Editor's Note:  The following letter was released from the USDA and Dr. Chester A. Gipson today.  The USDA has warned the HIOs it will begin the decertification process of the HIOs that have not agreed to and submitted a rulebook including the mandatory penalties.  The HIOs have 5 days to respond to this request and rectify their noncompliance or explain their reasoning for noncompliance.  At such time, if the HIO has failed to effectively do either, the USDA will revoke their DQP program certification.  At that time, any HIO has 30 days to appeal the revocation of its program certification.

The DQP licenses will expire 30 days after revocation of the program certification or 15 days after the revocation becomes final after appeal.  Below is a copy of the letter or click here to open the letter.

July 19, 2012


Re:  Final Rule, Docket #: APHIS-2011-0030

Dear Horse Industry Organizations and Associations:

On July 9, 2012 the final rule requiring horse industry organizations and associations (HIOs) to assess and enforce minimum penalties under the Horse Protection Act (HPA) became effective.  APHIS notified the HIOs on June 8, 2012 that they must adopt the minimum penalty protocol as well as the appeals process described in the final rule and submit evidence of their compliance no later than July 9, 2012.

As of today, the following HIOs have submitted amended rulebooks showing that they will be following the new regulations:  Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA), National Walking Horse Association (NWHA), FOSH (Friends of Sound Horses), Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA), International Walking Horse Association (IWHA), Oklahoma Walking Horse Association (OKA), Western International Walking Horse Association (WIWHA).

APHIS has not received amended rulebooks from the following HIOs:  Sound Horse, Honest Judging, Objective Inspections, Winning Fairly (SHOW), Professional Regulation and Inspection for Dedicated Equestrians (PRIDE), Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (SSHBEA), Heart of America Walking Horse Association (HAWHA), Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA).  Until the decertification process set forth in 9 C.F.R. 11.7 (g) is completed for the noncompliant HIOs, affiliation with them will not increase show management’s liability.  Please be advised, however, that USDA will continue its own efforts to enforce the HPA by conducting unannounced inspections at horse shows and focusing its inspection resources at unaffiliated shows and oversight of HIO Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) that pose an increased risk of noncompliance with the HPA.



Chester A. Gipson
Deputy Administrator
Animal Care

Cc: Dr. Rachel Cezar; National Horse Protection Coordinator