The American Association of Equine Practitioners has announced plans to host an Unwanted Horse Summit. The summit, a one-day conference bringing equine industry leaders together to address the problem of unwanted horses, will take place Tuesday, April 19, 2005, during the American Horse Council's annual meeting in Washington, D.C."Just as in the dog and cat populations, there are thousands of U.S. horses that are unwanted by their owners," said Dr. Scott Palmer, 2005 president of the AAEP. "The AAEP sees the summit as the first step in identifying the many factors that contribute to the number of unwanted horses in the United States and Canada as well as long-term strategies for making their lives better."The summit will focus on such issues as responsible horse ownership and breeding; long-term care options; and affordable and accessible means of humane euthanasia. The event also will include an opening educational segment devoted to the plight of the unwanted horse. In the next month, the AAEP will send formal invitations to major organizations representing breed groups, sport and discipline organizations, rescue and retirement facilities, veterinary associations, and welfare groups seeking their participation.
According to Palmer, the Unwanted Horse Summit and the AAEP's work on equine welfare issues are driven by the association's mission to protect the health and welfare of the horse. "Our hope is the summit will generate practical and far-reaching solutions for the problems of unwanted horses."