Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dr. James Hunt Jr, DVM, New York: Exposed in PETA Horseracing Probe

The video is, like most PETA videos, painful to watch. Perhaps the most heartbreaking is the abusive, cruel, derisive and exploitative language used by the trainers exposed in this problem against the horses they exploit for a living. "Cocksucker." "Motherfucker." "Rat." Derision and hatred and vitriol against the innocent animals they exploit for wealth -- a betrayal.

But another shocking betrayal is encapsulated in evidence of ongoing and routine Lasix administration by James Hunt, DVM, regardless of medical need or potential harm. While lasix is legal in the United States, it is banned in Europe.

The video says: "Lasix . . . was injected into all of Asmussen's horses who were being raced or timed. PETA's investigator recorded New York's top racehorsing veterinarian admit that the primary reason why Lasix is given to most of the horses is for performance enhancement." Hunt -- on camera -- tells the investigator that all of th horses "run on" Lasix because " . . . It makes 'em lighter." When asked if there aren't some horses who don't need it, Hunt says: "Probably, but it's a performance enhancer."

Although the New York Times stated that Hunt could not be contacted to comment on their story, Hunt's previous comments on this matter leave little doubt how he sees his job as a racetrack vet -- and it doesn't involve the interests of the horses. In fact, it doesn't even involve the interests of the horse owners. Previously the New York Times ran a series, Breakdown at America's Racetracks, including the article "Racing Economics Collide with Veterinarians' Oath." In this article Hunt was reported as arguing that trainers should not have to reveal the medication regimens applied to their horses, stating that veterinarians will honor the trainers' request not to reveal this information because ". . . the trainers are their real clients, not the owners . . . The board must also understand that trainers make nearly 100 percent of all veterinarian decisions regarding the medication of their horses.”

Trainers. You know, those guys who were recorded on video calling "their" horses "cocksuckers," "motherfuckers" and "rats." Those guys are the ones this veterinarian lets call the shots.

The veterinary oath includes the promise to protect "animal health and welfare" and to prevent and relieve animal suffering. Veterinarians also swear that "I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics."

You watch the video yourself. And you see if you think that Dr. James Hunt's behavior is consistent with that oath. As you do so, remember that this is not the first time Hunt has been embroiled in scandals and controversies regarding horseracing industry's treatment of its horses.

There was an interesting comment on this story over at a site called the Paulick Report: "If veterinarians were regulated, you would see an end to many of our problems. . . Vets have no skin in the game when it comes to responsibility. It needs to change." I emphasize -- IF vets were regulated. IF. And it's true that they are NOT regulated.

Watch PETA's Undercover Video Investigation

New York Times Article on PETA investigation

Prior NYT Series Quoting Hunt