American Horse Council’s 2015 National Issues Forum announces its theme
The American Horse Council has announced that its theme for this year’s National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, is “Protecting and Promoting the Horse.” The issues that the horse industry has faced over the last decade have changed, but there are several consistent challenges. These include federal regulatory challenges, attracting newcomers to horses and equine activities, maintaining equine activities that we enjoy, and welfare initiatives to protect our horses. But as with any challenges, they also create opportunities. The Forum will focus on how the industry is dealing with them.
Of great importance to the horse industry is its relationship to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Most horse owners don’t understand how and where and why the Department of Agriculture intersects with the horse community,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “Federal authority – and protection and assistance – extends over the horse industry not only on the breeding farms, but also on horses when they race, show and are used for recreation.”
The AHC’s National Issues Forum will focus on answering such questions with high-ranking representatives from USDA responsible for the programs that affect the horse industry present to explain how they view the industry, what they do, how federal programs are changing, and what the Department’s new five-year plan has in store for the horse industry.
Programs like the American Horse Council’s Time to Ride and its 2015 $100,000 Horse Challenge and others are underway. Updates will be provided that can teach attendees how they might institute similar programs to attract people to the horse industry in its various forms.
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The Unwanted Horse Coalition is celebrating its tenth anniversary and plans a special update on its current activities and initiatives over the last decade to protect horses. More importantly, this will provide an opportunity to review how the horse community has instituted new programs for horses during that period.
This year’s National Issues Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 16, in Washington, DC during the AHC’s annual convention, which will run from June 14 to 17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill.
The AHC’s convention will also include the AHC’s Congressional Reception, the Congressional Ride-In, meetings of all AHC committees and the Unwanted Horse Coalition. As always, the AHC’s annual meeting brings together the horse industry’s leaders, stakeholders, service providers and individuals to discuss common issues of importance.
The AHC’s Congressional Reception will be Tuesday night, June 17, on Capitol Hill. This is an opportunity for the horse community to visit informally with Members of Congress to renew old friendships, make new ones, and discuss industry concerns.
The annual Congressional Ride-In will take place all day Wednesday, June 19. The Ride-In allows members of the horse community to meet with their elected representatives and federal officials to discuss important issues affecting them. All members of the horse community are encouraged to participate, even if they 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. Congress deals with various issues that impact the horse industry, including taxes, gaming, immigration, welfare issues, access to trails and public lands, diseases, and interstate and international movement of horses. This is an opportunity for the horse community to come to Washington in force and meet with their Senators, Representatives, and staffs. The Ride-In literally illustrates the goal of the AHC to “Put More Horsepower in Congress.”
More information on these Forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information, can be found on the AHC’s website, http://horsecouncil.org/events.php or by contacting the AHC. F
–American Horse Council
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