While federal and state governments are developing a National Animal Identification System (NAIS), the program currently does not include horses. Following the identification of mad cow disease in Washington a year ago, Congress provided funds to develop a system for permanently identifying sheep, cattle and swine to quickly trace the movement and location of possibly contaminated animals. In recent developments, legislators in Louisiana and Wisconsin are already implementing a mandatory equine identification system.

Because the equine industry is different than other livestock industries, American Horse Council staffers organized the 30-member Equine Species Working Group to develop standards to complement the government identification system. While NAIS is accepting permanent and affixed forms of identification such as  microchips, tattoos, eartags and freeze or hot branding, the future could include retinal scanning or instant DNA testing.

Although the obvious benefit of identifying horses is to prevent the spread of catastrophic diseases, other benefits would include the recovery of horses after a natural disaster or serving as protection against theft.

OTHER INDUSTRY NEWS...

  • The federal government’s Bureau Of Land Management provides over 6,000 wild horses and burros a year to people who want to own a horse. Since many of these new owners are unfamiliar with proper health and footcare, Jeff Rawson says the services of an experienced farrier can make a tremendous difference.

The group manager for the Wild Horse and Burro Program at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., is attempting to provide new owners with a list of area farriers who would be interested in providing footcare on newly adopted animals. Further information on the program is available at the Bureau’s Web site.

  • Just prior to the hurricane season, Ray Tricca says SBS Equine Products moved its corporate offices from the Cape Cod peninsula of Massachusetts to Naples, Fla.
  • Mustad’s marketing manager Marguerite Therrien-Paige was married in September.
  • Harvey D. Schwartz, a former co-owner of D.L. Schwartz Co. in Berne, Ind., passed away in August. 

Hurricane Charley took the life of farrier Larry Turner of Arcadia, Fla., who moved to Florida from Tennessee in 2002.

  • Doug Corey became the 2005 vice president and 2006 president-elect of the American Association of Equine Practitioners during the group’s early December meeting in Denver, Colo. One of five vets at the Associated Veterinary Clinic in Adams, Ore., he’s been extremely active in horse welfare issues.
  • Available in that familiar little green colored tin with red clover on the lid, Bag Balm from the Dairy Association Co., has been used since 1899 to soothe winter chapping on cow udders. While dairy producers have used the product to soften their hands for years, its also been used by farriers and horse owners to soften dry, pinched or contracted hooves. 

When Admiral Byrd traveled to the North Pole in 1937, Bag Balm was among the provisions packed to deal with extremely cold weather skin problems. The company also donated the product in 2001 to relive the paws of search dogs in New York City as they looked for survivors in the charred rubble of the Twin Towers

  • With no extensive research study having been done on the economic impact of the equine industry since 1996, the American Horse Council expects to complete a new study by February. The 1996 study showed that the horse industry had a $112 billion impact on the U.S. economy, involved more than 7 million Americas, 6.9 million horses and supported 1.4 million full-time jobs.