Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Introduction

In April of 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a proposed rule to redefine “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). 

AHC Position

The AHC has joined with a broad coalition of agricultural groups in opposing the proposed rule and requesting that it and the IR be withdrawn.

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Rule Change Requested for Re-Entry of Competition Horses

Background

When horses are imported to the U.S. from regions affected with Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations require them to undergo quarantine and special import tests for CEM, including in some cases test breeding.  These requirements also apply to U.S. horses exported to CEM regions for more than 60 days and then returned.  For this reason, horses sent to the European Union for competition are always returned to the U.S. within 60 days.  U.S. competitors do not want their horses undergoing the various CEM tests.

The current “60 day” rule results in shorter travel intervals for U.S. competition horses, increased expense to owners, and additional training obstacles to ensure the horses are competing at peak levels.  Extending the re-entry requirements to “90 days” would reduce the stress on US competition horses, reduce the expense to owners, and provide a more level playing field against our international competitors.

AHC’s Position

The AHC supports a change to the re-entry requirements for competition horses exported temporarily for up to 90 days to CEM regions and returned.

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USDA Eases Import Restrictions on Horses from Saudi Arabia

Background

Horses from Saudi Arabia, and all countries affected with African Horse Sickness (AHS), must be quarantined for sixty days under import rules of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before entering the U.S.  Horses from non-AHS countries may be admitted with a shorter quarantine period.  The extended period is required to ensure that horses from AHS countries are not infected with AHS, which has a long incubation period. 

AHS is a highly contagious and deadly disease that affects horses, donkeys, and mules and has a mortality rate of up to 95% in naive horse populations like that in the U.S. 

On March 30, 2015, USDA announced that Saudi Arabia was AHS-free and that horses from that country would no longer have to undergo a sixty day quarantine period.  The rule change was effective immediately.

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Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015

Introduction

The Horse Protection Act (HPA) was enacted into law in 1971.  It has been enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for over forty years.  USDA deems soring to involve the use of action devices, chemicals, cuts, burns, pads, wedges or practices like trimming a horse’s hoof to expose sensitive tissue, so that it causes pain in the horse’s forelegs and produces an accentuated show gait for competition or sale. 

On April 27, 2015, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) re- introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2015 (PAST act) in the Senate and on July 28, 2015, Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re-introduced the PAST Act  (HR 3268)) in the House of Representatives..  The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses.   The PAST Act was previously introduced Last Congress and is supported by the American Horse Council and most national horse show organizations.

AHC Position

The AHC supports this legislation, as does the American Association of Equine Practitioners, U.S. Equestrian Federation, the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Morgan Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the Arabian Horse Association, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the United Professional Horsemen’s Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club, and the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

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H-2B Reform Bills Introduced

Introduction

On October 29, 2015 Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the  Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2015 (S.2225). On November 4, 2015, Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), and Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-La.) introduced the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act (H.R. 3918).  The bills would make many needed reforms to the H-2B temporary, non-agricultural worker program that will make it less burdensome for employers, including those in the horse industry to use.

AHC Position

Improvements to the H-2B program have been a priority of the horse industry for many years. The difficulty horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others have had recruiting American workers has forced many to use the H-2B program to meet their labor needs, even though it is costly, time consuming and unreliable.   These bills would overhaul the H-2B program and fix some of problems that have plagued the program while maintaining protections for both American and H-2B workers. 

The American Horse Council supports these important reforms and urges members of the horse industry to contact their Members of Congress to voice support for the bills.

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National Forest Trail Stewardship Act

Introduction

On February 10, 2015, Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) re-introduced the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (H.R.845). On April 28, 2015, Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Senate version of the bill (S.1110). The bill would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many national forests, including equestrians.  The bill was first introduced during the last Congress.  The American Horse Council, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Wilderness Society were significantly involved in the creation of this bill.      

AHC Position

The bill is supported by the AHC and many other recreation organizations.

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Recreational Trails Program Re-Authorization

Introduction

Congress has passed and the president signed multi-year national highway bill known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for the next five years and provides $85 million annually for the program. RTP is important to recreational riders all over the country.

AHC Position

The AHC, in conjunction with a broad coalition of recreational trail users, supported re-authorization of RTP.

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Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015

Introduction

Legislation has been introduced in the last several Congresses to regulate the use of drugs and medications in racing at the federal level. 

The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (H.R. 3084) was introduced on July 16, 2015 by Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) and is supported by segments of the racing industry. 

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Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2015

Introduction

On April 30, 2015, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA), the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2015 (S. 1161).   The bill is identical to the bill he introduced last year that was opposed by the AHC.

AHC Position

The AHC believes the Alexander bill would not effectively address the continued problem of soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, or Spotted Saddle Horse industries. For this reason, the AHC opposes the Alexander bill and maintains its support of the PAST Act.

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Wild Horse Oversight Act Introduced

Introduction

On July 22, 2015, Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) re-introduced the Wild Horse Oversight Act (H.R. 3172) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a Senate version of the bill (S. 1845). The bills would amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to allow states and Indian tribes to assume the management and protection of wild horses and burros.

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