Two horses are dead following Saturday’s opening day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racetrack in Bossier City.  Both horses fell on the track and had to be euthanized.  Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby says many similar deaths are attributed to doping leading to dehydration and brittle bones.

“Most of the deaths out there are tied to the horses’ legs breaking when they have either been given some drugs or run unsound.  Of course, we won’t know for some time until results come back,” said Irby.

Irby says deaths of this nature will not end until federal lawmakers pass the Horseracing Integrity Act which would end doping and provide greater safety for horses.  Irby says he’s been in talks with Senator John Kennedy about the issue.

“I hope to get him on board, but as far as the rest of the delegation they have either been silent or have just flat out told me no and that they were not going to co-sponsor the bill and I think that is primarily because we really don’t have that much support in Louisiana from the tracks,” said Irby.

Irby says it is vital to flag the deaths because no member of the Louisiana Congressional delegation has come forward in support of the bill yet.

“We are hoping to create some more awareness and garner more support from folks in Louisiana for the bill to help us move it and actually anticipate that we will see a hearing in the US House, potentially before the end of this month,” said Irby.

Harrah’s released a statement saying they were deeply saddened by the racehorse deaths adding they will continue to work with the Louisiana Racing Commission and veterinary staff to ensure the health and safety of horses.