Bulletin Board: 02/01

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Horses As Livestock
Several states are looking into the possibility of changing the legal definition of horses from livestock to companion animals or non-food animals. Livestock are considered to be animals kept or raised in a farm/ranch setting and used in a commercial enterprise.

Changing the legal status of horses as livestock could have the following effects on the horse industry overall, according to a paper that was prepared by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Horse Council:

State and federal support. Care and regulation of horses comes under U.S. and state departments of agriculture, so government-supported research and regulatory programs would be lost.

Humane laws. All U.S. states have anti-cruelty laws, some written specifically for livestock and non-livestock. Livestock anti-cruelty laws are usually written to ensure humane treatment while still providing for the use of the animal. These laws would no longer apply.

Limited liability laws. If horses are no longer considered livestock, many of these laws would no longer protect people in the horse industry who are aware of the risks when dealing with equines.

Tax issues. Federal tax law treats commercial horse owners and breeders as farmers, gaining certain tax advantages. Horse owners and breeders might also be affected by state excise and sales taxes if horses are no longer considered livestock.

For more, see www.aaep.org and www.horsecouncil.org.

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AHC Tax Handbook
With tax season in full swing, the American Horse Council has a revised version of its “Horse Owners and Breeders Tax Handbook.” The 1,000-page book covers such areas as business vs. hobby, forms, tax planning, depreciation, record keeping and accounting rules. The book costs $64, including shipping and handling.

The AHC also published “Tax Tips for Horse Owners,” an 18-page booklet with major tax issues for horse businesses listed in outline form. $10.For information, call 202/296-4031 or visit www.horsecouncil.org.

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West Nile 2000 Summary
There were 57 horses and 19 humans confirmed positive for West Nile Disease by the USDA in 2000, as of December 1. An additional eight horses were positive in states labs but not confirmed by USDA for various reasons. Of the 57 West Nile-positive horses reported by the USDA, 23 died or were euthanized (40%). Ages ranged from two to 36 years old. Of the 19 human cases, 15 were in New York. Four were in New Jersey. One person died (see January 2001 issue).

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Farnam Buys Sure Nutrition
Farnam Horse Products of Phoenix, Ariz., announced in December that it has purchased Sure Nutrition, which includes a line of horse supplements.

Sure Nutrition products include the nutraceutical Next Level Joint Fluid (see September 2000 issue). The company also makes Cough Free, Sure Flex and OTC, an electrolyte/vitamin paste (www.farnam.com).

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Wild Horse Adoptions
The Bureau of Land Management reported 5,080 wild horses and 1,112 burros found homes in its adoption program for fiscal 2000. The horse adoptions are down from 5,745 in 1999. Wild horses on BLM lands in 2000 numbered 43,629, plus 4,995 burros. Due to drought and fires, an additional 2,000 wild horses were removed from BLM lands last year.

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Weight Reduction For Horse And Rider
As you prepare for the spring show season by losing a few of those winter pounds, consider the list of 10 tips for weight reduction in the obese horse put out by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). What works for your horse will also work for you (well, almost):

1. Be patient. Weight reduction should be a slow, steady process to avoid stress and metabolic upsets.

2. Make changes in type and amount of feed gradually.

3. Track progress with a weight tape (or, for you, a scale). When weight plateaus, gradually cut back feed again.

4. Gradually increase exercise regimen by time and intensity.

5. Provide plenty of clean, fresh water (eight glasses a day for you).

6. Select feeds with high-quality fiber but low in total energy.

7. Select feeds lower in fat.

8. Replace alfalfa with mature grass or oat hay to reduce calories. (Replace Ben & Jerry’s with fat-free frozen yogurt.)

9. Feed separate from other horses so the overweight horse can’t eat his own portion and his neighbor’s, too. (Don’t eat at McDonald’s with some skinny friend who just picks at her fries.)

10. Balance the diet based on age and activity level and make sure vitamin, mineral and protein requirements are met.