Members of Congress meet with American Horse Council

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This year’s American Horse Council National Issues Forum, entitled “Congress on a Diet: What It Means for the Horse Industry,” highlighted the current budget environment in Washington. The issues forum was part of the AHC annual meeting held from June 19th to the 22nd that also included the annual Congressional Ride-In, AHC committee meetings, and a Congressional Reception.

Several Members of Congress spoke to attendees during the issues forum including Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressmen Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), who are the co-chairs of the Congressional Horse Caucus, as well as Congressman John Yarmouth (D-KY).

“The AHC is grateful to have had so many Members of Congress come give us their perspective on the fiscal challenges facing the country. There were several different viewpoints, but the message was clear that when it comes to spending it will not be ‘business as usual’ in Washington,” Said AHC President Jay Hickey. “Without a doubt we will be seeing less federal spending and that could impact the horse industry in many different ways.”

The remainder of the issues forum included presentations from several individuals from federal agencies, state health officials and other organizations. Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator and Chief Veterinary Officer for USDA’s Veterinary Services, and Dr. Guy Hohenhaus, President of the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, discussed some of the issues USDA and state veterinarians face in responding to and mitigating equine disease outbreaks under current budgetary constraints.

“Contrasting the current fiscal environment with recent equine disease outbreaks, such as Equine Herpesvirus, further underscores the importance for USDA, state animal health officials and the industry to maintain a strong partnership and collaborate in our continued efforts to safeguard the health of our horses and our industry,” said Dudley Hoskins, AHC Director of Health and Regulator Affairs.

“Presentations by Robert Perrin from the Bureau of Land Management and Anne Merwin of the Wilderness Society drove home the point that recreational opportunities on public land could be in danger,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass. “It will be important to fight to preserve adequate funding for public lands, but equestrians are also going to have to explore public/private partnerships with federal, state and local government to keep trails open to equestrians.”

Additionally, attendees received updates on the national equine health initiative, the activities of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, the status of the national animal identification system, the Americas Great Outdoors Initiative and a discussion about how the horse industry can improve its political activities with a focus on the 2012 elections.

“I believe we had a very informative National Issues Forum this year,” said Hickey. “We brought together Members of Congress, key federal agency officials, and leaders in the horse industry and everyone came away with a better understanding of the challenges we face in the coming years.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. We do not want or need budget cuts! That makes things worse. 4H has had a budget cut and now it is hard for the activities to take place. Horses and people do not want or need any budget cuts!

  2. AMEN DEBORAH! BETTER YET, ALL THOSE CONGRESS MEN AND WOMEN NEED TO CUT THEIR OWN “BUDGET” (SALARY) IN HALF, OR MORE, AND GIVE ALL THAT EXTRA MONEY TO ALL OF US! OH NO BUT THEY WOULDNT GO FOR THAT, TAKING MONEY FROM THEIR OWN POCKETS TO HELP MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR AMERICANS WHO NEED AND DESERVE IT. AS LONG AS THEIR OWN POCKETS ARE FAT, THEY DONT AND WONT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE.

  3. Cuts are coming and going to be felt by everyone in all area’s. I wonder where horse’s will fit into any new economy?
    Seems to me, the BLM should stop wasting millions on unnecesary roundups and work with the individuals that are will to take them in and keep them wild. Oh yeah, get rid of those ridiculus 10 to 20 yr cattle allotments too. Ranchers, in Mt. are stewarts of the land. Sure every so often you will hear some bad news but in general are pretty good. Now Nev and those other areas only have the $ bill in their brains, not conservation.

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