The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing a new rule that aims to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA).
To pave the way for its new proposal, APHIS has withdrawn a proposed 2016 rule that was scuttled by the Trump administration after the Obama administration failed to publish it before the conclusion of its term.
“We are taking this action to withdraw the proposed rule so that we may reevaluate these program practices based on the findings of research conducted after its publication,” according to a document published in the Federal Register.
Before proposing its new rule, APHIS will consult a report published in 2021 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
“A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses examines what is known about the quality and consistency of available methods to identify soreness in horses; identifies potential new and emerging methods, approaches, and technologies for detecting hoof and pastern pain and its causes; and identifies research and technology needs to improve the reliability of methods to detect soreness,” according to NAS. “This independent study will help ensure that HPA inspection protocols are based on sound scientific principles that can be applied with consistency and objectivity.”