Unwanted Horse Summit

Representatives from 20 equine-related organizations that make up the unwanted horse coalition met Sept. 21 at the American Veterinary Medical Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., to focus on the group's mission and to create a long-term organizational structure.

The coalition's mission, "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," was one topic of discussion.

Attendees stressed their concerns about educating the public and the owner's responsibility in reducing the population of unwanted horses. At the meeting, representatives introduced strategies to benefit unwanted horses and voted to remain united as a coalition headed by the interim steering committee that was appointed in April 2005.

"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) representative. "The health and welfare of thousands of horses will depend on the work of this group."

The next meeting, to be held in late October or early November in Lexington, Ky., will focus on finalizing goals introduced at this meeting and moving toward making a permanent stance in the equine community. Additionally, the group plans to solidify a governance structure, which includes appointing a board of directors and hiring an executive director within the next six months.

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 www.aaep.org.

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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