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Contact: SALLY J. BAKER, AAEP Director of Public Relations
859-233-0147; sbaker@aaep.org

RACEHORSE MEDICATION SUMMIT REPORT RELEASED

Unprecedented Industry Gathering Yields Key Areas of Consensus

Lexington, KY -- The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) today released the official report of the racing industry's first-ever medication summit. The Summit, held on December 4, 2001, in Tucson, Ariz. and sponsored by the AAEP, brought together industry stakeholders to examine the issues of medication administration, testing, security, and enforcement.

"The goal of the Summit was to get industry leaders together in the same room to discuss how to move toward a solution we all believe is best for the health and welfare of the horse and the integrity of racing," said Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, immediate past president of the AAEP. "The dialogue and collaboration of the participants was unprecedented, and we believe the Summit was a key first step in solving the complex and challenging issues surrounding medication."

Participating in the Summit were representatives of 15 national Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse organizations - representing trainers, owners, veterinarians, racing commissions, regulatory bodies, and racetracks - as well as a number of respected individuals to ensure a broad spectrum of thought and perspective was offered.

Areas of Consensus

Through breakout group discussions, collegial debate and peer review, the Summit participants reached consensus on several key points, chief among them were:

  • Uniformity in policies across state lines and in all jurisdictions.
  • The creation of a national advisory body to address the development of medication policies and practices, as well as the creation of a national reference laboratory or laboratories to address testing issues.
  • The establishment of a broad-based funding mechanism to support the recommendations in the Summit report.

The group also endorsed the fundamental principle that any medication policy must take into consideration the health and welfare of the horse, the integrity of horse racing, the long-term interests of the breeds, and the safety of the rider and driver.

"We want to help bring about a positive, lasting change that will benefit all industry participants and supporters," said Jim Gallagher, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force and a Summit participant. "This document represents the earnest contributions of a group far broader and more diverse than that which has ever tackled the issue of drug testing reform. It is this selfless collaboration, we hope, that will lead to real progress."

Summit participants voiced unanimous commitment to continue the work started at the December 4 meeting. Next steps include finalizing a date for a follow-up meeting to develop an action plan for the implementation of the Summit recommendations.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its 6,500 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

# # #

Note: The Summit report follows in its entirety. Jim Gallagher and Dr. McIlwraith are serving as the spokespersons for this effort. Mr. Gallagher can be reached at 212-907-9280, and Dr. McIlwraith can be contacted at 970-491-4165.

 

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