The monitoring committee for the Sales Integrity Program is taking action to address some consignors’ concerns about how the Thoroughbred auction industry will handle the disclosure of invasive joint surgeries and other procedures designed to permanently change a horse’s conformation.


Disclosure is a provision of the industry’s new code of ethics, and it is mandatory beginning with foals of 2005, which will be offered at public auction for the first time later this year as weanlings. The monitoring group is appointing a committee that will work out the details of implementing the surgical disclosure requirement.


According to Reynolds Bell, the chairman of the monitoring committee, the group received a “number of letters” from consignors who raised questions about issues such as how the auction industry would keep track of surgeries on horses offered in multiple sales throughout their lifetimes–one suggestion was a central database–and how long disclosure of surgeries would be required for a particular animal as it ages. For example, if a filly had undergone surgery as a yearling, would the procedure have to be disclosed many years later when she was sold as a broodmare?


“Their concerns were well-presented,” Bell said, and the monitoring committee determined that there had not been enough discussion about the details involved in implementing the surgical disclosure requirement when the Sales Integrity Task Force, headed by Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell, developed the code of ethics last year. The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association organized the task force last summer in response to complaints about the auction business from the Alliance for Industry Reform and its founder, Satish Sanan of Padua Stables.


Reynolds said the implementation committee that will look into consignors’ concerns will be made up of sellers, monitoring commi