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**Blackburn Introduces Legislation to Amend HPA**



Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) has introduced H.R. 4098 that will amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA).  The legislation, named the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013, will focus on the elimination of the current Horse Industry Organization (HIO) system and create a single, independent HIO to enforce the HPA across the entire Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries.

The Horse Protection Amendments Act will also create objective, science-based inspection protocols to replace the current subjective protocols being used.  The protocols will be “conducted using only inspection methods based on science-based protocols (including swabbing or blood testing protocols) that – 
(A) have been the subject of testing and are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results;
(B) have been subjected to peer review; and
(C) have received acceptance in the veterinary or other applicable scientific community.”

Within 180 days of enactment of the legislation, the “Secretary shall prescribe by regulation the establishment of a single horse industry organization (HIO).”  The HIO shall be governed initially by a board consisting of the following:
(A) Two individuals each appointed by the Commissioners of Agriculture of Tennessee and Kentucky
(B) Two individuals representing the industry by the above four persons in consultation with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association
(C) Not more than three individuals shall be appointed by the six individuals above

The HIO will issue policies requiring any person licensed with the HIO or an immediate member of such person to be free from conflicts of interest or any association with the industry.  Within 90 days of formation of the HIO, the Secretary shall revoke the certifications of the existing HIOs previously certified.

Although a final list of co-sponsors will be available soon, H.R. 4098 will have all of Congresswoman Blackburn’s fellow Tennessee Republicans as co-sponsors, Phil Roe (1st District), John J. Duncan (2nd District), Chuck Fleischmann (3rd District), Scott DesJarlais (4th District), Dianne Black (6th District) and Stephen Fincher (8th District).  Also, sources have confirmed Congressmen Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) and Andy Barr (R-KY-6) from Kentucky were also co-sponsors.  Rogers serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  Also, Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV-3) signed on as a co-sponsor.

A final official copy of the legislation will be available soon.  Check back for updates on the final copy of bill and list of co-sponsors.  A copy of the draft legislation is available here.

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