A national Welfare Code of Practice has been endorsed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Quarter Horse Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Trotting Association. The Welfare Code of Practice, drafted by the American Horse Council, outlines in generic terms what it means for an organization to be committed to the responsible breeding, training, care, use, enjoyment, transport and retirement of horses.
“We know that the safety and welfare of our horses is very important to us. We hope that this code will be another indication to others that the horse community takes its responsibilities to our horses very seriously,” says AHC spokesperson Jay Hickey.
The AHC’s Welfare Code of Practice is not intended to replace or pre-empt rules and regulations specific to a segment of the industry. Rather, it is hoped that the endorsement of a broad, more generic Welfare Code of Practice by as many organizations as possible will be another indication to the public, the media, federal and state officials and the horse community that the horse industry “Puts the Horse First.”
“We fully support the AHC Welfare Code of Practice and encourage everyone associated with the horse to abide by its principles,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “It is important that the horse industry as a whole, regardless of breed or discipline, affirms its individual and collective commitment to horse welfare and safety. It is equally important that the industry communicate with one voice on this important issue and the AHC is the right vehicle for doing so.”
The AHC Welfare Code of Practice will also provide a guide for equine organizations that are formalizing a welfare philosophy and policy for their respective organizations. “The American Horse Council Welfare Code of Practice provides a standard for the horse industry and equine organizations to evaluate their individual welfare policies and initiatives. It clearly states the principles necessary to achieve a level of stewardship for the horse that always puts the welfare of the horse first,” said Dr. Jerry Black, past president of the AAEP and chair of the AHC’s Animal Welfare Committee.