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Application For Independent HIO Submitted to USDA

On February 11, 2015 the USDA was presented with an application for certification of an independent HIO named the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation.  The meeting with the USDA was arranged by Dr. Doug Corey, DVM.  Dr. Corey is a Past President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and leading animal welfare proponent.  Dr. Corey has agreed to serve as a board member of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation HIO.

In its application, the stated mission of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation is to utilize highly skilled, non-conflicted decision makers advised by highly trained and knowledgeable professionals to enact programs and procedures which are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act and its Regulations and such additional standards which place the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse as a priority.

Further the mission of this HIO is to eliminate the uncertainty of pre-show inspection by utilizing professional, non-conflicted, trained individuals, blood testing and other objective testing rules and standards which are consistent with generally accepted veterinarian principals and which exceed the requirements of the HPA and enhance the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse in shows, sales and exhibitions.

The board of directors of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation will approve and appoint a Veterinary Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Veterinary Advisory Committee will be to develop and recommend to the HIO board rules and protocols to insure the HIO operates in accordance with all requirements of the HPA.

The Veterinary Advisory Committee is expected to recommend, among other things, the adoption of a drug testing and substance policy consistent with the United States Equestrian Federation, other objective testing methods to insure the non-conflicted determination of compliance, professional training, education and strict rules of ethics and oversight of all persons acting under the direction of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation.

The structure of the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation follows closely the legislation introduced last year by Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Senator Lamar Alexander that sought independent leadership, objective, science-based inspections and professional veterinarian oversight.  The Walking Horse Equestrian Federation has secured several commitments to serve on the HIO upon its certification by the USDA.  At this point, the USDA has the application under review and has not yet answered the request for certification by the Walking Horse Equestrian Federation.

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