After The Kentucky Derby: Efforts Continue To Improve Welfare And Future Of America's Beloved Icon

American Humane Association's century-plus history of caring for the nation's horses helps shape the next steps for equine welfare issues, including standards for aftercare of thoroughbreds

May 09, 2013, 11:06 ET from American Humane Association

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The eyes of every horse lover were on the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but now that the race is over and Orb has been adorned with flowers, those who care deeply about the treatment and future of horses are looking to see what is next for these magnificent animals. One organization that has stepped up to help ensure their welfare once their days on the racetrack are done is American Humane Association.  


Most recently the charity partnered with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Association to review, strengthen and update the standards governing the welfare of retired Thoroughbreds.   This spring, American Humane Association partnered with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) to review, strengthen and update national standards of care for retired racehorses. With the aid of its Scientific Advisory Committee, American Humane Association worked with TAA on rigorous protocols for rescue groups if they wish to become part of the alliance and receive funds for care of the horses, establish an accreditation program for aftercare organizations that handle Thoroughbred racehorses, and cover guidelines for operations and governance, education, welfare, horse healthcare management, facility standards and services,  screening and adoption policies, and ensuring a legal chain of custody, among others. 

Facilities eligible to apply for TAA accreditation include those conforming to, among others, these following broad standards:

  • Possess 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status
  • Have been operational for at least three years
  • Care for a resident population of at least five, with at least 50 percent being Thoroughbreds

Applications for accreditation must be submitted to TAA by June 1 for organizations to be eligible for consideration for grants in 2013 and 2014. The complete Code of Standards for aftercare facilities and the accreditation application are available at

For 136 years American Humane Association, the nation's leading charity in the protection of children and animals, has worked tirelessly for the protection of not only racehorses, but all equines. Since its founding in 1877 American Humane Association has helped to safeguard, rescue and care for hundreds of thousands of horses from all walks of life. During World War I, American Humane Association worked to rescue more than 68,000 wounded horses each month on the battlefields of Europe. This team became known as Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services, and for nearly 100 years, has traveled around the country and globe to care for animals including many horses who had been abandoned, neglected, or caught in manmade and natural disasters.  In 1939, American Humane Association created its famous Film and Television Unit (the issuers of the "No Animals Were Harmed® end-credit) to oversee the treatment of animal actors after a horse who was forced to run off a cliff and died during the filming of Jesse James.  In recent years, American Humane Association has been involved in numerous rescues involving cruelty and abandonment cases around the country.  The organization also conducts groundbreaking research benefiting horses through its Animal Welfare Research Institute. Last year, the organization funded a study of lameness exhibited in foals. This research will help to show which young equines are predisposed to phalanx fractures and what an expected recovery time could be. The Association is currently reviewing another equine lameness study, and will publish the results later in the fall.

"Horses are special creatures to so many Americans, and have been crucial to shaping this country's history," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's President and CEO. "Although the Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse-related event in our country, it is important that we do not lose focus and forget the extraordinary amount of care these beautiful animals need. American Humane Association remains committed to equine issues and is always looking to the future on ways in which we can ensure their welfare, wellness, and well-being, just as we have every day since 1877."

About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

SOURCE American Humane Association