Welfare code endorsed by horse organizations

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Leading equine industry organizations have endorsed a national code of practice for the welfare of horses.

The national Welfare Code of Practice, drafted by the American Horse Council, outlines in general terms what it means for an organization to be committed to the responsible breeding, training, care, use, enjoyment, transport, and retirement of horses.

So far, 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 have announced their support for the document.

The code of practice is not intended to replace or pre-empt any activities or rules and regulations specific to a segment of the industry. Instead, the AHC hopes the endorsement of a broad code of practice by as many organizations as possible will be another indication that the horse industry "puts the horse first," according to a mid-November announcement by the council. The code of practice is meant to provide a guide for equine organizations that are formalizing a welfare philosophy and policy.

"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," said Alex Waldrop, NTRA president. "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 code of practice can be found at www.horsecouncil.org.