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Please Read: Concerned Letter to AHC
To American Horse Council,
It has recently come to our attention that you provided a summary of the Blackburn legislation, H.R. 4098, to various members and others that was inaccurate on several counts but, specifically, regarding the Independent HIO. You stated "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." This could not be further from the truth. The Blackburn legislation allows for "consultation with" the industry and in no way does that constitute control. By your statements, you are assigning a lack of integrity to the Kentucky and Tennessee Commissioners of Agriculture, who each get to appoint 2 persons to the panel. We, however, believe in their integrity and desire to eliminate the sore horse (not the show horse as the HSUS/Whitfield bill would do) and expect that all Board members, including those appointed by both Commissioners, would be required to be free from conflicts of interest with the Industry just like the inspectors for that HIO.
Interestingly, you also make the following statement which is disingenuous - "Additionally, there are 'sound horse' HIOs that are making legitimate efforts to eliminate soring. The bill would eliminate those HIOs". The PAST Act introduced by HSUS/Whitfield eliminates all existing HIOs, and gives the management of the entire Industry inspection process to the USDA, which according to the OIG Audit failed to properly manage the inspection process for over 40 years. Is the American Horse Council willing to tell all of its members that any potential oversight for any animal cruelty issues for all equine breeds should be turned over exclusively to the USDA? That is where the HSUS/Whitfield bill is headed.
Finally, you completely fail to disclose to your members and others of the invasive impact the HSUS/Whitfield bill will have on all equine breeds. HSUS has a clear strategy to domesticate or totally eliminate the farm animal -"My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture." According to J.P. Goodwin, Director of Animal Cruelty Policy forHSUS. As currently pending before Congress, the HSUS/Whitfield legislation allows HSUS, through the USDA, to bypass any state legal authorities and go to a person's barn or house to determine if there are practices that are being used that are abusive.
The Horse Protection Act (HPA) applies to ALL equine breeds - it is not limited to the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH). The HSUS/Whitfield bill contains one change that is specific to the TWH (the elimination of weighted shoes and action devices) but the rest of the proposed legislation applies to ALL equine breeds.
Under the HPA the definition of sore when used to describe a horse means, among other items, that - -" a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such ... or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving,..." (emphasis added). Currently, the USDA has only applied the HPA and the concept of "sore" to the TWH. However, the HSUS has bigger plans.
Under the HSUS/Whitfield legislation, they have amended the definition of "sore" to include "causing a horse to become sore or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore for the purpose of showing, exhibiting, selling, auctioning, or offering for sale the horse in any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction."
This would apply directly to ALL the other equine breeds that show or exhibit horses and allow the USDA to go to a person's barn or house to determine if there are practices that are being used that cause a horse to "suffer or reasonably expected to suffer physical pain or distress..."
Even events where speed is the prime factor or rodeo events, parades, or trail rides may not be entirely exempt from the HPA Regulations if they still sell and transport horses. If a horse dies or is seriously injured, the HSUS/Whitfield bill and language could be broadly interpreted, by the HSUS, to allow the USDA to go to the thoroughbred and rodeo barns to determine if illegal practices caused the death or injury.
And if you are still wondering what the intent of HSUS/Whitfield is please read what the AVMA has stated in an article published February 27, 2014 by Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division:
Unlike the PAST Act, H.R. 4098 does not make the actual act of soring illegal; it only continues the existing prohibitions on the sale, auction, transport and exhibition of sored horses. Soring is WRONG! It must be stopped at its source, not after the harm has already been done.
Ask yourself, "If HSUS/Whitfield eliminates 85% of the TWH show horse, which is clearly documented, why do they need to change any other parts of the HPA?" Also ask yourself, "What breed will be the next target of HSUS?" Do you really want HSUS or the USDA coming to your barn and prosecuting you for any practice which they feel the horse is suffering from or could reasonably suffer from?
Mrs. Blackburn's bill, HR 4098, establishes an independent process, governance and science based inspection protocol that will eliminate the sore horse, but it doesn't eliminate the TWH show horse. Nor does it allow the US Federal government to sidestep state authorities and go to a person's personal place of business or home to determine abuse.
