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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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