USDA to Host Listening Session on Soring at Ky. Horse Park

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) Animal Care Program will be holding listening sessions throughout the United States during March and April to obtain public feedback on its Horse Protection Program. On March 15 a listening session will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

At all listening sessions on the schedule, APHIS is interested in hearing feedback on the following questions, in particular:

  • Congress passed the Horse Protection Act in 1970 to eliminate the cruel and inhumane practice of soring horses. How close are we to achieving the goal?
  • Can the industry achieve a consensus on how to carry out a self-regulatory program to enforce the Horse Protection Act in a consistent way?
  • What responsibilities should USDA-certified Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) have within the industry?
  • How can the industry reconcile its inherent competition aspect with ensuring compliance with the Horse Protection Act?
  • What can USDA do now (and in the future) to ensure compliance?
  • What responsibilities should USDA have within the industry with respect to enforcement and what hinders oversight of the HIOs and/or industry?
  • Should there be a prohibition of all action devices?
  • Should there be a prohibition of pads?
  • Currently the Horse Protection regulations have a shoe weight limit on yearlings. Should there now be a shoe weight limit for all aged horses?

The March 15 listening session will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the South Theater at the Kentucky Horse Park (4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511).

Speakers will be limited to 5 minutes in order to ensure everyone registered will have the opportunity to have their comments heard. If you have written comments, you may leave them with the USDA officials at the session.

Online registration is available on the APHIS Animal Care website. If you have any questions, you may contact Rachel Cezar, DVM, at 301/851-3746 or rachel.cezar@aphis.usda.gov. Further information is also available online.

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