Work Continues to Help Unwanted Horses

Groups formalize mission statement, next steps

The equine industry's work on behalf of unwanted horses continued to gain momentum this week as representatives from twenty organizations met to advance the efforts that began at the nation's first Unwanted Horse Summit in Washington, D.C., in April.  Gathering Sept. 21 at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., the group focused on solidifying its mission and building a long-term organizational structure.

The important roles of education and owner responsibility in reducing the unwanted horse population were a key theme of the day's discussions and are reflected in the group's mission statement:

"To reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care of the horse."

In addition, participants voted to stay united as a coalition guided by a steering committee until the next meeting, which is to be held in late October or early November in Lexington, Ky.  At that session the group plans to formalize a governance structure and finalize specific strategies to benefit unwanted horses.  Additional potential goals within the next six months include appointing a board of directors and hiring an executive director to implement unwanted-horse initiatives.

"It has been only five months since our initial meeting, and I am extremely impressed with the commitment by those involved to keep this effort moving forward," said Tom R. Lenz, DVM, chairman of the Steering Committee and the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) appointed representative.  "The health and welfare of thousands of horses will depend on the work of this group."

While additional groups who participated in the first Unwanted Horse Summit remain involved, representatives from the following organizations were in attendance at the Sept. 21 meeting:
American Association of Equine Practitioners American Horse Council American Quarter Horse Association American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Veterinary Medical Association  CANTER Carriage Operators of North America Day's End Farm Horse Rescue Hooved Animal Humane Society Humane Society of the United States National H.B.P.A.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association New Mexico Livestock Board North American Equine Ranching Information Council Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Charities of America United States Department of Agriculture United States Trotting Association

For more information about the unwanted horse initiative, contact the AAEP at 859-233-0147.  The report and educational presentations from the initial Unwanted Horse Summit, which was held in April and coordinated by the AAEP, can be found in the press room of the AAEP's Web site at
September 23, 2005
Contact: Sally J. Baker, APR
American Association of Equine Practitioners or 859-233-0147

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