The Florida HBPA wrapped up a second Division Workshop Meeting on February 1st in Orlando (the first workshop was held last summer in Tallahassee), presenting recommendations to adopt and implement the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) model medication penalty guidelines.
“The FHBPA wants the Industry to understand that we are a proponent of national uniformity. The Division needs to realize that this issue will not go away without a proactive response. It is the FHBPA’s hope the Division realizes the seriousness of this issue,” said FHBPA President Bill White.
As they did at the first workshop, President White and FHBPA Executive Director Glen Berman testified as proponents of the proposed medication rule changes which were initiated by a Petition filed by the FHBPA last June with the Division of Parimutuel Wagering. Two others testified – Dr. Bob O’Neil, Gulfstream Park’s Director of Equine Health and Safety and Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium from Lexington Kentucky. Both veterinarians testified in support of the rule changes and there were no questions on the record from the Division panel following any of the testimony.
In the meeting, the FHBPA put forth its case for what it calls “common sense industry guidelines,” that are endorsed by the National HBPA as well.
“There is a movement at the federal level for legislation to control drug testing and penalties that would take away states’ rights to do so. We don’t need the federal government attempting to solve our problems and in the process possibly modifying the Interstate Horseracing Act in a way that harms horsemen and the industry,” Berman said.
The FHBPA went on to lay out its stance in five clear position statements:
- National Uniformity: This is necessary so horsemen that ship into differing jurisdictions are always aware of the rules.
- Animal Welfare: Adoption of these rules would position Florida as a frontrunner for animal welfare.
- Positive Light: It would show that we as a sport, are serious about the issues and are taking corrective action. This would also quell some of the negative publicity that horse racing is currently receiving.
- Curtail Lawsuits: Implementation would slow down the lawsuits and challenges to the Division because of the inconsistent and arbitrary enforcement of current laws and rules.
- Responsiveness & Responsibility: Acceptance would be a convincing response to current federal law that is being proposed to take medication guidelines, testing and possible enforcement away from the states.
For more information on the ARCI guidelines, you can visit their website at http://www.arci.com/.
As always, we are here to field any of your questions or concerns. Please contact the FHBPA office at 954-457-3516 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.