This year’s American Horse Council National Issues Forum, entitled “Congress on a Diet: What It Means for the Horse Industry,” highlighted the current budget environment in Washington. The issues forum was part of the AHC annual meeting held June 19-22.
“Contrasting the current fiscal environment with recent equine disease outbreaks, such as Equine Herpesvirus, further underscores the importance for USDA, state animal health officials and the industry to maintain a strong partnership and collaborate in our continued efforts to safeguard the health of our horses and our industry,” said Dudley Hoskins, AHC Director of Health and Regulator Affairs.
“Presentations by Robert Perrin from the Bureau of Land Management and Anne Merwin of the Wilderness Society drove home the point that recreational opportunities on public land could be in danger,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass. “It will be important to fight to preserve adequate funding for public lands, but equestrians are also going to have to explore public/private partnerships with federal, state and local government to keep trails open to equestrians.”
Attendees received updates on the national equine health initiative, the activities of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, the status of the national animal identification system, the Americas Great Outdoors Initiative, and a discussion about how the horse industry can improve its political activities with a focus on the 2012 elections.
The remainder of the issues forum included presentations from several individuals from federal agencies, state health officials and other organizations. Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator and Chief Veterinary Officer for USDA’s Veterinary Services, and Dr. Guy Hohenhaus, President of the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, discussed some of the issues USDA and state veterinarians face in responding to and mitigating equine disease outbreaks under current budgetary constraints.
“I believe we had a very informative National Issues Forum this year,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “We brought together Members of Congress, key federal agency officials, and leaders in the horse industry and everyone came away with a better understanding of the challenges we face in the coming years.”
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. The AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day. The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.
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