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USDA Makes Progress on Horse Protection Goals

USDA Animal Care recently released its 5-year strategic plan, in which we set forth our goals of enhancing our working relationships, creating better and more transparent lines of communication, and building trust with everyone in the animal welfare community. Today we are announcing some of our work toward those goals as they pertain to our Horse Protection Program. 

Our priority in upholding and enforcing the Horse Protection Act is to completely eliminate the cruel and inhumane practice of soring horses. We aim to achieve this by, among other things, fostering better communication with our regulated horse industry – including revising our online publications and official correspondences to better explain our regulatory activities and authorities. For example, today we are sharing guidance documents for managers and exhibitors involved in regulated events to promote a shared understanding of our regulatory processes. (These documents are located here, under the Horse Protection Act subheading.) We’ve also updated the APHIS Form 7060 (official warning letter) and its accompanying cover letter to ensure alleged violators of the Horse Protection Act and members of the public understand our interest in notifying alleged violators of our concerns while also providing an opportunity to demonstrate future compliance. 

Moving forward, we want to ensure you have up-to-date information regarding Horse Protection Act activities. To this end, we’ve removed out-of-date information from our website, such as foreign substance reports from 2007-2011, and reports of suspensions and fines assessed by horse industry organizations from 2010-2014. In their place, we will proactively post current information to meet our objectives of ensuring transparency in all our activities and satisfying Freedom of Information Act requirements. For example, we’ve posted the FY 2016 Activity Report for the Horse Protection Program here.

“By taking these measures, we have begun the very real process of making good on the goals in our strategic plan,” said Bernadette Juarez, deputy administrator, USDA Animal Care. “We remain steadfast to the commitments in our strategic plan – building relationships and promoting animal welfare.” 

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