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American Farm Bureau Requests Extension From USDA

American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Director of Public Policy Dale Moore sent a letter to the USDA on August 15, 2016 requesting an extension of at least 60 days to the comment period on the proposed rule by the USDA.  The proposed rule would amend the Horse Protection Act and prohibit the use of pads, action devices and hoof bands as well as eliminate Horse Industry Organizations from any role in enforcement of the HPA.

Moore stated in his letter, "We write to respectfully request an extension of at least sixty days to the comment period of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed rule amending the Horse Protection Act."  Moore gave several reasons, including, "to provide sufficient time for consultation with our members, to discuss the proposed rule with our Animal Care Issue Advisory Committee, and to assemble meaningful and specific feedback on the proposed rule changes."

In addition, Moore pointed out the issuance of the proposed rule during a peak season of competitive events for Tennessee Walking Horses.  "As a practical accommodation for the impacted stakeholders, we urge APHIS to delay the comment deadline so that more horse owners, trainers, riders and fans may have the opportunity to understand the proposed rule and offer comment."

The American Farm Bureau Federation joins previous extension requests sent by members of Congress including House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who represents Shelbyville, Tenn., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  The USDA has yet to respond on whether they will grant the extension requests.

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