The Unwanted Horse Coalition has progressed since it was folded into the American Horse Council in June (see JAVMA, Aug. 15, 2006, page 488).
The coalition hired Katy Carter as its coordinator. She has served in legislative and press capacities in the House of Representatives and most recently for former Representative Jack Quinn of New York.
In October, the coalition met officially for the first time under the auspices of the AHC. The coalition established a number of committees during the meeting.
The Communications and Education Committee will work to develop a Web site, informational brochures, and a guide to responsible horse ownership and will continue to develop public outreach strategies. The Research Committee will focus on compiling up-to-date information on issues such as horsemanship, alternative careers, retirement, retraining, and euthanasia and disposal options. The Funding Committee will continue to recruit new UHC members, in addition to individual donors and corporate sponsorships. The Steering Committee will oversee the overall direction of the coalition.
"This meeting was an important step in establishing the core goals of the Unwanted Horse Coalition," said Dr. Tom Lenz, chair of the UHC. "There is a lot of work to be done, but I am confident that we have established achievable short- and long-term objectives and are prepared to continue moving forward with the mission of the coalition."
The mission of the UHC is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care of horses.
The meeting in October was attended by representatives from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, AVMA, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, The Jockey Club, National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Professional Rodeo Stock Contractors, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, U.S. Equestrian Federation, and U.S. Trotting Association.
In November, the AVMA Executive Board approved AVMA membership in the coalition and creation of a liaison relationship. Dr. Nathaniel Messer will serve as the AVMA liaison representative. Dr. Messer is the AAEP representative to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, which submitted the recommendation to the board.