American horsepower to take on US Congress

The US Capitol building. © Martin Falbisoner [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Getting equine issues in front of the US Congress is the aim of this year’s National Issues Forum hosted by the American Horse Council in Washington, DC.

Several US Members of Congress have been invited to the forum, themed “Putting More Horsepower in Congress”, and sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is confirmed as the leadoff speaker. Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has also been invited.

“We would be very fortunate to have the chairmen of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees address us,” said AHC president Jay Hickey.

“The $102 billion equine industry is an important sector of the agriculture community, not only when horses are in their breeding life, but also when they move into their racing, showing, work, or recreation careers. The equine world is still regulated by the US Department of Agriculture in terms of disease control, import/export, interstate movement, and research. The Congressional agriculture committees are important to the horse industry.”

The Issues Forum will also feature a special panel, which will include representatives of the US Equestrian Federation and The Jockey Club, to update the industry on their plans to require the microchipping of horses beginning in 2017.

Speaking will be Mary Babick, Vice-President of the US Hunter Jumper Association, Summer Stoffel, who serves on the USEF Horse Recording & ID Task Force Committee, and Matt Iuliano, Executive Vice-President and Executive Director of The Jockey Club.  Each has been intimately involved in their organizations move to requiring microchipping.

“This should be a real opportunity for attending organizations to learn first-hand about their plans, how they will affect their members, and how they might want to prepare for the new requirements,” Hickey said.

This year’s National Issues Forum is on Tuesday, June 14, during the AHC’s annual convention.  The convention will run from June 12 to 15 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC.

The AHC convention will also feature the inaugural meeting of executive directors of national equine organizations.  Organized by Julie Broadway, the new president of the AHC, and David Foley, executive director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, this meeting will allow the top staff of horse associations to join together to discuss internal, administrative-type issues that each may face in their day-to-day operations.  Such issues might include membership retention, dealing with volunteers, and management.  This meeting will feature two speakers from the American Society of Association Executives to talk about their peer group formation experience and benefits.

The AHC annual meeting will also include the meetings of all the AHC’s committees.This year each committee will be asked to address how its members can get their organizations more involved in grassroots lobbying on legislation and regulations within their jurisdiction.

The AHC’s convention will also include the AHC’s Congressional Reception on June 14, the evening of the Issue Forum, and the Congressional Ride-In on Wednesday, June 15, during which the industry can meet with their federal elected officials to discuss issues important to them.


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