AHC to Highlight Emerging Diseases at Meeting

Diseases like CEM and EP have affected the movement of equines in recent years.

The American Horse Council has announced that the theme of its National Issues Forum this year will be 'Emerging Diseases: a Challenge to the Industry'. This forum, which will be co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the AHC, will be held June 21-22 in Washington, D.C., as part of the AHC’s annual meeting. The meeting will run June 20-23.

The emergence of a major equine disease can have dramatic consequences for the horse industry. Such outbreaks in recent years have included contagious equine metritis in 2008, and equine piroplasmosis in 2009. These outbreaks have affected the interstate and international movement of horses, which is critical to the horse industry.

These outbreaks have caused USDA-APHIS and state authorities to spend a great deal of money and resources to identify the diseases, trace the horses potentially affected, and contain the outbreak.

“The highlight of this year’s forum will be a USDA-AHC hosted workshop that will provide an opportunity for the horse industry, key federal and state authorities, and others to discuss how each sector can ensure the health of our horses and the commercial health of our industry in the face of emerging and re-emerging diseases,” said AHC president Jay Hickey.

Major national organizations will be invited to meet on June 21 with USDA-APHIS representatives and state authorities to discuss a coordinated approach to handling serious infectious equine diseases, and a summary of the issues identified at the meeting the previous day.

“We hope that this meeting will benefit both the equine industry and USDA in shaping how important equine infectious diseases are addressed in the U.S. in the future,” said Hickey.

In conjunction with the annual meeting, the AHC will also host its first annual Recreation Forum to highlight issues important to the recreational riding community, as well as the annual Congressional Ride-In that will allow members of the horse community to meet with their federal officials to discuss issues affecting them.

For more information on these forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information, visit http://horsecouncil.org/events.php.