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ASHA Statement On Hpa

Published Date: Sep 02, 2016

Many members of the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) are aware of 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 created primarily to end the practice of “soring” in some parts of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, and Spotted Saddle Horse Industries (all non-United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) regulated breeds). The ASHA remains dedicated to upholding the highest standard of equine welfare, and remains opposed to any and all practices that are designed to inflict pain or cause distress to horses, including the practice of “soring”. However, some of the proposed changes to the HPA have prompted some questions about unclear language used that would potentially include other breeds.

The ASHA, United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) and American Hackney Horse Society (AHHS) will be sending representatives to the Public Hearing held Tuesday, September 6,  at the APHIS Headquarters in Maryland. The ASHA, UPHA, and AHHS have been working with the USEF and the American Horse Council (AHC) to lobby the USDA to add clarifying language regarding their proposed rule changes to the HPA. Our main objective is to exclude trotting breeds (ASB, Hackney, Morgan, Arabian) from the regulation in order to eliminate any question about the application of these regulations to the ASB, Hackney, Morgan, and Arabian breeds. Historically, these breeds have had no soring issues.

Another area of concern is the prohibition of pads, wedges, or hoof bands (section 11.2 a. 2.) This would cause unintended consequences that would be detrimental to the health and soundness of some horses. These items are used for therapeutic purposes, aid in the comfort of the horse, add balance to their natural way of moving which aids in the prevention of leg injuries, and can help address issues in older horses, such as arthritis. We are enlisting the assistance of farriers, veterinarians, and other related experts to help educate the USDA/APHIS on these issues.

We encourage the membership to comment on the proposed changes to the HPA, specifically citing that all trotting breeds be excluded from this regulation, by clicking on this link.

Comments will be received until September 26, 2016

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