It tends to get lost in the shuffle because it's not as sexy as anabolic steroids, race-fixing, or catastrophic breakdowns from a media perspective. But talk to people who work in the horse industry every day, and they'll tell you the issue of unwanted horses is serious and so broad it impacts the entire United States, not just the horseracing industry.
As the House Subcommittee on Commerce and Consumer Protection prepared for a June 19 hearing on the horseracing industry, groups continued to weigh in on various issues, including use of anabolic steroids in racehorses.
Though the United States presidential election will get the biggest headlines as November approaches, horse industry representatives were told June 17 they should pay attention to -- and get involved in -- congressional races around the country.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will tackle equine health and welfare issues at a two-hour forum July 18 during its summer convention in Hershey, Pa.
The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection continues to maintain it will hold a June hearing on horse racing, but no date had been set as of June 2.
A congressional subcommittee could schedule a hearing as early as June to examine breakdowns, medication use, and breeding practices in Thoroughbreds.
A congressional subcommittee has demanded information from state racing commissions about racehorse breakdowns, drug use, and breeding.
Though their views and actions may at times be considered extreme and bizarre by some, animal rights and welfare groups have a large constituency, have proven effective at making their point, and shouldn't be disregarded when they seize on an issue, officials said.
The "Congressional Cavalry," organized by the American Horse Council and some of its member organizations in an effort to better serve the horse industry in Congress, continues to grow in numbers, officials said.
The National Racing Compact, which currently authorizes multi-jurisdictional licensing for the pari-mutuel industry, is being offered as an alternative to possible federal regulation of aspects of the horseracing industry.
The anti-slaughter group Americans Against Horse Slaughter hosted a rally March 4-5 which drew about 100 people in Washington, D.C. to lobby for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop has been asked to testify in Washington, D.C., during a hearing titled "Drugs in Sports: Compromising the Health of Athletes and Undermining the Integrity of Competition."
The United States Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill Dec. 14 by a vote of 79 to 14. Included in the legislation is the Equine Equity Act, which would reduce the capital gains holding period for horses from two years to one and accelerate and make uniform the depreciation for racehorses over a three-year period.
The Equine Equity Act, which reduces the capital gains holding period for horses and shortens the depreciation schedule for racehorses, is part of the 2007 Farm Bill and could be approved by the United States Senate in a few days.
The Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System are taking public comment on proposed regulations to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
The American Horse Council has scheduled a National Issues Forum Nov. 2 at Keeneland in Lexington.
Sarah A. Chase is joining the staff of the American Horse Council as the new director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based organization.
- By Tom LaMarra
The United States Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce in September will implement new immigration measures intended to improve border security, step up enforcement of immigration laws, streamline existing guest worker programs, and address the failures of the current immigration system, according to the American Horse Council.
Weeks of lobbying by the horse industry proved successful the evening of Aug. 2, when the United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to remove from the Agriculture Appropriations Act language that could have stymied the movement of horses by cutting off funding for inspections.
The United States Senate postponed action June 28 on comprehensive immigration reform--perhaps until after the 2008 November election--when an effort to limit debate on the Senate floor failed to garner enough votes.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition hopes to step up awareness and engage the entire horse industry in its "own responsibly" campaign.
Legislation calling for a study of Internet gambling, including the impact of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two congressmen introduced legislation May 4 that would provide injury insurance for jockeys and others who work in horse racing, but last year the proposal was met with stiff resistance from groups in the racing industry.
The Equine Equity Act, which would reduce the capital gains holding period for horses and allow horse owners to depreciate all racehorses over the same period, has been introduced in the United States Senate.
Horse slaughter opponents will have to start from scratch next Congressional session despite last-minute efforts asking for a Senate vote on the issue. The 109th Congressional session adjourned for the holidays Dec. 8 without taking action on the bill.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will place more emphasis on federal legislative activities and public relations, the board of directors announced after a Dec. 13 meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.
Federal officials charged 11 people, including the chief executive of an Internet gambling company, with conspiracy, racketeering, and fraud in taking sports bets from United States residents.
The United States House of Representatives passed the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act July 11 by a vote of 317-93, but defeated an amendment that would extended the proposed ban on Internet gambling to horse racing and state lotteries by apparently superseding existing federal law.
It appears unlikely the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act will be put to a vote before Congress breaks for the Fourth of July holiday.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition, which started as the Unwanted Horse Summit during the American Horse Council convention in April 2005, is being folded into the American Horse Council. The possibility was discussed this April when the plan was presented to the AHC board of trustees.
Eclipse Award-winning jockey John Velazquez said he would be in favor of an amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 that would provide workers' compensation insurance for jockeys, exercise riders, trainers, and backstretch workers.
A member of Congress from Kentucky has drafted two pieces of legislation that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 to provide dedicated funding for workers' compensation insurance for jockeys, exercise riders, trainers, and backstretch workers.
Supporters of legislation that would ban the transport of horses to slaughter for human consumption are hopeful the measure will pass Congress this year, a co-sponsor of the bill said May 3. Meanwhile, members of the Kentucky horse industry have united to form the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, a shelter and adoption service for unwanted horses of all breeds.
As Congress continues to haggle over the scope and objective of the proposed Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, the racing industry again finds itself in disagreement with the Department of Justice over whether interstate simulcasts are legal under the federal law.
Representatives of the horse industry are among those lobbying to protect their interests as the United States Congress considers sweeping immigration reform.
Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York said individuals may not realize the economic importance of the horse industry to Empire state, and that even she was "a little surprised" when she saw the results of the most recent American Horse Council national economic impact study.
The American Horse Council board of trustees is considering a proposal that would place under the organization's umbrella a coalition working on the issue of unwanted horses.
A Congressman from Kentucky said legislation that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act to provide workers' compensation insurance for jockeys, backstretch workers, and trainers could be ready for consideration in about four weeks.
Industry officials have expressed some discomfort with a lawmaker's plan to introduce legislation that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 to provide funds for workers' compensation insurance for jockeys.
The American Horse Council 2006 National Issues Forum will feature an all-day meeting of the Equine Species Working Group as well as a discussion on equine genomics, funding for which could be included in the next farm bill authored by Congress.
A member of the United States House of Representatives plans to reintroduce legislation that would make Internet gambling illegal.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has more than doubled the size of the board of directors of its political action committee in order to step up fund-raising efforts.
Nine racetracks have increased their minimum on-track accident insurance for jockeys to $500,000 or $1 million since a Nov. 17, 2005 Congressional subcommittee hearing at which lawmakers examined jockey health, welfare, and safety issues.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, during a Dec. 1 meeting, approved a revised operating and licensing agreement with Breeders' Cup that will last at least one year, and received a report on what could be the first step toward formation of the long-awaited national Office of Wagering Integrity.
Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives prohibits the use of credit for Internet gambling but contains provisions to protect interstate pari-mutuel wagering.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are calling on the National Labor Relations Board and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to take action to protect jockeys, exercise riders, and others who work with racehorses.
An amendment that removes money for United States Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughterhouses and horsemeat is included in the 2006 agriculture appropriations bill that was signed into law by President Bush on Nov. 10.
Companion legislation to the Equine Equity Act, which grants financial concessions to the horse industry, has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives.
The U.S. Senate Sept. 20 voted 68-29 in favor of an amendment to bar federal funds from being used to facilitate horse slaughter.
A procedural move has stalled a legislator's efforts to restrict Internet gambling by cutting off its funding sources, but his campaign isn't over, according to reports.
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