Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Racing Economics Collide With Veterinarians’ Oath
Only after Bourbon Bandit broke a leg racing last November did his owner, Susan Kayne, learn the full extent of prescription drugs that veterinarians had given him at Belmont Park on Long Island. Until then, Ms. Kayne had believed that Bourbon Bandit was “sound and healthy,” because that is what her trainer told her, she said. But new veterinary bills arrived, showing that the horse had been treated regularly with clenbuterol, a widely abused medication for breathing problems that can build muscle by mimicking anabolic steroids. “If a horse is sound, why does it need all these drugs?” she asked. “I never gave consent.” Gene and Eileen Hartis said they, too, were shocked by their bill, from a California veterinarian, showing that in just over three months in 2010, their graded stakes winner, Princess Haya, had been given drugs for pain, soreness and swelling 34 times, as well as seven doses of clenbuterol. “It’s so contrary to our philosophy that we explained in length to our vet and trainer,” Mr. Hartis said. More than anyone in the sport, racetrack veterinarians are supposed to put the horse first, having taken an oath to protect “animal health and welfare.” Yet in the shed rows of America’s racetracks and at private training centers, racehorse veterinarians often live by a different code — unique in the veterinary community — one that emphasizes drugs to keep horses racing and winning rather than treating soreness or injury through rest or other less aggressive means, according to dozens of interviews and a review of medical and regulatory records. Only veterinarians can legally prescribe medicine, yet they often let trainers, who are paid to win races, make medical decisions, including which drugs to use. These veterinarians also have a powerful financial incentive to prescribe drugs: they are both doctor and drugstore, and so the more drugs they prescribe, the more money they make. Selling and administering drugs, in fact, accounts for most of their income...more