USDA Requires Minimum Penalties for HPA Violations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has adopted rules requiring Horse Industry Organizations (HIO) that license Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) to adopt, assess, and enforce minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).
USDA published the proposed rule changes on May 27, 2011 in response to an audit report by USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) in September 2010. USDA received over 28,000 comments during the comment period. The rule changes will be effective on July 9, 2012.
The final rule changes require minimum suspensions and penalties for owners, managers, trainers, riders, custodians, or sellers responsible for showing, entering, selling, auctioning, or offering a sore horse for sale.
If a horse is found to be bilaterally sore or unilaterally sore the transporter of the horse may also be suspended if the transporter had reason to believe that the horse was to be shown, exhibited, entered for those purposes, sold, auctioned, or offered for sale.
A person who is suspended will not be permitted to show any horse, judge or manage any horse show, sale or auction for the duration of the suspension. Any person with multiple suspensions must serve them consecutively, not concurrently.
The new rules require all HIOs to impose minimum penalties for violations that equal or exceed the minimum levels USDA has set out in the new rule. The new rule establishes minimum penalties for first, second and third offenses, and the new rule outlines procedural requirements for any appeal process an HIO may adopt.
If you have any questions regarding this bill please contact the AHC.