American Horse Council: National Issues Forum focuses on Congress June 19-22 | TSLN.com

American Horse Council: National Issues Forum focuses on Congress June 19-22

The American Horse Council has announced that the theme for this year’s National Issues Forum is “Congress on a Diet: What It Means for the Horse Industry.”

This year’s National Issues Forum will be held June 21 in Washington, D.C., during the AHC’s annual meeting. The annual meeting will run from June 19-22 at the Washington Court Hotel and also include an update on the national equine health initiative, the Congressional Reception and the annual Congressional Ride-In. This year’s meeting will also see the return of the AHC’s Breed Roundtable, a popular event that brings together leaders of horse associations to discus common issues of importance to the industry.

The AHC’s various committees, including the Unwanted Horse Coalition, will also meet to discuss issues affecting the equine community.

“The highlight of this year’s forum will be presentations from Members of Congress, staff and federal regulatory agencies on the new fiscal realities in Washington. They will discuss how Congress’s efforts to deal with the country’s deficits may result in cut-backs to federal programs and spending that could affect the horse industry,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “There is a new paradigm in Washington that will affect all American industries, including the horse industry.”

As part of this year’s annual meeting, the American Horse Council is hosting a Breed Roundtable. This event was an important part of previous AHC annual meetings and allowed leaders of horse organizations involved in various disciplines to visit with each other and discuss issues of common concern. The AHC Board of Trustees believes it is important to reinstitute the Breed Roundtable this year because of the important issues facing the horse industry.

Welfare issues, disease outbreaks, unwanted horses, and public relations are all concerns. The number of people purchasing horses and participating in the industry is down. As the country emerges from the economic downturn, many horse associations are wrestling not only with how to bring back people who have left the industry but also how to attract new owners, new participants, and new members. The Breed Roundtable will provide an opportunity for industry executives to discuss these issues across breeds and disciplines and learn from each other.

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There will also be an update on the national equine health initiative. “This initiative resulted from the USDA-AHC hosted workshop at last year’s National Issues Forum, which provided an opportunity for the horse industry, key federal and state authorities, and others to discuss a coordinated approach to the handling of serious infectious equine diseases that threaten the health of our horses and the commercial health of the industry,” said Hickey.

These outbreaks affect the interstate and international movement of horses, which is critical to the horse industry. When barriers to movement are raised by states and foreign countries concerned about the spread of infectious diseases, this affects sales, breeding, racing, competitions and recreation.

The annual Congressional Ride-In will occur on Wednesday, June 22. The Ride-In allows members of the horse community to meet with their elected representatives and their federal officials to discuss important issues affecting them. All members of the horse community are encouraged to participate, even if you don’t attend the AHC convention. “The Ride-In puts a face on the $102 billion horse industry and the millions of Americans who are part of it,” said Hickey. “The most effective way to affect Congress is through the voters, the horse people from back home who can tell Congress first hand about the horse industry in their respective states and districts and the issues that impact them.”

The AHC will conduct a free briefing for Ride-In participants. Anyone wishing to participate in the Ride-In should contact AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass at bpendergrass@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

More information on these Forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information can be found on the Events Page on the AHC’s Web site, http://horsecouncil.org/events.php or by contacting the AHC.

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