gaming Commission. Funds from any imposed fines would be dedicated to the care of retired racehorses and breeding stock. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, in coordination with the Gaming Commission and thoroughbred and Standardbred breeding funds, is responsible for informing those affected by these changes to the law.
“Everyone in the industry shares the responsibility of ensuring safe and healthy lives for racehorses after they have retired. The thoroughbred racing industry has taken major steps towards this effort, but the State has an obligation to ensure greater participation which is why passing this new law is so important,” said Addabbo.
This new law will take effect in the next fiscal year, except the provisions pertaining to the banning of slaughtering horses and assessing penalties, which shall take effect immediately, along with the requirement that the breeding funds engage in educational campaigns.