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AHC Addresses Critical Issues

The American Horse Councilís (AHC) National Issues Forum addressed critical national issues with federal legislators and regulators at its meeting in Washington, DC, June 17-19, 2007.

"With so many federal bills and regulatory issues facing the horse industry right now, this event was crucial in educating and securing support on several issues," said Jay Hickey, president of the AHC. "We were fortunate enough to have so many experts and influential players join us to discuss these issues and offer their opinions and support."

In addition to covering the latest federal legislation introduced and discussing grassroots lobbying techniques, the Forum was a chance to generate discussion on several pressing issues within the horse industry.

Among the topics covered were Equine Identification and the National Animal Identification System with speakers J. Burton Eller, deputy under secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Dr. Jim Morehead and Billy Smith, co-chairs of the Equine Species Working Group.

Discussing equine disease control was Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator of the Animal and Plant Health inspection Service at USDA, speaking about this issue at the federal level. He was joined by Edward "Rusty" Ford, manager of Equine Programs at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, discussing the responsibilities at the state level. Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Dr. Nathaniel A. White II shared his experience with the EMC Herpesvirus outbreak at his facility and how they handled it; and Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, professor of Equine Medicine at Colorado State University, shared tips on how each individual horse owner and facility can help prevent disease outbreaks.

Several speakers shared their experiences with state horse parks. John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, talked about how that facility became a world-class operation. Richard E. Hancock, vice-chairman of the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park Authority, discussed the recently completed Florida Horse Park and J. Robert Burke of the Maryland Horse Industry Board shared his experiences with trying to establish a state horse park in Maryland.

Attendees were given a sneak peek at a very exciting equestrian event by Jack Kelly, CEO of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010. Mr. Kelly emphasized the potential of this occasion to bring general public awareness to the horse industry because of the huge international draw to the FEI World Games.

Dr. Mylon Filkins, Chairman of the AHC Recreation Committee and a past chairman of the Back Country Horsemen of America, presented two videos chronicling a successful partnership between horsemen, forestry services and youth groups to maintain trails for horseback riders and others.

The Unwanted Horse Coalition also shared the work they have done, including publishing an awareness brochure, attracting several new group members and developing a handbook about "Owning Responsibly."

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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