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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

Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is scheduled to testify before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee this Wednesday, June 21. He will defend his Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which asks Congress to lift the ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and selling these cherished animals for slaughter.

WHY YOU SHOULD ACT: The Senators on this subcommittee play a key role in determining whether as many as 92,000 wild horses and burros will be slaughtered and their wild populations reduced to near-extinction levels.

WHAT TO SAY:  Call your Senator, or subcommittee leadership, if your Senator is not included on the list below. Suggested message: “My name is _____ calling from _____.  Please ask Senator  _____  to strongly oppose the BLM’s budget request to lift the ban on killing healthy horses and burros and selling these animals ‘without restriction,’ which would lead to the brutal slaughter of thousands. Please require the BLM to use humane birth control, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, not killing to manage our wild horses and burros.” 

WHO YOU SHOULD CALL:

ALASKA RESIDENTS: Call Senator Lisa Murkowski, 202-224-6665. Follow up with a personal message: CLICK HERE

CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: Call Senator Dianne Feinstein, 202-224-3841. If this is busy call her office in San Francisco (415-393-0707) or Los Angeles (310-914-7300). Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

MARYLAND RESIDENTS: Call Senator Chris Van Hollen, 202-224-4654. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

MONTANA RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jon Tester, 202-224-2644. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

NEW MEXICO RESIDENTS: Call Senator Tom Udall, 202-224-6621. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

OREGON RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jeff Merkley, 202-224-3753. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE (Choose “share your opinion on bills or other issues”)

RHODE ISLAND RESIDENTS: Call Senator Jack Reed, 202-224-4642. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

VERMONT RESIDENTS: Call Senator Patrick Leahy, 202-224-4242. Follow up by sending a personal message: CLICK HERE.

RESIDENTS OF ALL OTHER STATES: Call Subcommittee Chair Lisa Murkowski, 202-224-6665 and Ranking Member Tom Udall: 202-224-6621. Even though you are not a constituent, let them know that you are calling because our public lands and our wild horses and burros belong to all Americans, and all Americans should have a say in how they are managed

Remember: Please be polite and respectful in order to be the most effective voice possible for our wild horses and burros! Thank you!!

– The AWHC Team

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Have You Called Congress Yet?

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Your Representatives in DC Will Decide Whether Thousands Will be Slaughtered

Tens of thousands of innocent, federally protected wild horses and burros are in danger of being killed or sold for slaughter if Congress approves the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2018 budget request. The BLM is asking Congress to lift the ban on destroying healthy mustangs and burros and selling those in holding facilities for slaughter. If Congress approves this request, the mass killing of the 46,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities and the 46,000 “excess” animals on the range would begin.

We can stop this, but only if your elected representatives in Washington, DC hear from you! Our wild horses and burros don’t have a voice, so we must speak up on their behalf to save them from a horrific fate… It only takes a minute – please take action below – today!

 

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UHC Members Meet in June

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The following is from the Unwanted Horse Coalition:

The UHC will be hosting its annual meeting in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum in Washington DC.  UHC member organizations and guests will hear program updates, review survey results and discuss the coalition’s objectives for the upcoming year.

For a full list of members, visit www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org/member-organizations/ or to inquire about UHC membership and programs, contact the UHC office at uhc@horsecouncil.org.

 

Read on UHC Website

Omnibus Spending Bill Creates Danger for Wild Horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Danger for Wild Horses and Burros on Capitol Hill

Congress just passed an Omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the next five months – until the end of Fiscal Year 2017. The good news: Congress maintained the de facto ban on domestic horse slaughter and the prohibition against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) sale for slaughter or killing of captured wild horses and burros. More troubling, though, is a provision in Section 116 that allows the BLM to strip wild horses and burros of federal protection and transfer them to state, federal and local agencies for use as “work animals.”  

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EMERGENCY ALERT: Danger on Capitol Hill

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

I’m sorry to have to give you some devastating news. In the wee hours of Monday morning, Congress released a 1,600+ page spending bill for 2017. Buried on page 804 is Section 116, which allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to strip wild horses and burros of federal protection and “immediately” transfer them to state and local governments for use as “work animals.”

But with no definition of work animal, and no limit to the number of horses and burros that can be transferred, this language could provide a back door route to killing thousands of these national legacy animals. Although Congress added language prohibiting commercial slaughter and putting some restrictions on “euthanasia,” signalling its intent to prevent the killing of healthy horses. However, ambiguities and loopholes in the language leave it open to abuse. Especially at risk are the older mustangs and burros, now protected under federal law. Under the language these majestic, elder animals could be killed simply due to “advanced age,” a term that is undefined.

We can’t let this stand…Congress should not be allowed to undermine the will of the American people and a unanimously-passed Act of Congress – the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act – through a last-minute spending bill. 

We have just hours to make our voices heard… Please click below NOW to call and send a message to key appropriators asking them to strip this devastating provision that could result in the killing of thousands – and potentially tens of thousands — of America’s cherished wild horses and burros.

If you do one thing for wild horses and burros, please do this now!

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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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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

 

Final Horse Protection Act Regulations on Hold

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Recently, President Trump ordered a government wide freeze on all new federal regulations pending review. This order has put an indefinite hold on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) final regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

On January 13, 2017, USDA announced a final HPA rule.   However, the final rule was not published in the Federal Register before President Trump issued his order to all federal agencies to withdrawal all regulations that had not yet been published pending review. The final rule would have made several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring.

It will now be up to the Trump administration to decide whether or not to finalize the HPA rule. There is no timeline for review of the rule and the new administration could decide to issue a final rule at any time or withdrawal the rule completely. The HPA enforcement program will continue to operate under the current HPA regulations.

Click Here To Read the Article on AHC

Speakers For First Quarter Webinar Announced

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

On February 13th at 3:00 pm ET, the American Horse Council will host its first quarterly webinar for 2017. The topic will be “Climate Change and Equines.”

“While the cause of climate change is of course a debated subject, there is no debate that climate change effects animals, sometimes drastically,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “We wanted to educate people on understanding how your horses may be effected by these climate changes, and how you can be better prepared to keep your horses safe and comfortable with these changes.”

David Herring, Director of Communication & Education at the NOAA Climate Program Office will be the featured speaker. Mr. Herring will discuss how they see changes in the weather affecting not only horses themselves, but also the areas in which they live, show, and are ridden. “Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and record-breaking snow and rain have devastated farms around the country recently,” said Mr. Herring. “We want people to be aware of how these potential changes in the climate can drastically affect their animals and their well-being.”

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