AMHA Applauds USDA Ruling

January 23rd, 2017

The American Morgan Horse Association, the United Professional Horsemen's Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association, American Hackney Horse Society, American Road Horse & Pony Association, and the United States Equestrian Federation join in supporting and applauding the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement of new rules added to the Horse Protection Act (HPA) designed to end the practice of soring Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses. We commend USDA's consideration of our comments during the rule making process, and credit our members with making our collective voice heard.

To read USDA's recent announcement click here.

While the new rules specifically and exclusively apply to Tennessee Walking Horses and racking horses, it is important to note that all horse shows, exhibitions and auctions in the U.S. are still subject to HPA regulations, as they have been since 1970. Historically, USDA has focused its HPA enforcement on Tennessee Walking Horse and racking horse events, so many of our members may be unaware of regulations that apply to their horses. Specifically, Section 11.2 of the HPA regulations details certain "Prohibitions concerning exhibitors." Though none of the prohibitions involve practices common in USEF disciplines, we recommend that our members familiarize themselves with their responsibilities in order to avoid inadvertent non-compliance. To read Section 11.2 click here.

President Trump recently ordered a government wide freeze on all new federal regulations pending review. This order has put an indefinite hold on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) final regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The final rule was not published in the Federal Register before President Trump issued his order to all federal agencies to withdrawal all regulations that had not yet been published pending review.

The final rule would have made several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring.

It will now be up to the Trump administration to decide whether or not to finalize the HPA rule. There is no timeline for review of the rule and the new administration could decide to issue a final rule at any time or withdrawal the rule completely. The HPA enforcement program will continue to operate under the current HPA regulations.