National Survey: Overwhelming Support for Horse Racing Safety Reform
93% Want Congressional Action on a National Anti-Doping & Safety Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Concern about racehorse safety and equine drug and safety issues among the public is sky high according to a new survey by Xenophon Analytics in Washington, D.C.The survey was conducted by polling a national database of people aware or interested in horse racing safety reform and issues impacting the industry.
In the survey, 78% of people were aware of the 2019 spike in equine fatalities, 61% were very aware of controversy over the use of medications in the horse racing industry with 83% believing that the problem was widespread and systematic.
“It’s clear that the public is both aware of and disapproves of drug and safety problems in the horse racing industry,” said Xenophon Strategies President David Fuscus. “An astounding 92% of respondents believe that racehorses are being doped and want Congress to pass the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA) before adjourning for the fall elections in early October.”
The Horseracing Integrity Act has been moving through Congress, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has announced that he is introducing a broader version of the bill, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The McConnell legislation is a significant expansion of the bill and would create a national anti-doping program and a racetrack safety program. It should receive widespread support considering that poll respondents supported a national system of equine medication control over the present system of separate state regulations by 95% to 5%.
The poll also showed strong support (94%) for racetrack safety programs, including the adoption of a national racetrack safety standards program and race-day and out-of-competition drug testing (93%).
“Sixty-nine percent of the people surveyed had a negative perception of the horse racing industry,” continued Fuscus. “But 67% also stated that their view would be improved by industrywide reforms related to anti-doping and equine safety.”
Xenophon Analytics’ Horse Racing Survey was taken nationally with a size of 3,116 respondents. The survey was conducted from Aug. 20, 2020, through Aug. 25, 2020, and has a margin of error of +/- 2%. The poll and data can be viewed on Xenophon’s website.
Xenophon Analytics is the research arm of Xenophon Strategies, which is a 20-year-old, non-partisan communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Xenophon Strategies represents clients from the U.S., Canada, Asia, Central Asia and Europe. Xenophon is a member of the Public Relations Global Network and has 50 sister firms around the globe.