Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AQHA "Welfare Group" Studies Everything Horse Welfare Related but Horse Slaughter

Important to remember here that over half of all horses going to slaughter are REGISTERED AMERICAN QUARTER HORSES....

AQHA Welfare Group Releases Plans for Racing, Breeding, Shows by: Edited Press Release

January 19 2009, Article # 13475

The American Quarter Horse Association's Executive Committee has
approved recommendations from the Animal Welfare Assurance Task
Force, and the association is moving forward to implement the

The association's main objectives are to educate members and the
general public on animal welfare issues and identify and eliminate
any inhumane training practices that might currently be perceived as
acceptable, while strengthening sanctions for noncompliance.

AQHA's Animal Welfare Assurance Task Force met in the fall in
Amarillo to discuss issues facing the industry and ways to continue
protecting the American Quarter Horse and other equines. Gathering
members from all aspects of the industry brought a wealth of
knowledge and experience together to ensure many views were
represented. See below for a list of members.

"The welfare of American Quarter Horses has always been of paramount
importance to AQHA," said Bill Brewer, AQHA executive vice
president. "In 2009, we are renewing our commitment to American
Quarter Horses and all other animal welfare issues as they relate to
American Quarter Horses. Our horses deserve our best. The
responsibility of caring for the American Quarter Horse should always
be a top priority."

Educational efforts on animal welfare have already begun and include
the following:

A link to AQHA's animal welfare policy statement is featured on the
aqha.com home page.
An article on AQHA's animal welfare efforts, task force
recommendations and a request for a concerted effort from AQHA
Professional Horsemen to ensure the humane treatment of horses and
acceptable training practices will be in the January 2009
Professional Horsemen's newsletter.
A rules committee met in conjunction with the December Judges'
Conference in Irving, Texas, to review and make recommendations on
roping, working cow horse, and reining rules in relation to
acceptable training and class procedures. The group also made
recommendations on excessive or abusive treatment rules related to
other disciplines, which will be sent to the Show Committee for
consideration at the annual Convention.
New judging cards have been printed to include space for the judge to
indicate any disqualifications for abusive practices in the show


The following has been approved by the AQHA Executive Committee:

Action Plan for Racing:

1. Maintain existing relationships with National Thoroughbred Racing
Association, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, Jockey Club
Welfare and Safety Summit, Association of Racing Commissioners
International Model Rules Program, etc., providing AQHA has a seat at
the table to ensure consistency in animal welfare policies and

2. Communicate via AQHA publications, e-newsletters, racetrack daily
programs, in-house TV and Web sites about racing's continued efforts
to ensure the welfare of horses is paramount. Work through AQHA
Public Policy Committee, state affiliates, state legislative
initiatives, and specialists to influence public opinion.

3. Correspond with state racing commissions and NTRA communicating
the objectives listed below with regard to animal welfare:

Advocate the use of safe equipment;
Conduct American Quarter Horse-specific research on toe grabs;
Conduct further American Quarter Horse-specific research on track
surfaces regarding type of surface vs. type of injuries;
Develop a certification program for starters, assistant starters,
jockeys, grooms, security personnel and other necessary designees as
deemed necessary;
Support implementing an equine injury database at all racetracks for
all breeds;
Endorse out-of-competition testing and support the continued testing
for anabolic steroids at sale companies as a condition of
Endorse mandatory testing of claimed horses for anabolic steroids;
Endorse and consolidate testing at accredited laboratories.

Action Plan for Breeding/Genetic Defects:

1. Have a breeders' summit and videotape to develop an educational
DVD and/or power point presentation that could be used at Affiliate
Workshop, World Show, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, alliance
partner conventions, and other locations by AQHA members.

2. A "Welfare Link" for "America's Horse" weekly newsletter and the
AQHA Web site has been created. It includes an animal welfare
statement and links to welfare information in the AQHA rulebook and
will also provide access to welfare articles covering different
topics involving racing, showing, breeding, etc., as they become

3. Conduct breeders' seminar during AQHA Annual Convention

4. Expand current breeder referral program by establishing a "premium
level" for those breeders who agree to test for genetic and
infectious diseases (where applicable).

Action Plan for Shows:

1. Change Professional Horsemen's application for both race and show
professionals to add a section to include an agreement to monitor
humane treatment. Change the current policy for Professional Horsemen
to have two members (increased from one) to discuss unacceptable
training or inhumane treatment with offenders on site.

2. Judges must report disqualifications for inhumane treatment in
show arena and list reason for disqualification on judge's card
returned to AQHA.

3. Track horse injuries that occur at AQHA-approved shows, and create
a form for a veterinary statement detailing injury.


Members of the task force included veterinarians, industry leaders,
trainers, representatives from equine organizations, and individuals
representing racing, showing, and recreational riding. They include:

Clark Bradley;
Dave Brian;
Joe Carter;
Doug Corey, DVM;
Eleanor Green, DVM, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ABVP;
Jim Helzer;
Connie Hill;
Bill Horton;
Paul Jones;
Nancy Goodman McIlwraith, DVM.;
Scott Myers, DVM.;
Tammy Pate;
Carol Rose;
Bennie Sargent;
Dorvan Solberg;
Johnny Trotter;
Sandy Vaughn; and
Rick Weaver.


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