Editor's Note: This is a copy of the transmittal letter which was received by Horse Industry Organizations from the United States Department of Agriculture with the amended Horse Protection Operating Plan.

Enclosed is the amended copy of the 2007-2009 Operating Plan for the 2007-2009 Horse Show Seasons based upon the recommendations from the Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs). Please note that the USDA has adopted several non-substantive word and stylistic changes in addition to the amendments submitted by the HIOs. All of these changes to the Operating Plan have been agreed to by the USDA with the hope that it will further industry participation in the responsibility of initial enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

In addition, the Horse Protection Operating Plan Signatory Page is enclosed. Three options are outlined for your consideration. The option chosen by your HIO should be signed and dated by the appropriate representative. The signatory page should be returned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the envelope provided by July 20, 2007. In addition you may fax this signatory page to Animal Care at (301) 734-4993 by July 20, 2007.

There are three options your HIO may select from. You may choose to sign the amended Operating Plan, resign the original Operating Plan, or choose to become a non-signatory to either Operating Plan.

HPA violations that occur between February 28, 2007 and July 20, 2007 for non-signatories to an Operating Plan, will be evaluated by the USDA and placed in one of three categories.

A. The most serious violations that will require a full Federal investigation and formal complaint;
B. Those that appear to merit no action;
C. Those that appear to merit sanctions typically applied under the Operating Plan.

If you are a non-signatory to either Operating Plan after July 20, 2007, all violations after that date will be subject to the Federal  Administrative Law procedures and category C above will not be an option.

If you fail to return this signatory page by July 20, 2007, your HIO will retain the status it has as of July 12, 2007, either as a signatory to the February 15, 2007, Horse Protection Operating Plan or as a nonsignatory to any Operating Plan.

Chester Gipson
Deputy Administrator
Animal Care