I have asked the USDA if we can write in some answers to their questions for their own use, so hopefully that will be accepted as well. I will update everyone when I find out more about it. I will also post some answers to their questions here to help all of you be prepared to stand up and say we want to see REAL change. We can back up our answers with science that is irrefutable, and keep to the facts to make people understand that we're tired of the sore horse being so prominent in the industry.
Below is the press release from TWHBEA, which is the same that I received via email. Please make time to go to one of these! Let's step up and let the USDA know we need them to start using their money to enforce the HPA and stop catering to the industry!
USDA APHIS Horse Protection Program
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Animal Care Program will hold listening sessions throughout the United States to obtain public feedback on the Horse Protection Program. In particular, APHIS is interested in hearing feedback on the questions below:
- 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 listening sessions are planned for the following dates and locations:
- March 7 – 9am to 1pm; Springhill Suites, 5800 High Point Drive, Irving, TX 75038
- March 8 – 9am to 1pm; University Plaza Hotel, 333 John Q Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65806
- March 15 – 9am to 1pm; Kentucky Horse Park (South Theatre), 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511
- March 22 – 9am to 1pm; Doubletree Ontario Airport, 222 N. Vineyard Avenue, Ontario, CA 91764
- March 23 – 9am to 1pm; Phoenix Inn Suites, 3410 Spicer Road SE, Albany, OR 97322
- March 27 – 9am to 1pm; Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 31 Woodfin Street, Asheville, NC 28801
- March 29 – 9am to 1pm; Mississippi State University – College of Forest Resources/Forest and Wildlife Research Center Department of Forest Products Facilities, 100 Blackjack Road, Starkville, MS 39759
- April 4 – 9am to 1pm; Doubletree Murfreesboro Hotel, 1850 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
- April 10 – 9am to 1pm; USDA APHIS Headquarters, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737
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 at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/events_reg.shtml
We look forward to your comments in order to ensure the success of the USDA APHIS Horse Protection Program. If you have any questions, you may contact Dr. Rachel Cezar at (301)851-3746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information is also available at: www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/hp