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AHC’s National Issues Forum Provides Different Perspectives

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

The American Horse Council (AHC) National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, on June 12th provided a wealth of information and ideas from different perspectives on how we can grow the industry and continue to work together. Attendees were treated to insights ranging from cutting-edge research to help our equine athletes, to how we can encourage the next generation to get involved, as well as how tradition, continuity, and innovation can work together for the benefit of the industry in moving forward.

The Morning Session kicked off with keynote speaker Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association who spoke about several initiatives the travel industry has undertaken the past few years to increase tourism and travel within and to the United States. For example, a Visa Waiver Program that allows residents of allied countries to be pre-screened before entry and are given visa-free travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days. Most notably though, was the creation of a Global Meetings Industry Day that showcases the impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.

“Staying focused, finding things you can work on together, and speaking with one voice are critical to ensuring the success and longevity of any industry,” Mr. Dow closed with.

To read the recap of the National Issues Forum in its entirety, please click below.

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Extra H2B Visas to be Made Available

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

There have been reports this week that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has decided to offer extra H2B visas for temporary, seasonal workers. These visas are used for temporary, non-agriculture workers at a variety of businesses, including members of the horse industry; principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.

The government offers 66,000 such visas a year, with the 2017 cap having been met within the first 30 days of open enrollment. This left many organizations without access to the critical labor pool provided by the H-2B program. Trainers at racetracks around the country have reported difficulties in filling staff positions.

The extra visas will be available to employers that show they’d be significantly harmed if they aren’t able to temporarily hire foreign workers. DHS hasn’t decided how many visas will be offered but that number should be set soon. The department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Read on AHC Website

When it comes to your mares, trust Regu-Mate

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

 

 

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Racing Medication Bill Introduced

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

 

Today, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651) was introduced by Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY).  The bill would create a new Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Authority and uniform racing medication rules.  Representatives Barr and Tonko had previously introduced a racing medication bill that only applied to Thoroughbred horseracing. The recently introduced bill, while similar to the previous bill, has several key differences.   Most notably the new bill would apply to Quarter Horse and Standardbred races as well, not only Thoroughbred races and prohibits the use of any substance within 24 hours of a race.

The AHC is continuing to review the bill to determine its impact on the horse racing industry and taken has no position on this legislation.

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H-2B Cap Relief to Be Part of Spending Bill

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

 

Congress has reached a tentative agreement on a bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2017.  Importantly, the bill contains limited H-2B cap relief and other H-2B provisions beneficial to users of the program like the horse industry.

The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.

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Efforts to Eliminate Soaring Continue

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

 

Eliminating soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry has broad support in the horse industry and has been a priority of the American Horse Council (AHC) for the last several years.  The focus of these efforts for several years has been passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act or PAST Act in Congress. Additionally, last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) also began promulgating new regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), intended to strength regulations against soring.  President Trump’s government-wide freeze on all new federal regulations pending review has put an indefinite hold on these new HPA regulations.  Now many in the horse industry are wondering what is status of these efforts to eliminate soring.

“The AHC continues to be committed to ending soring in the walking horse industry and believes it will take federal action either by Congress or USDA to end this cruel practice,” said Julie  Broadway AHC president. “The ‘big lick’ segment of the walking horse industry has had over 45 years to address this issue and it remains a problem.”

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Immigration and the Horse Industry

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The Following is from the American Horse Council:

It is no secret that many of the workers on the backstretch at race tracks, on breeding farms and at horse shows are foreign born. Horse industry employers have for many years found it difficult to recruit American workers to fill these jobs.  For this reason, American immigration policy has been a major concern of the horse industry and the American Horse Council has worked to ensure the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs are a viable option for the industry. However, new pressures threaten the ability of the horse industry to hire these vital workers.

“The industry has had long-standing problems recruiting workers to fill jobs helping to raise, train, and care for the industry’s horses. This was the case even during the recent recession when unemployment reached 10%,” said AHC Sr. VP, Policy and Legislative Affairs, Ben Pendergrass. “Now that the economy has recovered and unemployment has fallen to around 4.7% finding workers has become especially challenging, this and other factors have made it more vital than ever for Congress to take action to improve the inadequate current guest worker programs.

