Sen. Allison DeGazon clarifies intentions of Horse Bill and impacts on economy
Sen. Allison DeGazon wants to clear up misconceptions about her horse bill, noting that the intent of the bill is to function as an economic tool.
“Some individuals have created the idea that the bill is granting exemptions to any random horse owner and that is not the case,” DeGazon said.
For starters, she said, someone merely having horses or any livestock on their property does not constitute receiving any exemptions as there are necessary licenses, certificates and registrations in place to even receive such benefits. Insinuating that all it takes to receive benefits is having livestock on your property represents a clear lack of understanding for the law, whether it is for horses or not, according to the senator.
Horses, as according to the US Congress, is defined as livestock as of 2018 while also noting that horses are not meant for consumption. However, to avoid miscommunication according to DeGazon, the bill has already been submitted with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, and it will be removed from Title Seven of the VI Code that addresses agriculture and livestock.
The bill, she said, will instead be included in a different section, and still offer technical support and agricultural services for those horse owners as intended previously.
“Like many other bills, it needs retooling, but when it comes out of rules it will be a strong economic tool that will improve and enhance a viable horse racing industry,” DeGazon said.
As the territory moves to joining the rest of the United States and the Caribbean region with a profitable horse racing industry, the bill also aims to keep revenues from horses inside the territory such as: buying and breeding horses locally, exportation of horses from the Virgin Islands to wider markets, the circulation of funds from local feed shops, and support and training for local veterinary practices.
According to DeGazon, horse owners in the territory must register their thoroughbred horses with the VI Horse Racing Commission and the National Jockey Club, as recommended by Senator Vialet.
“Our goal is building the horse racing industry that will generate revenue, not a frivolous exemption that will take money from the government,” DeGazon said.