Ban the Use of Harmful Drugs in Horse Racing

Target: Alexander M. Waldrop, President and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Goal: Ban the use of the harmful performance-enhancing drug Lasix on race horses

Furosemide (commonly known by its name-brand Lasix) is a diuretic used on most racing horses in the United States to prevent bleeding in the lungs caused by intense exercise. This is not a serious condition and the treatment is primarily used to increase performance. Like all medications, Lasix has certain negative side effects. It slows the absorption of calcium and other minerals which inhibits bone growth in horses, especially younger horses. Since horses usually start racing at age two, most of these poor animals are forced to live their already hard lives with weak, underdeveloped bones. The constant forced running is a large cause of this growth impediment and Lasix only furthers the problem.

The benefit of Lasix comes only to the trainers and owners in the form of increased race performance and is nothing but a detriment to the horses. So as you can imagine, many people in the horse racing industry oppose a Lasix ban. They claim the drug is necessary to reduce bleeding, completely skirting the fact that it is actually used to increase performance. Yes, the drug is effective in reducing bleeding, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.

In most other parts of the world, Lasix is banned in horse racing due to the negative effect on the animals. The Breeder’s Cup was recently run with a ban on Lasix in place. It is quite possible for the drug to be completely banned in horse racing. This is a simple matter of humans using medication to further exploit these already exploited animals. As long as horse racing will continue, humans need to at least stop pumping these animals full of drugs that harm them. The use of Lasix needs to be banned in horse racing in the United States and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association needs to lead the charge.


Dear Mr. Waldrop,

The issue of Lasix in horse racing is one I’m sure you are very familiar with and probably tired of hearing about. But the fact is that this drug is not necessary to the sport. For the proponents of the drug to claim that it is used for the health benefit of the animals is ludicrous. It is only administered to increase performance while it interferes with bone growth, which can have an extremely tragic outcome for the horse.

If your organization supported the ban on Lasix, along with many international racing associations and the Breeder’s Cup, racing could still continue and the quality of life of race horses could be improved. The animals are overlooked by society simply because they are not human. But they are living creatures that feel pain and emotion; also, they are the very core of your business. I ask you to help these animals that have made your livelihood possible by endorsing a ban on Lasix.


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  1. Raquel Campos says:

    The animals are overlooked by society simply because they are not human. But they are living creatures that feel pain and emotion; also, they are the very core of your business. I ask you to help these animals that have made your livelihood possible by endorsing a ban on Lasix.

  2. Horses shouldn’t be forced to race in the first place. Period.

  3. Myrna Burdick says:

    I truly don’t expect the racing association to ban a drug that might make their horses win races. They don’t give a damn about the injuries that are done to the horses – as long as they win.

    MONEY, ENTERTAINMENT and ANIMALS is the death knell for the animals made to participate. In racing if the
    horse survives the race and doesn’t win he is sold off
    and is on the short road to the slaughter house.

    If he or she is a big money winner he or she is put out to pasture to provide a by product – a new horse to start all over again. And when that old mare or
    stallion no longer produces – it is sent to slaughter or, oh my, the horse and barn burn down and the poor
    sorrowing (lol) owner collects the insurance.

  4. Lasix is a drug given to HUMANS who have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) to reduce fluid. Giving it to horses is ridiculous, absurd, and cruel.

  5. Mary Adkins-Matthews says:

    MANY MANY trainers in other countries that have a ban on race day medication still TRAIN on them.. go figure… it would be abusive to run a horse that bleeds without them if the horse bleeds. Of course the popular opinion here is to not run a horse that bleeds at all which is the most hilarious argument I have ever heard when we have an industry that already ships young healthy horses to slaughter DAILY because they are simply not fast enough. People need to wake up and smell the coffee and realize that if a horse had a decision to run on Lasix or be shipped off to slaughter, he would choose the Lasix every day of the week. Until something else is found, a ban on Lasix would HURT horses in general .. that is the TRUTH even if it is not what people want to hear. Unless we want to double the amount of horses going to slaughter every year in this industry. we had better hope there is NO BAN on Lasix unless something better is found

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