12 August 2011

UK Trainer Johnson banned four years for neurectomy, steroids

11 July 2011: Prominent UK trainer Howard Johnson appeared at a British Horseracing Board inquiry overnight “to answer serious charges that carry a potentially lengthy ban from the sport” reported racingpost.com. The trainer “is accused of running Striking Action 8 times after the 9YO had undergone a palmar neurectomy - the surgical removal or severing of all or part of the palmar digital nerves; the process, known as 'de-nerving', causes the horse to lose sensation in the back of its foot”. Johnson (who claims he was unaware horses on whom the operation had been performed were banned from racing on welfare grounds, as well as compromising jockey safety) “is also accused of administering steroids to 3 other horses in his care”. Johnson “could be disqualified for a period of 10 years if found guilty of wilful cruelty”. He commented: “I am not guilty because I asked the vet whether Striking Action could run after the operation and I was told he could. And as for the steroid job, it wasn't enough to give a cat.”

UPDATE 12 August 2011: Howard Johnson has been banned from racing for four years" reports the Guardian...
"...after being found in breach of the sport's welfare rules. Three years of the ban were imposed in respect of his having raced a horse eight times after it had undergone a denerving operation that left it with impaired sensation in a lower limb, while the fourth year will be his punishment for administering steroids to other horses."

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