Feb. 17, 2010
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky House Agriculture and Small Business Committee moved today to provide more protection for the horse.
House Bill 398 garnered unanimous support and passed the committee without a single dissenting vote. The bill will create the Kentucky Equine Health and Welfare Board under the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to assist, advise and consult with the Cabinet on issues of equine health and welfare and will take action to help maintain the health, welfare, and safety of equines in the Commonwealth. The bill will also create an equine health and welfare trust fund to be administered by the Board to promote equine health, welfare, and safety.
HB 398 is sponsored by Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, who chairs the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee.

“This bill will move the horse industry forward,” said McKee, a Harrison County farmer. “We are concerned about the health and welfare of the horse, and this bill helps address those concerns.”Co-sponsoring the bipartisan legislation is Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge; Rep. Ron Crimm, R-Louisville; Rep. Charlie Hoffman, D-Georgetown; Rep. Don Pasley, D-Winchester; Rep. Kent Stevens, D-Lawrenceburg; Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington; and Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville. The bill now heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill is the first major initiative of the newly-formed Equine Health and Welfare Alliance, (EHWA) a Kentucky-based corporation dedicated to the proper care, maintenance, and treatment of the horse and all equines. Organized by a group of leading equine veterinarians, EHWA, Inc. is the first organization in the United States dedicated solely to improving the care and welfare of equines. While the core membership and origin of EHWA, Inc. consists of veterinarians, the Alliance is not limited to veterinarians and welcomes the involvement of other individuals, organizations, philanthropies, and companies interested in improving the welfare of the horse.

“While Kentucky is recognized world-wide for its equine industry, many horses and other equids in the Commonwealth, particularly those outside of thoroughbred racing circles, may be subject to inhumane treatment and some horse-rescue operations in the state lack the standards of quality needed or lack sufficient oversight,” said Dr. Doug Byars, DVM, a founding member of the EHWA and a renowned equine veterinarian from Georgetown, Ky. “This legislation will help protect the equine, who cannot take care of themselves, and help make Kentucky a leader in the nation in the area of care and welfare for all equine.”

The Kentucky Equine Health and Welfare Board will have responsibility for the following:

· Undertake research, conduct public hearings, and collect data to determine prevalent equine health and welfare issues.

· Strive to develop regional centers of care for unwanted, abused, neglected, or confiscated equines.

· Create a system of voluntary certification of equine rescue and retirement operations that meet industry-accepted standards for care of equines.

· Research and offer suggestions for statutory changes affecting equine health, welfare, abuse, and neglect issues.

· Assist veterinarians and others in maintaining the health and welfare of equines by identifying and referring to the appropriate authorities critical areas of need.

For more information, and to follow the progress of HB 398, visit

CONTACT: Patrick Crowley, spokesman



Bill advances allowing vets to report abuse

Louisville Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A bill aimed at allowing veterinarians to report abuse of their clients’ animals unanimously passed the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee on Wednesday.

Currently, veterinarians cannot report suspected abuse involving their clients because of confidentiality requirements.

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