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Survey

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

 

Horses in all segments of the equine industry are regularly transported both intrastate and interstate for a variety of purposes, both by individuals and businesses.   The ability to move horses easily for competition, breeding, sale, and recreation is of vital importance to the economic health of the industry.

In order to ensure the American Horse Council has a better understanding of how enforcement of federal motor carrier safety regulations are impacting the industry, we request all members of the horse industry take the following short survey. The survey is anonymous and the results will be used solely for informational purposes.

If you are an equine organization we ask that you please distribute this survey to your membership.

The survey will remain open until May 20th. If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Take the Survey

AHC Urges Horse Community to Take Part in USDA Agricultural Census

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to conduct its 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture. Horses will be included in the Census.  Every five years, USDA-NASS conducts an agriculture census to determine the number of U.S. farms and ranches and gather vital information about U.S agriculture, including the horse community. The census is a valuable tool to help the USDA determine land use and ownership, livestock populations, operator characteristics, production practices, farm income as well as other important information.

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AHC Update: Register for the AHC’s Annual Meeting

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The following is an update from the American Horse Council:

Registration is open for the AHC’s 2017 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum.  Registration information, along with a tentative schedule and link to make room reservations is available on the AHC website Events tab.

New this year, the AHC is offering discounted registration for those who register before April 15th– so be sure to register as soon as possible! 

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AHC Update: Legislation to Eliminate Soring Introduced in the House

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

On March 30, 2017, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re- introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015 (HR 1847) (PAST act) in the House of Representatives.   The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.  The bill is identical to the bill introduced last Congress and is supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations.

Soring is an abusive practice used by some to train Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition.  Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over forty years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the walking horse industry.

The PAST act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material” if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic.  These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds that do not have a history of soring.

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AHC Update: Equine Tax Bills Introduced

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

On March 30, 2017 Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) re-introduced the Race Horse Cost Recovery Act (H.R. 1804) and theEquine Tax Parity Act (H.R. 1805) . The Race Horse Cost Recovery Act would permanently place all race horses in the three-year category for tax depreciation purposes.  A 2008 provision that temporarily put race horses in the three year category expired at the end of 2016.  The Equine Tax Parity Act would make horses eligible for capital gains treatment after 12 months, rather than 24, similar to other business assets. The American Horse Council supports both of these bills.

Congressman Barr also introduced the Race Horse Expensing Certainty Act (H.R. 1806), the bill would provide extra clarity that racehorses are eligible for the Section 179 business expense deduction.  All horses purchased and placed in service by a business are currently eligible for the Section 179 deduction and the bill would not change this.

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AHC Update: AHC Comments on IRS Proposed Changes to Pari-Mutuel Wagering

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Today, the AHC submitted comments in support of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed rule regarding withholding requirements on pari-mutuel winnings. The proposed rule would make changes to withholding requirements that more accurately reflect

the current state of wagering in the horse racing industry.  The rule, if made final, will be of great benefit to horse players and the racing industry.

Specifically, the proposed rule would define “amount of the wager” as the total amount wagered by a bettor into a specific pari-mutuel pool on a single ticket for purposes of determining whether wagering proceeds are subject to 25% withholding on winnings of $5,000 or more and are at least 300 times as large as the amount wagered. 

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American Wild Horse Campaign: The Helicopters Are Taking A Break– But We’re Not!

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The following is an announcement from the American Wild Horse Campagin.

Dear Meredith,

I know that the video below of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) recent roundup in Utah will make you as angry as I am, and as committed to fighting for change.

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AHC Update: Registration Open for AHC Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Registration is now open for the AHC’s 2017 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum.  Registration information, along with a tentative schedule and link to make room reservations is available on the AHC website Events tab . New this year, the AHC is offering discounted registration for those who register before April 15th!

The theme of the National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, will be “The Power of Unity,” and will feature keynote speaker Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association. The Issues Forum will feature two panels: a Research Panel and a Youth Panel.

The Research Panel will be moderated by Allyn Mann of Luitpold Animal Health and will feature researchers from AQHA, AAEP, Grayson Jockey, Horses & Humans, and Colorado State University. The panel will focus on why research is important to our industry, and some of the research they have recently completed that is transforming the industry.

