Twenty national and state-based equine protection, placement and rescue organizations gathered for the first time on July 27 in Washington D.C., to discuss the re-homing of at-risk horses in America. The Homes for Horses Conference was jointly sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
Conference attendees took preparatory steps to both understand the causes of horse abandonment and neglect, and to counter claims that America will face an unmanageable surplus of equines if horse slaughter is brought to an end. The newly formed coalition will keep in constant communication and meet annually to enhance equine protection in the United States.
“Horse welfare organizations need to come together to figure out how we can help each other,” said Keith Dane, HSUS director of equine protection. “The personal relationships, new initiatives and goals established at this event will have a direct impact on the lives of numerous horses. I look forward to continuing the dialogue we began here this week and continuing to work in coalition with our sister organizations for many years to come.”
“This conference brought together the very individuals and organizations directly involved in protecting and improving the lives of horses on a daily basis. For far too long, associations designed to promote business over welfare have attempted to portray themselves as guardians of equine protection, but that has changed,” said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director of AWI. “Homes for Horses is a tremendous step forward.”
The new team approach to horse welfare focused on the placement and re-homing of horses, as needed. Additionally, conference attendees joined ranks in acknowledging the many challenges facing horse rescue groups and discussed the realities and problems associated with implementing a national licensing and accreditation program.