Following West Virginia and Louisiana’s request to stop the implementation of the HISA, a Federal Judge granted their request. The HISA, Horse Racing Integrity, and Safety Act are one of the largest bills targeted toward the safe keeping of horses throughout the sport. And it came as a major surprise to all of the animal rights activists and fans of the sport when a federal judge granted their request.
According to various sources, this injunction will last until the wider lawsuit that is challenging its constitutionality can reach a verdict. The decision also came as a major surprise to most who bet on horse races online since they don’t want anything to happen to their favorite horses.
Judge Terry Doughty of the US District Court granted the preliminary injunction. According to official reports, he said that the potential harm to the racing commissions of different states outweighed the defendants’, even if they were the Horseracing integrity and safety act authority.
The injunction hearing came as a major surprise to everyone who was in favor of HISA passing since it came out of the left field. And since the act as a whole was set up to determine drug testing standards for horses. This act would also go on to supersede states’ independent regulatory systems, which is why plenty of states seem to have a problem with it.
However, Doughty also made it clear that his decision was also a close one. He went on to add that his court would only be ruling on the rules that HISA adopts instead of its constitutionality. With that said, plenty of people objected to the ruling as well, with one of the most vocal proponents being Hisa’s own CEO.
Lisa Lazarus, the current CEO of HISA, was critical of the ruling, saying that it was limited in geographical scale. But most importantly, it doesn’t question the constitutionality of HISA. She would go on to say that the act does have the support of many in the sport who want to improve drug testing of racehorses in the country. They agree that there needs to be a nationwide system that protects people who play fair and holds other participants accountable when they don’t play by the rules.
The act focuses more on keeping these athletes safe to improve the sport and keep competition fair. If they fail to do so, they could run into a series of issues. However, what is more, impressive is just how much support HISA has gotten from different sections of the industry. From horsemen, trainers, racetracks, and veterinarians to stewards and state racing commissions, it became very evident that they had a lot of support.
Lisa Lazarus, despite the current setback from the ruling, is still optimistic. She wants to improve the industry for trainers, veterinarians, and even people engaged in horse race betting online, ensuring that they never lose to a doped-up horse.
Apart from getting support from people within the industry, animal rights groups have also been supporting HISA. Therefore, when news of the ruling went live, animal rights groups blasted the ruling online. According to official statements from the Animal Action Wellness’ executive director, Marty Irby, they’re ashamed to see the federal court siding with the worst of the industry.
They have taken the side of Rogue operators and officials who contribute to animal abuse and doping practices that continue to stain the industry. As the doping situation continues to get worse within the industry, animal rights groups are taking a hard stand to make sure this act passes. And until it does, they will continue to highlight every major scandal that comes out of the industry.
West Virginia and Louisiana State racing commissions have yet to comment on the ruling. Since HISA passed in 2020, it has superseded independent state-issued anti-doping practices. As an independent entity, it will create strict standards for medication practices that all states will have to follow. This alone can bring down the inconsistencies in drug testing that happen throughout various states. And as the injunction has just started, it remains to be seen if public backlash will be enough to bring a stop to this.