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AHC Latest News- November 2021


The following is from the American Horse Council:

November 2021

Former members

Copyright © 2021 American Horse Council
The AHC News is published monthly and we’d love to recruit you back as a member. Don’t miss out on the latest legislative and regulatory updates, along with news and industry efforts.


AHC Annual Congressional Fly-In October 28th  – Highlights & Recap

  • Helping American’s veterans with Equine Assisted Services.  Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) spoke to how evidence-based research has proven the effectiveness of EAS in helping youth, veterans, and the disabled community, Adaptive Sports Program through VA initially helped with funding for EAS with $1.5 million which was increased in 2020 to $5 million in grant appropriations.  Barr urged the attendees to contact Senators about keeping this 5 million dedicated to EAS and to improve upon that.  Barr also spoke regarding the Suicide Prevention Bill, John Scott Hannon Mental Health Care and Improvement Act.  Data shows that 21 Veterans take their lives every day in USA.  Only 14 of those had any sort of interaction with the VA in the previous 2 years – thus we need other entry points and access points for Veterans who are not utilizing the VA.  Barr offered an amendment for non-VA organizations, which passed and made it into the final bill.   Barr again asked attendees to talk to Senators to keep the house amendment on a dedicated budget.
    Kathy Alm of PATH Intl. and Ruth Dismuke-Blakely of AHA mentioned that EAS for veterans should all fall under the umbrella of mental health and keeping the boundaries clear regarding treatment for Veterans when it comes to EAS.  When it’s under Adaptive Sports, it undermines EAS as a treatment strategy when asking for reimbursement and confuses the public. Barr agreed to have further discussion and investigate strategies.
  • Guest Workers – We need them, but can we get them?  Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) who is the lead on H2B Visas, shared how we need temporary workers to help fill the vast need for farm workers and the returning worker exemption is one option or exempt/remove some from H2B.  Rep. Harris asked attendees to help his colleagues on the hill learn and understand the difference between immigration vs guest workers, as the penalties are strict for temporary work visas.
  • House Ag Committee Update Rep. GT Thompson (R-PA) shared his goal of being a strong voice for American Agriculture.  The House Ag Committee is blessed with opportunities to help Agriculture rebound from these crisis (COVID, natural disasters, etc.).
  • What’s happening with Tax policy? Jordan Harris and Mason Foley of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office spoke about the new framework for reconciliation package which was recently released.  AHC staff asked about the Build Back Better – looking to get this reevaluated and would like suggestions on raising the awareness.
  • Can another state’s legislative issues affect me? Case Studies… 11:30 AM Julie Beeman spoke regarding CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feed Operations) Challenges in CA and shared San Jan Capistrano Case Study.  Scott Dorenkamp of PRCA spoke of potential rodeo ban in Los Angeles CA. Concern that this movement will move up and down the state of CA and into CO.  With potential impact on future equestrian events that involve fixed spurs.  If Rodeo is banned, others will not be far behind, so it is in everyone’s interest to pay attention to this.
  • Senate Ag Committee Update  Kyle Varner of Sen. Deb Stabenow’s Office (D-MI) shared that thus far this year the committee has been working on confirming any administration nominees, turnover of secretary positions at USDA.  28 Nominees.  COVID relief package passed, monitoring the USDAs release of those assistance programs.  Kinks in the supply chain.  Varner also spoke about climate change and Introduced Growing Climate Solutions Act, 94-6 vote passed out of the Senate.  Intended to help USDA put more structure around carbon markets that producers are taking advantage of.  Helps provide more certainty for farmers/ranchers in getting involved with that, certification process for USDA.  Certification process for verifiers on the ground, so farmers know who to trust.  One stop shop website for producers who are interested in participating in the carbon markets.  Varner stated that the committee will start turning to more formal review of 2018 Farm Bill. Current bill doesn’t expire until 2023, so there is time for industry input. AHC staff mentioned the Equine Industry is consistently underrepresented in the USDA census data.  Making that large gap in numbers critical to address for future changes to the Farm Bill.
  • What is the status of the PAST Act?  Rep Steve Cohen (D- TN) shared that the PAST Act was introduced in June, with 209 co-sponsors initially, 234 now, which is majority of the house.  Cohen also noted that in 2017, USDA submitted a role to the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) that would take the language from the Past Act and codify it in a way that the USDA could take action on it now.  This rule change gives USDA the teeth they need to enforce the Horse Protection Act.  If this rule was to be introduced, it would likely be adopted.
  • What is the Congressional Horse Caucus and what are its priorities?  Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) noted that the Equine Industry contributes over $50 billion to the US economy annually and plays a key role in conserving agricultural land.  The Caucus Is made up of bi-partisan members who are aware of and support the Equine Industry as well as the health and safety of horses in the racing industry.   Tonko urged the attendees to use storytelling as a tool to help get PAST Act over the finish line.  And AHC offered its services to help grow the Horse Caucus and its mission – outreach, build by consensus.
  • Updates from the US Dept. of Agriculture
    Oscar Gonzales, Asst. Secretary USDA spoke about his 3rd generation connection to the horse industry and efforts underway by National Security Council, to bring in workers from Ecuador, El Salvador & Guatemala to help with season work and address labor shortage.  Gonzales also spoke about keeping eyes out for legislation to unleash a substantial amount of funding in rural areas.  Making sure that children are fed and that the needs of rural America are being met.  Reaching out to small business owners, most families in agriculture have some form of supplemental small business.  Providing workshops to find out what the needs of small business owners are. AHC staff asked if there is any discussion about reintroducing the rule change in the Horse Protection Act – Specifically realigning the language around testing procedures and protocols related to the PAST Act. Gonzales said he was not up to speed on this and would make inquiries.  AHC staff also noted that the Farm Bill is an important part of the USDA’s program funding, and the equine industry is looking to include more provisions for better horse census numbers.  AHC would like to see the USDA to find a better solution to this problem, and better realize the equine population in the United States.  Lynn Coakley of Equus Foundation asked if Gonzales had any idea why the number of horses being exported for slaughter appear to have decreased significantly in the past year?  Discussion about possibilities followed including potentially more awareness about the issue, less demand, and COVID possibly reducing the number of horses crossing the border.
  • How to get the biggest bang from Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)?  Sherry Reaves & Brenda Yankoviak of USFS spoke to the GAOA.  The GAOA provides funding through Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF).  Forest Service is the largest agency under the Department of Agriculture. National Parks and Public Legacy Restoration Fund, authorized up to $285 Million annually.  Used to address deferred maintenance (maintenance that was not performed when it was scheduled or should have been accomplished and which, therefore, was put off or delayed for a future period.  Yankoviak suggested what makes a successful GAOA project includes Priorities:  deferred maintenance reduction, visitor access and experience, supporting undeserved communities, mitigating climate change, leveraging partnerships.
    Creating story maps and connecting people to these projects.  Promoting these improvements across the country.  The more people see the impacts, the more they are willing to support and contribute.  Share your stories!
    How to get involved:  Leverage funding, collaborate on project development, provide feedback on projects, assist with data collection, and volunteer!

