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HIOs Propose Amendments to Operating Plan UPDATED



 

 

Copyright WHR 2007

 

By Christy Howard Parsons

 

            Horse Industry Organization representatives met yesterday in Washington, D.C., with officials from the United States Department of Agriculture to consider proposed amendments to the 2007-2009 Operating Plan. The meeting resulted in three proposed amendments and one proposed agreement being circulated to the HIOs for their further consideration.

            Two of the proposals dealt with the penalty structure for scar rule violations, one dealt with service on HIO boards for individuals with HPA violations, and the proposed agreement dealt with HIOs submitting changes to the Operating Plan in the future.

            The HIOs have been asked to discuss the proposals with their respective boards and respond back by Friday, May 11, 2007.

            The first proposal regarding scar rule violations and penalties adds the following sentence. “Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, for the purposes of determining penalties for scar rule violations, a subsequent violation will become cumulative in accordance with the table above only if it occurs within 12 months after a suspension is served.”

            The second proposal regarding scar rule replaces the current phrase “more than four (4) first offense violations with different horses” with the following language “more than two (2) first offense violations with different horses.” Also the following new language was added to this section: “The suspension for a trainer, owner and/or exhibitor is two weeks each for each first scar rule violation for up to two different horses. Starting with the third horse and continuing through the eighth different horse, the penalty for each first scar rule violation is eight weeks.”

            The following language was added under HIO Responsibilities. “Individuals also may not serve on an HIO board during the 12 month period following any suspension of thirty (30) days or more.”

            The proposed agreement among HIOs states that the HIO representatives agree that the eleven HIOs as a group will not formally propose to the USDA any additional amendments to the Operating Plan before January 1, 2008.

            The full text of the proposals follows:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO 2007-2009 HORSE PROTECTION OPERATING PLAN

(5-7-07)

 

The HIO representatives present at the May 7 meeting in Washington proposed the following three amendments to the 2007-2009 Operating Plan and the following recommended moratorium on new amendments to the Plan for the balance of calendar year 2007:

 

  1. Proposed change to the penalty structure for scar rule violations.  Insert the following new sentence in Article X, HIO Sanctions for HPA Violations, paragraph F, Penalties, before the last sentence in the subsection entitled “Scar Rule Violations”:  “Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, for the purposes of determining penalties for scar rule violations, a subsequent violation will become cumulative in accordance with the table above only if it occurs within twelve (12) months after a suspension is served.”

 

  1. Proposed changes to the “follow-the-horse” penalty structure for scar rule violations.  In Article X, HIO Sanctions for HPA Violations, paragraph F, Penalties, the subsection entitled “Scar Rule Violations,” replace the current phrase “more than four (4) first offense violations with different horses: with the following new language:  “more than two (2) first offense violations with different horses.”  In Exhibit 2-Scar Rule Penalty Examples, replace the following two sentences:  “The suspension for a trainer, owner and/or exhibitor is two weeks each for each first scar rule violation for up to four different horses.  Staring [sic] with the fifth horse and continuing through the eighth different horse, the penalty for each first scar rule violation is eight weeks” with the following new language:  “The suspension for a trainer, owner and/or exhibitor is two weeks each for each first scar rule violation for up to two different horses.  Starting with the third horse and continuing through the eighth different horse, the penalty for each first scar rule violation is eight weeks.”

 

  1. Proposed change to the rules involving HIO board service after an HPA violation.  An Article VI, HIO Responsibilities, paragraph B, Standards of Conduct, subsection 2, Conflicts of Interest, insert the following sentence before the last sentence in the subsection:  “Individuals also may not serve on an HIO board during the 12-month period following any suspension of thirty (30) days or more.”

 

  1. Proposed agreement among HIO representatives regarding further amendments to the Operating Plan during 2007.  During the calendar year 2007, HIO representatives may propose and discuss amendments to the 2007-2009 Horse Protection Operating Plan, in addition to the amendments noted above.  Moreover, the HIO representatives agree that the 11 HIO’s as a group will not formally propose to the USDA any additional amendments to the Operating Plan before January 1, 2008.  [Note:  This represents a proposed working agreement among the HIO representatives and is not a proposed amendment to the Operating Plan.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Earlier this year on February 20, Craig Evans submitted a letter (see below) to the USDA on behalf of the TWHBEA HIO, FOSH and HPC, the first three signatories to the  plan, requesting changes to the penalty portion of the plan as it relates to the scar rule. In addition, other organizations have made similar requests since that time and they were addressed at the May 7 meeting.

 

February 20, 2007

 

Chester A. Gipson, D.V.M.

Deputy Administrator

Animal Care

4700 River Road

Riverdale, MD  20737

 

RE: 2007-2009 Operating Plan

 

Dear Dr. Gipson:

            On behalf of FOSH, HPC, and the TWHBEA HIO, the signatories to the 2007-2009 Operating Plan, I am writing to request that you consider inserting the following paragraph immediately before the last paragraph of Section X.F.:

 

Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, for the purposes of determining penalties for scar rule violations, a subsequent violation will become cumulative in accordance with the table above only if it occurs within twelve months after a suspension is served.

 

            We believe that such language will address the concerns in regard to any previous enforcement of the scar rule, and at the end of the three year term of this Operating Plan all such concerns should be fully answered without any uncertainty.

 

            If I can be of any further service, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

R. Craig Evans

 

 

Cc: W. Ron DeHaven, D.V.M.

Administrator, APHIS

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