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Dumped pharmaceuticals found at San Rossore, IHP requests a (new) investigation [VIDEO]


(28 November 2013)

Thanks to a transmission by Edoardo Stoppa of Striscia La Notizia and IHP, an enormous quantity of used pharmaceutical substances has been found buried, in some cases burned before burying.

Stoppa then made an unexpected visit to some of the yards, asking for information, and found horses being given inhalation treatment of substances of dubious origin, plus numerous splashes of blood on the ground. He and his team were immediately chased off the premises, without any explanations.

All this took place at Migliarino, Province of Pisa, right in the centre of the San Rossore Park, just metres from a well-known trotting horse training facility.

Upon examination of the sell-by dates it is clear that the medicines were used recently: among them were a number of vials of Tefamin and Bentelan.
The principle active ingredient of Tefamin is aminophylline, which is used to enhance the respiratory system, but can also be used as a stimulant. Bentelan is a cortisone-based drug: the presence of the injectable form of the drug suggests that, if used on horses, it would have been applied directly into joints.
Both are drugs designed for humans, and explicitly prohibited by the regulations for trotting and flat racing (they are found mentioned in sentences passed on cases of horse doping).
To be precise, the rules state that the principle active drugs in these pharmaceuticals may not be present at the time of races or qualifiers, and therefore their use in treatments, at least in theory, is not excluded during a time in which the horse is not competing. As an example, Bentelan is active for two days, in other words if it is administered three or four days prior to a race it is not considered to be doping. To be considered doping, it has to be found in the blood immediately before or after a race.

In effect, therefore, the mere discovery of these vials cannot be an automatic justification for an accusation of doping, just as we cannot, for the moment, affirm that those pharmaceuticals were used on the horses of those training facilities. However, a number of questions arise, along with a number of suspicions. What were those drugs, which are designed for use on humans, and in such quantities, doing in the middle of a Park?
How come these substances (prohibited in racing) turned up “coincidentally” right next door to a training facility?
How come they were buried and not disposed of in the normal way?
Who prescribed these drugs, and where are the prescriptions?
Where were the drugs purchased?

For the answers to these and other questions we await the outcome of investigations by NAS and the magistrature, who have already examined cases of doping in various racing stables in Italy, including San Rossore (see the article published in La Nazione).
For the time being, total silence from the racing world, and from the San Rossore Park, who we would actually have expected a statement from, particularly as the Park risks a serious blow to its image both with regard to the damage to the environment caused by an illegal dump, and the possible outcome of the investigation (given that the Park hosts both the training facility and the racetrack).
We wish to draw attention also to the lack of attention to ethical matters in the treatment of horses in these places, demonstrated by the continuing and very questionable auctions of the animals.