Big US racing company moves to protect horses

October 11, 2008

A key player in United States racecourses and wagering operations has introduced a policy it hopes will improve the treatment of retired racehorses.

Magna Entertainment Corporation (MEC), North America's largest owner and operator of horse racetracks based on revenue, says any trainer or owner stabling at an MEC facility who directly or indirectly participates in the transport of a horse from that facility to either a slaughterhouse or an auction house engaged in selling horses for slaughter will be banned from having stalls at any MEC operation.

The policy also applies to any actions related to the transport of a horse from an MEC facility where the ultimate intended result is the horse's slaughter.

MEC chief operating officer Ron Charles, who is and President of Santa Anita Park, said the company is extremely pleased to formally adopt a policy to further encourage the humane treatment of racehorses.

"We intend this to be one in a series of steps that will be taken in an effort to protect our equine athletes," he said.

"The policy signifies the company's strong intent to deal only with those trainers and owners who have the welfare of racehorses as their primary concern."

MEC chairman and chief executive Frank Stronach said: "The goal of the policy is to forewarn industry participants who participate in the slaughter of racehorses that they are not welcome at any of our facilities across the country. I hope other racetrack owners formally adopt similar policies".

MEC develops, owns and operates horse racetracks and related pari-mutuel wagering operations, including off-track betting facilities. It also develops, owns and operates casinos in conjunction with its racetracks where permitted by law.