Thank you to all our participants and speakers.

Barr Leads the Charge on Legislation to Spur Investment in Equine Industry

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) reintroduced legislation to incentivize investment in Kentucky’s signature equine industry.  The Equine Tax Fairness Act would make the three-year depreciation schedule permanent for racehorses, regardless of their age when put into service.  Currently, Congress must reauthorize this provision in the tax law on an annual basis. 

Additionally, this legislation would reduce the holding period for equine assets to be considered long term capital gains, putting them on a level playing field with other similar assets.  Congressman Barr’s bill is endorsed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Keeneland, and the American Horse Council.

AHC welcomes new Government Affairs Liaison – Mark Riso

AHC President, Julie Broadway, is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Riso to the AHC Team effective November 15th.
Mark is a public policy professional and national lobbyist, with over three decades of public policy – advocacy experience on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. – with an expertise in the legislative, regulatory, and political processes. Mark served as Legislative Director to two senior Members of Congress and as a professional staff member on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (U.S. House of Representatives, House Banking Committee). Following his work on Capitol Hill, Mark has served as a senior lobbyist for past twenty-five years for industry associations, and passionate about advocacy.

Horse Week Re-Releases Available

“Just like your passion for horses never fades, neither does Horse Week’s brilliant video content. That’s why The Equine Network is re-releasing your favorite Horse Week classics each week from now until Christmas!

The Horse Week re-releases will be streamed each Tuesday night, at 7pm ET. Head on over to horseweek.tv for a full video lineup. Tune in from the barn, office or comfort of your couch—Horse Week videos can be watched on any smart device by visiting horseweek.tv or the Equine Network YouTube channel. Once a video has been released, you will have until the week of Christmas to watch it as many times as you like for FREE!

