The Unwanted Horse Coalition considered next steps, strategies, and goals for the organization while also electing a new chair June 21 in Washington, D.C., during the American Horse Council's annual meeting.
Dr. Douglas G. Corey was elected as the new chair of the UHC, which falls under the AHC umbrella, replacing Dr. Tom R. Lenz, who has held the position since the coalition's inception five years ago.
"I'm very proud of the accomplishments the UHC has made over the last few years in raising awareness of the unwanted horse issue and providing education on responsible ownership," Dr. Lenz said in a UHC press release. "I know that Dr. Corey, with his vast experience in equine welfare, will do an outstanding job of leading the coalition forward as we continue our efforts to decrease the number of unwanted horses."
Dr. Corey has been an active member of the coalition from the beginning, serving on the UHC Steering Committee. He is also a member of the AHC's Animal Welfare Committee.
Dr. Corey is a partner at the Associated Veterinary Medical Center, a six-person mixed animal practice in Walla Walla, Wash. In 2007, he served as the 53rd president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Within the equine industry, Dr. Corey has devoted much of his attention to the unwanted horse issue and other horse welfare issues. Through the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he helped develop minimum care guidelines for rodeo livestock as well as other welfare rules and guidelines for the PRCA.
Dr. Corey also has previously served as the chairman of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
The equine veterinarian will lead the UHC as it tackles additional activities and goals in coming years, outlined in a strategic plan that was proposed by the coalition's Steering Committee and unanimously approved by UHC members.
The plan lists four major goals: continue to develop and distribute educational materials, expand awareness and involvement with current and potential member organizations, collaborate with the horse industry to develop solutions through various types of clinics and wellness programs, and develop resources for equine care facilities.
The aim is for the coalition to move past the goals of educating and informing the industry, and become a central clearinghouse for resources, information, clinics, and programs.
For example, the UHC anticipates taking action in developing and implementing models for castration clinics, euthanasia clinics, and feed banks. In addition, the UHC will produce a series of webinars dedicated to topics prioritized by the UHC Facilities Committee. An e-mail discussion list for equine care facilities will also be created to foster communication between facilities.
In addition to the strategic plan, the UHC appointed a subcommittee to research funding mechanisms for clinics and programs. The subcommittee, chaired by AAEP executive director David Foley, will study the legal ramifications and financial issues associated with accepting and distributing funds.
"The UHC hopes that with the new strategic plan in place, the industry will observe the commitment and increased efforts in finding solutions for unwanted horses and focus on the public awareness and new involvements," Dr. Lenz said in the press release.