One of harness racing's most prominent owners, Dana Parham has penned an 'integrity pledge' for trainers in his employ to sign, and he's shared that pledge in an open letter.
I think it’s fair to say that anyone who loves our sport had to be sickened reading the FBI wiretaps on how cavalier veterinarians, trainers and caretakers mistreated and abused horses under their care. After reading the transcripts, I wanted to do something to counter the negative implications for our sport. I also wanted something in place before racing resumed. I had some loose thoughts, and after consulting with Tony Alagna, Richard Arnold, Eric Cherry, and Robin Schadt, the result was the following integrity pledge.
I am pleased to report that all of the trainers that I employ happily signed the integrity pledge. They include Tony Alagna, Ross Croghan, Scott Di Domenico, Virgil Morgan, Jeff Webster and Melanie Wrenn. My next objective is to have all of the veterinarians associated with my horses sign a similar pledge. Also, any driver who abuses my horses by excessive whipping, slashing, kicking, etc., will be given one warning and after that, will not be asked to drive my horses for a period of one year. I did not ask trainers who train only a single horse of mine to sign the integrity pledge. I’m not going to pretend this solves our problems, it is just a hopeful start. Any other owners who would like to utilize this integrity pledge are welcome to do so.
Standardbred Race Horses are loved, pampered and maintained from birth to the racetrack by the breeders and caretakers who have chosen to have relationships with these magnificent creatures. Once these horses are placed in training and competition the vast majority of owners, trainers and caretakers continue the loving care of these great athletes.
I, Dana Parham, am committed to insuring that our beloved Race Horses are not subjected to inappropriate, unethical, illegal or inhumane treatment while fulfilling their inherent desire to compete on the racetrack. In that regard I am asking that all trainers that are in my services make the following Integrity Pledge:
As a participant in the Harness Racing Industry, I have the honour of having Race Horses as part of my life. With that honour, comes the moral obligation to stand up for humane treatment of these great athletes while they are in training and competition.
To further those values, I pledge the following:
• To make it clear to all participants in our sport that I will not tolerate any mistreatment of our horses.
• To make it clear that the use of illegal drugs or treatments or substances on a Race Horse not only undermines the integrity of the sport, it constitutes, in my opinion, inhumane treatment of the Race Horse.
• To make it clear to the whole industry that I will not do business with those who undermine the integrity of our sport by abusing our Race Horses with illegal drugs and substances.
• To support the efforts of and to urge appropriate racing and law enforcement authorities to eliminate cheaters and abusers from our sport.
This is my solemn pledge and I understand this is a requirement for services to Dana Parham.
The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.