New York State Horse Council ...NYSHC

Special President’s Message from Pauline Burnes, February 20, 2024

RE: Proposed Scheduling of Xylazine in New York State and Request for Veterinary Exemption

This is a message that I have conveyed to the New York State Governor’s office after discussion and approval of the NYSHC Board of Directors. I am encouraging members of the NYSHC to contact State Legislators in their own Districts regarding this important issue. This is a time sensitive matter, as the proposed scheduling of xylazine is affiliated with the NYS Budget, which is due to be passed in April. The following is an excerpt from the letter I sent to Governor Hochul, Chairs of the Agriculture Committees, and others.

“The New York State Veterinary Medical Society recently sent me notice regarding the proposed scheduling of the non-narcotic veterinary sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant, xylazine.
Xylazine is used in veterinary medicine and is especially important when working with horses, cattle, zoo animals, wildlife, and laboratory species to facilitate safe medical evaluation, treatment, and surgical care. Xylazine has been approved in the United States for veterinary use since 1972.

Limiting veterinary access to this critical drug will jeopardize animal welfare and human safety when handling large animals for medical evaluation and treatment.

While the NYS Horse Council, Inc. recognizes the threat of illicit use of xylazine as it poses grave health and safety risks to humans when mixed with other narcotics such as Fentanyl, we feel that addressing the illicit use of xylazine is preferred to scheduling this important sedative widely used in veterinary large animal medicine.

The NYS Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) are requesting an exemption for Veterinarians if xylazine is scheduled in New York State. The AVMA, AAEP and American Horse Council are also working on this issue at the Federal level. The New York State Horse Council, Inc. supports the exemption for veterinarians if xylazine becomes scheduled in New York State.”

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