Posted March 1, 2001

by Flannery Davis

copyright 2001

The American Horse Protection Association filed a memorandum with the U.S. District Court in Washington on Feb. 9 in opposition to the Show Horse Support Fund’s motion for leave to intervene.

On Feb. 5 SHSF filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the USDA in the AHPA suit against the department. SHSF filed the motion because of its belief that the walking horse industry would be adversely effected should the AHPA win its case. The AHPA has sued the USDA in an effort to block implementation of the 2001-2003 operating plan, based on its belief that the secretary of agriculture cannot delegate enforcement to a third party such as a horse industry organization.

In its opposition brief the AHPA states that the SHSF does not satisfy the four requirements necessary for an intervention. The requirements are: 1) the application must be timely; 2) the applicant must demonstrate a legally protected interest in the action; 3) the action must threaten to impair that interest; and 4) no party in the action can adequately represent the applicant’s interest.

Among its reasons for opposing the intervention, AHPA states that SHSF failed to show how the suit will disrupt the horse show industry, but rather merely assumes that the harm will occur. According to the AHPA brief, the SHSF claim that a decision in favor of AHPA would harm the walking horse industry “is at best speculative and ‘unduly remote.’”

Regarding whether or not the USDA will adequately represent the interests of the walking horse industry, the AHPA brief holds that the secretary of agriculture and the SHSF “have identical positions in this case.” AHPA states that the USDA and the SHSF “have the same goal: to have the Court find that the 2001-2003 Horse Protection Operating Plan does not embody an unlawful delegation of Agriculture’s enforcement authority. Nothing that the Fund has identified suggests that the Secretary [of agriculture] cannot or will not adequately represent the interests of Fund members in this litigation.”

On Feb. 16 U.S. District Court judge Henry H. Kennedy referred the SHSF motion to intervene to a U.S. magistrate judge, which is a lower court, for his or her determination.