20 Horse Welfare Groups Meet for Conference

National and state-based equine protection, placement, and rescue organizations gathered for the first time Friday (July 27) to discuss the rehoming of at-risk horses in America. The Homes for Horses Conference was jointly sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

The newly formed coalition will remain in communication and will meet annually to enhance equine protection in the United States.

"Horse welfare organizations need to come together to figure out how we can help each other," said Keith Dane, HSUS director of equine protection. "The personal relationships, new initiatives, and goals established at this event will have a direct impact on the lives of numerous horses. I look forward to continuing the dialogue we began here this week and continuing to work in coalition with our sister organizations for many years to come."

The new team approach to horse welfare focused on the placement and rehoming of horses as needed. Additionally, conferees joined ranks in acknowledging the many challenges facing horse rescue groups and discussed the realities and problems associated with implementing a national licensing and accreditation program.

"This conference brought together the very individuals and organizations directly involved in protecting and improving the lives of horses on a daily basis. For far too long, associations designed to promote business over welfare have attempted to portray themselves as guardians of equine protection, but that has changed," said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director of AWI. "Homes for Horses is a tremendous step forward."

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