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USDA to Propose Changes to HPA (Full Text of Rule Included)



Sources have confirmed to Walking Horse Report that the proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow (July 26th) which will begin the 60-day comment period on the proposed rule.  

The proposed rule, which will be published in its entirety after being posted in the Federal Register would ban the use of pads and action devices in the show ring by Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, or related breed that performs with an accentuated gait.  It also prohibits the use of bands.  The proposed rule did not prohibit weighted shoes, except on horses under two years of age.  Those horses would be allowed a maximum 16oz. shoe.

The proposed rule also will relieve HIOs of all regulatory responsibilities and record keeping under the HPA.  APHIS would assume the training, licensing and monitoring of third-party, independent inspectors to conduct inspections at shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions.  These inspectors, called Horse Protection Inspectors, would not be Veterinary Medical Officers nor would they be APHIS officials or employees.  They will be paid by horse show management, not APHIS.

The USDA will host five listening sessions where concerned parties can voice their opinions on the proposed rule.  These will be held in Murfreesboro on August 9th, Lexington, KY, on August 10th, Sacramento, CA, on August 16th, Riverdale, MD, on September 6th and a virtual public hearing on September 15th.

The proposed rule is similar to what industry leaders expected from APHIS.  The firm of Kelley Drye & Warren has already been retained and begun work on the response to the proposed rulemaking.  Attorney Joe Wilson accompanied representatives from The Celebration and Performance Show Horse Association to a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget earlier in July.

Click here to view the proposed rule.

As more details of the proposed rule become known they will be reported on Walking Horse Report.


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