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AHC Update: USDA Announces Final Horse Protection Act Rule

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced final 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 final rule would make several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring. The AHC is currently reviewing the details of the final rule to determine its impact on the horse industry. However, USDA seems to have made several modifications and clarifications to the final rule in accord with the comments submitted by the AHC and others.  AHC comments can be found here.

Importantly, the USDA has made changes to the final rule that address horse industry concerns had regarding the proposed rule release last summer.  These changes include explicitly limited new prohibitions on pads, wedges, and action devices to “Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses,” and removal of all references to “related breeds that performs with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring.” Additionally, USDA has adopted several proposals to make the rule less burdensome for smaller “flat shod” walking horse shows.  USDA also has clarified that certain reporting and record keeping requirements apply only to “Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse shows.”

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AHC Update: NAHMS Equine Health Study 2015 Released

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) released the first report from its Equine 2015 study, the Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management in the United States 2015. The study was postponed because of 2015’s highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak.

Equine 2015 was conducted in 28 states, chosen for study participation based, in part, on the size or density of the states’ equine population. Data collected for the study represented 71.6 percent of equids and 70.9 percent of U.S. operations with five or more equids. This report shares data collected in regards to population estimates, equid health management and healthcare events, disease testing, farm biosecurity protocols, and transportation.

The Equine 2015 Study was designed to provide participants, industry, and animal-health officials with information on the nation’s equine population that will serve as a basis for education, service, and research related to equine health and management, while providing the industry with information regarding trends in the industry for 1998, 2005 and 2015/2016.

The Baseline Reference of Equine Health and Management in the United States for 2015 can be found at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/equine/downloads/equine15/Eq2015_Rept1.pdf

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AHC Update: Safeguard American Food Exports Act Re-Introduced

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113) has been re-introduced by Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The bill is identical to legislation introduced last Congress and similar to other earlier bills that would in effect prohibit the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and the export of horses for slaughter.

This bill cites health concerns as the primary rationale to prohibit the sale or export of horses or horsemeat for human consumption, because they are frequently treated with drugs that pose a serious threat to human health if eaten.  The bill would make it illegal under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to knowingly sell or transport horses or parts of horses in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Agriculture.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.

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AHC Update: Three-Year Depreciation of Race Horses Not Extended to 2017

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published a proposed rule regarding withholding requirements on pari-mutuel winnings. The proposed rule would make changes to withholding requirements that are more accurate and reflect the current state of wagering in the horse racing industry.  These changes, 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.

Currently, the IRS does not recognize the total amount wagered on an exotic bet with “boxes,” “wheels,” and “keys,” when determining whether the 300:1 ratio has been met and 25% withholding is triggered, only the  cost of the individual winning bet.  This greatly increases the number of winning bets that are subject to withholding and does not accurately reflect the actual amount bet and the actual amount won.

The American Horse Council and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have requested the IRS make the proposed change for many years.

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AHC Update: Three-Year Depreciation of Race Horses Not Extended to 2017

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AHCThe following is an announcement from the American Horse Council.

In recent years, Congress has typically passed a tax extender bill to renew dozens of temporary or expiring tax provisions for individuals and businesses at the end of the year.  One of these typically extend provisions was three-year depreciation of race horses.  However, Congress has adjourned for the year without taking any action on a tax extender bill, allowing three-year deprecation of race horses and dozens of other tax provisions to expire.

From 2009 through 2016 all race horses could be depreciated over three years, regardless of when they were placed in service.  This provision was passed in 2008 as part of a Farm Bill.  The change, which eliminated the 7-year depreciation period for race horses and made all race horses eligible for three-year depreciation, expires at the end of 2016. Beginning in 2017, the pre-2009 rules will have to be used, meaning owners will have to decide whether to place a race horses in service at the end of its yearling year and depreciate it over 7 years or wait until it is over 2 (24 months and a day after foaling) and depreciate it over three years.

Congress took no action on a tax extenders bill because they hope to enact major tax reform legislation in the next Congress that would eliminate the need for many of the expiring provisions. Failure to pass the tax extender bill was not due to opposition to the three-year depreciation of race horses or any other specific tax provision.

The AHC will be closely monitoring the development of a tax reform bill and analyzing its potential impact on the horse industry.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.

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