April 21, 2016
The American Horse Council has announced that its theme for this year’s National Issues Forum, sponsored by Luitpold Animal Health, is “Putting More Horsepower in Congress.”
The forum will feature several Congressional speakers. In addition, a primary focus of AHC committee meetings this year will be on how the horse community can better deal with legislation affecting the industry.
While gridlock has been the common denominator of the past five Congresses, there is an expectation in Washington, D.C. that the elections might change that and return Congress to the days when give-and-take allowed legislation to be passed.
“With control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives up-for-grabs in this year’s elections, there could be changes that might break the Congressional logjam,” noted AHC president Jay Hickey. “Now is the time to get ready for such opportunities and how better to learn about this than from leaders of Congress? While federal bills are always discussed at AHC committee meetings, we want our committees to consider how each member organization can be more involved in the grassroots process.”
In addition to Congressional speakers, the National Issues Forum will hear reports from representatives of The Jockey Club and the United States Equestrian Federation on their plans to require the microchipping of horses in the future.
“Other breeds and disciplines may be wondering how this might affect them. They may be considering microchips themselves,” Hickey said. “The forum will provide them ample opportunity to get answers to what is underway and how it might affect them going forward.”
This year’s AHC annual meeting will be June 12-15 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. AHC committee meetings will be held June 12, and the National Issues Forum will be June 13. This year the annual Congressional Ride-In will begin June 14 and extend through June 15.
“We have shortened the National Issues Forum this year to allow more time for attendees to visit their elected officials,” noted AHC vice president of government affairs Ben Pendergrass. “AHC committee members and other attendees are encouraged to visit with their elected officials beginning on Tuesday afternoon.”
AHC staff is ready to help anyone in making appointments for Congressional visits and will provide materials for those making Hill visits.
“Appointments should be made as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. There are many important issues facing the horse community in this Congress,” Pendergrass said. “It’s not too soon to begin scheduling meetings right now.”
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 is important because it puts a face on the $102 billion horse industry and the millions of Americans who are part of it. Congress deals with various issues that impact the horse industry, including taxes, gaming, immigration, welfare issues, access to trails and public lands, diseases, and interstate and international movement of horses. This is an opportunity for the horse community to come to Washington in force and meet with their Senators, Representatives, and staffs.
“The Ride-In literally illustrates the goal of the AHC, and the theme of this year’s meeting, to ‘Put More Horsepower in Congress,'” Hickey concluded.
The AHC convention will include the AHC’s Congressional Reception, the meeting of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, and other meetings. As always, the AHC annual meeting brings together the horse industry’s leaders, stakeholders, service providers, and individuals to discuss common issues of importance.