On April 13th, the West Virginia Racing Commission revised its regulations to allow the agency to take action against permit holders who intentionally send their horses to slaughter. Prior to the new regulations, the management at the individual racetracks could take actions including taking a trainer’s stalls, etc. Even if a trainer were in trouble at one track, he or she could simply move to another one and continue with business as usual. Once these revised regulations take effect, the West Virginia Racing Commission could ban the offending trainers from every racetrack in the state.
An article in the Blood Horse states: “We’re proud to be part of the committee that took the unprecedented step of codifying an anti-slaughter policy in West Virginia’s racing rules,” said Erich Zimny, director of racing operations at Charles Town. “In addition to Penn National Gaming’s anti-slaughter policy, having it built into state law opens up doors to fines and permit suspensions that could impact perpetrators’ ability to procure a license elsewhere. The added level of enforcement is indicative of how serious this issue is, and that the West Virginia Racing Commission and we are committed to policing and enforcing it.”
The racing commission would be allowed to deny, suspend, or revoke a permit if an individual “has knowingly, or without conducting due diligence, sold a horse to slaughter, either directly or indirectly,” the regulations state. The same would apply to a permit holder that “has abandoned, mistreated, abused, neglected, or engaged in an act of cruelty to a horse.” Kelli Talbot, deputy attorney general for the WVRC, said there must be “factual determination” before the commission can take action against permit-holders.