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The boogeyman of regulation looms over the farrier profession in the United States. And much like the mythical figure used to scare children, there are various forms of the farriery boogeyman.
Every few years, new concerns over licensing reemerge, leaving many to wonder whether any state or federal agency will register and qualify farriers beyond the race track. None have.
Another form comes through veterinary oversight. When a group of veterinarians came together a couple of years ago to create the Veterinary Equine Podiatry Group, many farriers greeted the news with concern. Despite assurances that oversight of farriery is not a measure or goal, the group is still met with suspicion.
In recent months, one federal government agency unexpectedly made itself a candidate for the hoof-care boogeyman. Unlike the other specters, this one has more potential to be real than an apparition.
In late July, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act (HPA), a federal law that targets the soring of horses. The measure was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1970 and amended 6 years later. Since then, it has been unchanged and efforts to amend it have failed in the legislative process.
In late July 2016, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposed changes to the HPA. Then in late September, they slightly amended the proposal. The USDA has the authority to enact this as law, bypassing the legislative process. So pending any…