Southern California’s Los Alamitos race track will be allowed to remain open despite the death of thirty-one horses. A state regulatory board accepted their safety plan on Monday.
The horses died at the track during training or racing since the beginning of the year, more than double the number compared to a year ago.
The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) held an emergency meeting earlier this month to address the deaths and to decide if racing should be halted at the track. They gave the track ten days to come with a safety plan to reduce the number of deaths.
The plan includes additional safety personnel and better examination of horses in training and in races. While the board took no action against the race track’s license, it said it would monitor the plan for ‘effectiveness and compliance’.
Animal rights activists, who say the widespread use of drugs like Lasix, leads horses to break down and ultimately die, were angered by the decision not to shut down the track.
“The deaths won’t stop as long as trainers think training means drugs and running through injuries, and as long as veterinarians go along with that,” said Kathy Guillermo, a senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“The trainers with multiple medication violations have to go. A suspension would provide time to make substantial changes for the protection of the horses and to hold trainers accountable.”
Horse racing in the U.S. has come under scrutiny following the deaths of dozens of racehorses at California’s famed Santa Anita Park last year, which grabbed headlines and prompted government investigations.