04/06/2009 11:00PM

N.Y. eyes anti-slaughter task force

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The New York Thoroughbred Breeders has proposed forming a task force with several other New York Thoroughbred organizations to develop an anti-slaughter policy and expand programs that could help horses whose owners need to sell them.

NYTB proposes that the task force include the New York Racing Association, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. NYTB executive director Jeffrey Cannizzo said Tuesday that his group has had informal discussions with NYRA and the state Racing and Wagering Board. The task force's ultimate goal would be to craft regulations to protect horses from mistreatment on and off the racetrack and to prevent their slaughter.

The proposal comes as controversy surrounds New York-based Thoroughbred breeder Ernie Paragallo over four malnourished slaughter-bound mares he owned that were rescued from a holding pen by a rescue group. Paragallo, who owns Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., has said he gave the mares to a breeder in Florida and has publicly denied ever sending horses to slaughter or neglecting them.