We would request a meeting to discuss these and other items to clarify any issues as well as any other improvements that can help eliminate soring without allowing the HSUS to take over control of the equine industry.
Jim Cortner, President
Performance Show Horse Association - Madison St, Shelbyville, TN 37160
IHC WINTER NEWSLETTER
Including Octoberfest coverage and a preview of the 2014 Hoosier Horse Fair and Expo. Click to read
Acclamation of new IHC Director Elects:
The Indiana Horse Council hosts an annual election to replace Directors whose term is expiring. Our current Board is comprised of nine Directors, three of whom have terms that are expiring. IHC received three qualified (as defined in our bylaws) nominations by the deadline, December 18. No election is necessary when the number of qualified nominees is the same number of vacating Directors. All three Director-elects have confirmed their acceptance of the position. Therefore, the Indiana Horse Council is pleased to announce our three new Directors, whose three-year term will begin in January, 2014: Dustin Birge, Melinda Gerrish and Katie Teeters.
IHC SUMMER NEWSLETTER
The new address for the IHC is:
Indiana Horse Council
1202 East 38th Street
Indianapolis In 46205-2869
Equine Abuse & Neglect Investigation Flip Chart
The information in this flip chart should be used to assist in determining the general health and well-being of a horse. This body condition scoring system is intended to provide you with GENERAL guidelines for evaluating a horse’s condition. Click to read more and view chart....
BOAH (Board Of Animal Health) RELEASE:
Spring Health Guide for Horse Owners
INDIANAPOLIS(15 May 2013)—Warm weather has finally arrived, and the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) encourages horse owners to update their animals' vaccinations now for the best protection against disease-carrying mosquitoes. Read more.....
Indiana BOAH office
Jim Kirkham Scholarship
The Jim Kirkham Scholarship Fund was established in 2013 in honor of a lifetime of service to the Indiana Horse Council and Hoosier Horse Fair & Expo. Jim Kirkham’s tireless dedication to the Council and Fair are prime examples of community service at its best. His selfless contributions to IHC ensured its continued growth and stability, through good times and bad. The Indiana Horse Council could think of no better way to show its appreciation for Jim than to endow a scholarship in his name. Click to view application.....
Remember Biosecurity During Show Season
INDIANAPOLIS (20 March 2013)—The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) advises equine owners to take precautions as they begin traveling to shows and exhibitions. Cases of equine herpesvirus (EVH-1) have been popping up all over the United States, including at a large horse show in Florida just last month and a race track in Chicago late last year. Indiana does not have any known infected horses at this time.
Indiana BOAH office
IHCF Racing Legacy Fund Grant Will Help Indiana Racehorses and Inmates Learn Skills for Their Future - Putnamville, Indiana - The Indiana Horse Council Foundation, Inc. (IHCF), has awarded $2,500 as its first-ever Racing Legacy Fund grant to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Inc., Putnamville Correctional Facility (TRF).
TRF’s Putnamville Equine Management Program gives low-risk, non-violent offenders the opportunity to work with racehorses that are retired or no longer competitive to rehabilitate and retrain them for new careers. The horses are then offered for private adoption to be used for another discipline such as trail riding, equestrian sports, backyard pleasure or even therapeutic use. Read the full Press Release .........
Applications for the Racing Legacy Fund
The Indiana Horse Council Foundation is taking Applications for the Racing Legacy Fund. Deadlines for applying are March 1st and September 1st. Click on About IHC link above.
EHV-1 Confirmed in Northern Indiana Horse
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has quarantined a Lake County boarding facility after a horse was confirmed positive with equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV). The horse was humanely euthanized after showing neurological signs just days before he was confirmed for the virus. The 45 horses at the stable will remain under quarantine until all are confirmed free of the disease.
Indiana Equine Economic Impact Report
The Purdue University Economic Impact report on the equine industry in Indiana looks at the sizeable contribution that this industry has on our economy. From horse racing, to shows, to breeders to recreational ownership, this report is quite interesting as it demonstrates what a large contribution horse owners make to our Indiana economy.
Monthly National Legislation Report
Stay up-to-date on national issues affecting the equine industry.