FOCUS OF AHC’S ISSUES FORUM IS “A HEALTHY HORSE, A HEALTHY INDUSTRY”
The American Horse Council has announced that its theme for this year’s National Issues Forum is “A Healthy Horse, A Healthy Industry.” “These two concepts are co-dependent,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “Our horses need a viable, growing industry, supported by the public, to ensure they are enjoyed and can get the best care; and fundamental to our industry is a healthy horse that can be moved interstate and internationally for breeding, showing, racing, sale and recreational riding. There are a number of continuing efforts to accomplish these goals that will be the focus of the National Issues Forum.”
This year’s National Issues Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 18, in Washington,DC during the AHC’s annual convention. The annual meeting will run from June 16 to 19 at the Washington Court Hotel.
The convention will also include the AHC’s Congressional Reception, the annual Congressional Ride-In, meetings of all AHC committees, the meeting of the Unwanted Horse Coalition and the AHC’s Breed Roundtable, which brings together leaders of the horse industry to discus common issues of importance.
This year’s Issues Forum will focus on the progress of the National Equine Health Plan. The plan will spell-out the issues surrounding the prevention and control of diseases and the responsibilities and roles of the federal and state authorities and the industry to keep our horses healthy and our industry viable in the face of disease outbreaks, which seem to be occurring more frequently. Fundamental to such a plan is an Equine Disease Communication Center to coordinate and disseminate accurate information about equine diseases. Plans are underway to create a network involving veterinarians and Federal and State Animal health officials to relay time-sensitive information through a central communication system so that reliable and updated information will be available to all segments of the horse industry in real time. This will help to ensure that more horses can be shielded from outbreaks and any disruptions to movement, events or activities are minimized.
Industry support will be critical to the effort. The Issues Forum will be an opportunity for horse people to hear about the plans and provide feedback.
Attendees will also receive an update on the status of the AHC’s Marketing Consortium to reinvigorate the horse industry, which was discussed at last year’s Forum. The consortium now involves a number of organizations and industry service providers. Substantial progress on messages, themes, target audiences, social media, and test-events has been made. The forum will be an opportunity to flesh out this marketing effort and involve others.
The AHC Breed Roundtable will be held on Monday, June 17. This event was reinstated several years ago and has proven to be very popular. It allows leaders of varied horse organizations and varied disciplines to visit with each other and discuss issues of common concern.
The annual Congressional Ride-In will take place all day Wednesday, June 19. The Ride-In allows members of the horse community to meet with their elected representatives and federal officials to discuss important issues affecting them. All members of the horse community are encouraged to participate, even if they don’t attend the AHC convention.
“The Ride-In puts a face on the $102 billion horse industry and the millions of Americans who are part of it,” said Hickey. “Congress deals with various issues that impact the horse industry, including taxes, gaming, immigration, welfare, access to trails and public lands, diseases, and interstate and international movement of horses. This is an opportunity for the horse community to come toWashingtonin force and meet with their Senators, Representatives, and staffs. The Ride-In literally illustrates the goal of the AHC to ‘Put More Horsepower in Congress.’”
The AHC will conduct a free briefing for Ride-In participants. Anyone wishing to participate in the Ride-In should contact AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass at email@example.com or 202-296-4031.
More information on these Forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information can be found on the AHC’s website, https://www.horsecouncil.org/events.php or by contacting the AHC.