Unwanted Horse Summit Follow Up Continues

edited press release
The equine industry's work on behalf of unwanted horses continued to gain momentum Sept. 21 when representatives from 20 organizations met to advance efforts that began at the nation's first Unwanted Horse Summit in Washington, D.C. in April.

Representatives met at the American Veterinary Medical Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., and focused on solidifying its mission and building a long-term organizational structure, according to a release.

The important roles of education and owner responsibility in reducing the unwanted horse population were a key theme of the discussions and are reflected in the group's mission statement: "To reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care of the horse."

In addition, participants voted to stay united as a coalition guided by a steering committee until the next meeting, which is to be held in late October or early November in Lexington. At that session, the group plans to formalize a governance structure and finalize specific strategies to benefit unwanted horses.

Additional potential goals within the next six months include appointing a board of directors and hiring an executive director to implement unwanted-horse initiatives.

"It has been only five months since our initial meeting, and I am extremely impressed with the commitment by those involved to keep this effort moving forward," Dr. Tom Lenz, chairman of the steering committee and the American Association of Equine Practitioners' appointed representative, said in the release. "The health and welfare of thousands of horses will depend on the work of this group."

While additional groups who participated in the first Unwanted Horse Summit remain involved, representatives from the following organizations were in attendance at the Sept. 21 meeting:

American Horse Council
American Quarter Horse Association
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
American Veterinary Medical Association
Carriage Operators of North America
Day's End Farm Horse Rescue
Hooved Animal Humane Society
Humane Society of the United States
National HBPA
National Thoroughbred Racing Association
New Mexico Livestock Board
North American Equine Ranching Information Council
Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
The Jockey Club
Thoroughbred Charities of America
United States Department of Agriculture
United States Trotting Association