Climate Change & the Equine Industry
Cliff Williamson, Director Health & Regulatory Affairs

Weather has always been an important variable to the operations of the horse industry, regardless of breed or activity.  But the horse industry is facing new and unique challenges in the form of unpredictable climate. Whether it is “climate change” in the fundamental sense caused by an increase in greenhouse gasses or simply a temporary shifting of weather patterns can be left to the scientists and politicians to debate.  But it is hard to disagree with the idea that “something is happening” with weather wherever you live. Most climate scientists believe that fundamental changes in weather may be the new norm.  Like all industries, the horse industry should be alert to potential changes and their harmful ramifications.  It may be that these changes are beyond our control, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be considered and prepared for.

Climate change is generally associated with drought, higher temperatures, swings in heat and cold, changes in rainfall, increases in extreme weather events, like hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, and stronger and more frequent storms. These changes have the potential to influence how the horse industry operates day-to-day.  Such changes can also have broader effects, such as a rise in invasive species, the movement of ticks and mosquitoes, the costs of feed and hay, and increasingly intense wildfires.

Persistent drought conditions in California have created annual wildfire situations that have not only posed a real threat to local citizens and their horses, but have also impacted air quality, event space availability and forage production resulting in cascading negative impacts for the region. The hurricanes that were once considered once in a lifetime events now occur with such consistancy that traditional naming practices had to be revisited. Particularly in the last decade, the number of significant climate events that have affected the equine industry has increased to such a degree that scores of organizations have felt the need to publish materials concerning the avoidance of, preparation for, and response to wildfires, blizzards, flooding, drought, extreme heat and extreme cold.

The equine industry serves as a critical player in the preservation and protection of green space in urban, suburban and rural areas. More than 80 million acres of open space is preserved for equestrian use according to the 2017 AHC Foundation Economic Impact Study. These spaces are capable of facilitating positive environmental efforts in their respective communities, as long as they are allowed to remain in place. Because of the unique methods in which horses are cared for in comparison to other livestock species, our impacts on water, air and soil quality are generally minimal, if not mitigated completely.

The equine industry not only needs to continue to be good stewards, it also needs to be proactive and prepare. The AHC recently offered a webinar on eco-friendly equestrian facility designs (see our website for that recording). We also are working to seek avenues for climate smart solutions to help our 80 million acres of equestrian lands in the US. As part of that effort, the AHC is encouraging the USDA to include the equine industry in their discussions with farmers, ranchers and rural communities so that together we can develop innovative climate-smart practices.

Tax Consideration for Charitable Contributions in Equine Industry

If a horse or other property is given as a charitable contribution, the donor may generally deduct the fair market value of the property. However, when property given to a charity would result in ordinary income to the donor if the property had been sold instead, the amount of the gift must be reduced by the amount of the ordinary income that would have been reported by the donor had the property been sold instead of donated. Also, if a horse that is eligible for capital gain treatment has been depreciated and is then donated to the charity, the amount of the gift is the value of the horse reduced by the amount of depreciation recapture. The deduction amount must also be reduced if gifted tangible personal property does not in some way relate to the purposes that give rise to the charity’s tax exemption

To read more go to : Tax Bulletins For Members – American Horse Council

United Horse Coalition (UHC), A Home For Every Horse (AHFEH) &

Purina mail out Fall 2021 Feed Coupons

We are delighted to announce that the fall mailing of feed coupons were shipped Tuesday, October 26th  to hundreds of deserving rescues across the US, reported Carly Barrick, AHFEH Program Coordinator.  “Thank you for the hard work you do for these deserving animals! ”

The United Horse Coalition is a proud partner with AHFEH and Purina to make this happen!

P.S. We love when you tag us in your posts so we can stay up to date on your hard work and successes. Remember to follow and tag @ahomeforeveryhorse on Instagram and Facebook!

Tier Program Coordinator |  Equine Network
A Home For Every Horse Manager | AHFEH
New Email: cbarrick@equinenetwork.com


Stop New Equine Diseases! Contact USDA Today!


The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

USDA Must Stop Threat of African Horse Sickness!

USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is soliciting comments from the public related to its proposed list of pests and diseases that pose a high risk to agriculture. The 2018 farm bill authorizes USDA to compile a list of major diseases, so long as it is “likely to pose a significant risk to the food and agricultural critical infrastructure.” As a member of the horse industry, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard by contacting USDA and alerting federal regulators about the dangers of African Horse Sickness, a disease long underestimated by the agency. To make the greatest impact on USDA’s decision-making, we urge you to submit your letter as soon as possible, and “stack” the docket with pro-horse industry comments!

Take Action


National Equine Health Plan Published




The following is from the American Horse Council:

National Equine Health Plan Published

Valuable resource will help curtail risk of disease spread

The American Horse Council (AHC), in conjunction with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state animal health officials, is pleased to announce that the National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) is now available at equinediseasecc.org/national-equine-health-plan.