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AHC Update: Executive Actions on Immigration and the Industry

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Recently, President Trump issued several executive orders relating to increased immigration enforcement and border security. These actions will impact many employers, including those in the racing and showing segments of the horse industry, even those that rely on legal foreign workers.

For many years horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others have had difficulty recruiting American workers. This has forced many to rely on foreign workers and utilize both the H-2B non-agricultural and H-2A agricultural temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs even though these programs are often extremely burdensome to use.  Additionally, many of the workers employed in the industry may lack legal status.

Most foreign workers in the industry are directly responsible for the care of the horses upon which the entire horse industry is dependent. Without these workers to raise, train, and care for the industry’s horses, many other jobs held by Americans not only in the horse industry, but also supported by the horse industry will be in jeopardy.

Generally speaking, increased enforcement, increased competition for legal workers and greater demand for H-2B and H-2A workers will make it more difficult for horse industry employers to fill many positions.

Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

AHC Update: Horse Protection Act Bill Opposed by AHC Reintroduced

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) has reintroduced the Horse Protection Amendments Act (H.R. 1338). This is the exact same bill DesJarlais introduced last year to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA).   The bill would create a single Horse Industry Organization (HIO) that would be responsible for enforcement of the HPA. This bill is opposed by the AHC.

The HPA was enacted in 1970 and prohibits the showing, sale, or transport of a horse that has been sored. Soring is an abusive practice used by some horse trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry to intentionally cause pain in a horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition.

The AHC opposes the DesJarlais bill because it would not reduce the prevalence of soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry and does not address most of the issues raised in a USDA Office of Inspector General Report on the HPA enforcement program.  In fact it could exacerbate the situation by placing responsibility for enforcement of the HPA more firmly in the hands of a walking horse-controlled HIO.

Details of the Horse Protection Amendments Act and AHC concerns about the bill can be found here.

The bill has 9 co-sponsors; Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), John Duncan (R-TN), Marsh Blackburn (R-TN), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Diane Black (R-TN), Andy Barr (R-KY), David Roe(R-TN), James Comer (R-KY) and Bret Guthrie (R-KY).

The AHC continues to support the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) that would strengthen the HPA and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses.

Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

Trump Administration to Rollback Clean Water Act Rule

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) issued a new regulation to redefine “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Trump administration has announced it will instruct the EPA and the Corps to review and reconsider the 2015 rule known as the Waters of the United States rule or WOTUS. The rule was opposed by the American Horse Council (AHC) and other agricultural groups.

The CWA regulates discharges of pollutants into navigable rivers and lakes, collectively known as “Waters of the U.S.” The 2015 rule redefined “Waters of the U.S.,” in a manner that significantly expanded the waters subject to the requirements of the CWA. The CWA includes exemptions for agriculture, however the AHC and other agricultural groups had serious concerns regarding the 2015 rule and the AHC believed it could negatively impact horse farms, ranches and racetracks in all parts of the country.

During the original comment period, the AHC asked the EPA and Corp to withdrawal the rule in its entirety and supported Congressional efforts to block the rule.  The AHC supports the decision to review and reconsider the 2015 rule.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org

Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

AHC Update: Save the Date for the AHC’s Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Where can you find people involved in every segment of the equine world working together to advance our industry? How can you find out what projects and initiatives are being worked on in every corner of the equine industry?

The answer: the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health! Save the Date on your calendars forJune 11-14, 2017 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC.

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FINAL Reminder- We Want to Hear From YOU!

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

If you have already taken our strategic planning survey, thank you very much! We know you are busy, as we appreciate the time you took to give us your feedback. As such, you may disregard this email.

This is a FINAL reminder that we would greatly appreciate 15 minutes of your time to complete a survey to aid in the American Horse Council’s upcoming Strategic Planning  workshop.   The information gathered in this survey will be used by the board and leadership to help identify key focus areas and priorities.

Please note, responses are completely confidential and will not be linked back to any individual. All responses are due back by Monday, February 20th. We appreciate your time, feedback and insights!

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org

 

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