11/09/2007 12:00AM

Integrity task force gives final recommendations

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - The 2007 Sales Integrity Task Force on Friday put forward its final recommendations to a Kentucky legislative committee, generally sticking to the preliminary recommendations it unveiled in October.

The task force's recommendations include banning the use of anabolic steroids within 45 days of sale, printing an agents' code of conduct in the conditions of sale, and establishing a voluntary restricted-access registry where sellers can detail a horse's ownership.

In a presentation to the Kentucky legislature's Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations, the 2007 task force did add what it termed a "reaffirmation" of an earlier position on conformation-altering veterinary techniques. That position, as issued by the 2004 Sales Integrity Task Force, called for disclosure of procedures that permanently alter a horse's conformation and a ban on temporary conformation- or condition-altering techniques, such as internal blisters that can cause a horse's limb to appear more correct. The 2004 task force also recommended that buyers discovering such temporary measures be allowed to return the horse within 14 days of auction.

The 36-member task force also will form a committee "to work with all relevant industry organizations to address the technological, legal, financial, and political issues related to implementing" the 2004 recommendation on disclosure of conformation-altering procedures.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which oversaw both the 2007 and 2004 task forces, also will establish a committee to monitor participation levels in voluntary disclosures, review the policies, and make future policy recommendations.

The 2007 task force was convened at the behest of the Kentucky legislature after owner Jess Jackson called for mandatory disclosures and licensing of bloodstock agents. Jackson had backed legislation to that end, but the bill's sponsors agreed to table it provided Jackson and industry groups attempt to hammer out policies on the issues.

Jackson publicly has criticized the recommendations as "toothless."