The horse industry is unique because horses are transported with more frequency than other livestock. It’s been seen firsthand how disease outbreaks cost the industry millions of dollars for the care of sick horses, implementation of biosecurity, and lost revenue in the form of cancelled or restricted commercial equine activities such as horseshows. In 2013, the industry felt it was time to step up and address the issue of the handling of disease outbreaks and the dissemination of information surrounding the outbreaks. This gave way to the creation of the NEHP that will outline the issues surrounding the prevention, diagnosis and control of diseases and the responsibilities and roles of the federal and state authorities and the industry.

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Congress Continues to Promote Land Access




The following is from the American Horse Council:

On July 26, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (RNR)” (S. 1633, H.R. 3400), legislation that expands the scope of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245), signed into law in late 2016.  While the RNR focuses on streamlined permitting to access public lands, the bill includes provisions that would authorize the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to promote the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.  The bill also authorizes the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and BLM to develop an interagency trail management plan that will assure uniform maintenance standards for trails crossing jurisdictional lines between the two agencies.

The Trails Act outlines a detailed program including goals and timetables by which the USDA will leverage private partners to clear trails long overdue for maintenance.  Unlike the RNR Act, which applies to both the BLM and USDA’s National Forest System (NFS), the Trails Act focuses only on trails under the jurisdiction of the NFS.

Chairman Bishop and Sen. Wyden worked closely on the bill to emphasize key issues – especially outdoor recreation permit streamlining – that will likely attract bipartisan support.  GOP staff with the House Natural Resources Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction for federal land issues, are encouraging AHC and allies to help drive cosponsors for the legislation, which currently has none.  Committee staff also state that the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will conduct a markup in late September or October, giving members the opportunity to offer technical corrections and amendments to the text.

To review a summary of the legislation, please see the following link: https://www.wyden.senate.gov/download/?id=DDF411A6-5D21-40BD-B17C-2BF73A2B9C51&download=1. If you would like more information about the RNR Act and related lobbying activity, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.orgor 202-296-4031.

Read on AHC Website

House Ag Appropriations Committee Vote on Horse Slaughter Defunding




The following is from the American Horse Council:

The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations voted July 12 against an amendment that Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) had offered to defund the USDA’s inspection of horse slaughter, a renewal of what was effectively a ban on the practice.

Wednesday’s vote against the Roybal-Allard/Dent amendment means the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Bill may move forward without any language limiting USDA action in the inspection of animals, facilities or products associated with horse slaughter. The Senate has yet to hold their full committee markup, and both bills must be accepted by the full House and Senate before the USDA could begin inspections for 2018.

Horse slaughter plants in the United States were closed in 2007 when funding for USDA inspection was halted through the appropriations approval process. Horse slaughter inspections will remain unfunded through September 30, 2017, when the current fiscal year will end. Further information will be available when voting for the FY18 Appropriations are finalized.

The American Horse Council has not taken a position on horse slaughter as the equine industry remains divided on this issue. Please contact the American Horse Council for further information.

Read on AHC Website

USDA Provides Horse Protection Act Progress Report




The following is from the American Horse Council:

On June 29, 2017 Bernadette Juarez, Deputy Administrator of APHIS-Animal Care, released an open letter to the management of horse shows, exhibitions, sales, as well as Horse Industry Organizations and Associations (HIOs), and the owners, trainers, exhibitors, and custodians of horses engaged in Horse Protection Act (HPA) covered activities.

In it she provides a progress report on the efforts to strengthen the HPA inspection program, their working relationship with the industry, and HPA enforcement. She applauded the HIOs that have made refinements to their processes to achieve their new standards, including the updated inspection guidance intended to promote consistency throughout the entire industry. That inspection guidance was posted on their website, found here, along with videos that depict the inspection process.

She ended her letter by acknowledging that “A consistent and thorough inspection process coupled with management’s commitment to fulfilling its responsibilities under the HPA are essential for ensuring exhibitors have clear expectations and can confidently present horses for inspection and participate in HPA-covered events.”

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 supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations. The AHC urges all members of the horse industry to contact their Representative and ask them to support the bill and become a co-sponsor.

For more information on the Horse Protection Act and the practices used to enforce it, please visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/SA_HPA.

The complete letter can be read here. Please contact the American Horse Council with any further questions regarding the HPA or the PAST Act.

Read on AHC Website

Efforts to Eliminate Soaring Continue


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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AHC Urges Horse Community to Take Part in USDA Agricultural Census


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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USDA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Changes to HPA Regulations


The following is an AHC Washington Update.

AHCThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced it is extending the public comment period on proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act (HPA) regulations for 30 days.

On July 26, 2016, the USDA published proposed changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the HPA. The HPA was passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” horses that was occurring in some sectors of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industry. The proposed rule would make several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring. 

This is a proposed rule only and USDA will now be accepting comments now until October 26, 2016.  USDA will then have to review all comments and release a final rule.  The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/26/2016-17648/horse-protection-licensing-of-designated-qualified-persons-and-other-amendments

The AHC opposes soring and will be submitting comments to USDA in the coming weeks. 

View The Article on AHC Website

AHC Work on Proposed Changes to Horse Protection Act Continues


This is an update from the American Horse Council.

AHCMany members of the horse industry know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently proposed changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The HPA was passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” horses that was occurring in some parts of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industry.

The proposed rule would make several changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of improving enforcement of the law and ending soring.  However, the proposed rule has prompted some questions about its potential impact on the wider industry, particularly on other gaited breeds.  The AHC has convened an HPA working group and has been engaging industry stake holders to answer some of these questions and draft formal comments regarding the proposed rule.  The AHC has been actively communicating with industry groups including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the U.S Equestrian Federation, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the American Morgan Horse Association, and the Arabian Horse Association.

“The AHC has always opposed soring and supported the enforcement of the HPA. There is no question that soring is an abusive practice that should not be tolerated or allowed to continue.  Because soring continues to be a problem in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industry, improvements to the HPA enforcement program are clearly needed and justified, “said AHC President Julie Broadway.

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USDA Proposes Changes to Horse Protection Act


AHCThis alert is from the American Horse Council. Read the entire article on their website here.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced proposed changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The HPA was passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” horses that was occurring in some sectors of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industry.

The proposed rule would make several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring.  The AHC is currently reviewing the proposed rule to determine its impact on the horse industry.  After the AHC has had the opportunity to analysis the details of the proposed rule we will follow up with additional information. The AHC Horse Show and Animal Welfare Committees will also be convening to discuss the proposed rule.

This is a proposed rule only and USDA will be accepting comments until September 26, 2016.  USDA will then have to review all comments and release a final rule.  The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/26/2016-17648/horse-protection-licensing-of-designated-qualified-persons-and-other-amendments

 The AHC opposes soring and continues to strongly support the PAST Act (S. 1121/ HR 3268) that will strengthen the HPA and finally end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. 

Senate Committee Approves USDA Appropriations Bill


The following post is from the American Horse Council.

Yesterday,  the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2017Agriculture Appropriations bill. T his bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017).  The bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including the so-called “horse slaughter defunding provision,” funding for  USDA equine health activities and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

FY 2016 House USDA Appropriations 

Horse Slaughter

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities that was  adopted by a voice vote. This prohibition will  prevent horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S. if this bill is signed into law.

Currently, No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S and a prohibition  on funding for inspectors at such facilities from last year’s FY 2016 USDA bill is in effect until September 30, 2016 . If that prohibition expires, USDA will be required to provide inspectors and horse slaughter facilities if any were to  open.

A similar defunding  amendment was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee when it approved the House version of the USDA appropriations bill.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health 

The bill would provide $939 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, including responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks.        Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumi ant health would be set at $19.7 million, this is a $200,000 increase over FY 2015.

Horse Protection Act

The bill provides $706,000  for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act a $9,000 increase over FY 2016 funding.

The bill must now be approved by the full Senate.

View this article on the AHC website


AHC Update: USDA Revises Export Regulations


This is an update from The American Horse Council.

american horse councilThe USDA has revised the regulations pertaining to the exportation of livestock, including horses, from the United States. The rule changes go into effect February 19, 2016.

Three key changes have been made that can potentially impact how horses are exported from the United States. These changes are;

  • The new revisions allow for the pre-export inspection of horses at facilities other than an export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation. As few facilities specifically built for horses are available to the export industry, this change should have a positive impact on both horse and handler safety.
  • Several requirements for export health certifications, tests, and treatments have been removed from the regulations, and instead direct exporters to follow the requirements of the importing country regarding processes and procedures. While few issues arose due to the previous regulations, this change should prevent conflicts from developing between the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and authorities in the importing country in the future.
  • Under certain circumstances, the revisions replace the specific standards for export inspection facilities and ocean vessels with new performance standards. The adoption of these performance standards should allow for approval of more specialized facilities and vessels, increasing the options available to the industry at large.

Click Here To Read The Full Article