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Marty Irby

Senior Advisor of Equine Protection & Rural Affairs

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Photo by Amie Chou/The HSUS

Marty Irby is the Senior Advisor of Equine Protection & Rural Affairs for The HSUS. In this role, Irby oversees the day-to-day operations of both the Rural Affairs and Equine departments. He serves as an advocate against factory farming, working with family farmers through the HSUS State Agriculture Council program, and works to raise awareness of abusive practices and affect positive change for equines and farm animals.

Before coming to The HSUS, Irby worked in the United States House of Representatives for Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), serving as Communications Director and Agriculture Policy Advisor. In that role, Irby handled the Congressman’s agriculture, animal welfare and science portfolio. He worked with farmers and agricultural groups from Kentucky and around the United States.

A native of south Alabama, Irby grew up on a farm with horses, cattle and other animals. As a young adult, he immersed himself into the study of equine issues including pedigrees, breeding techniques and reproduction, and found success in the Tennessee Walking Horse community.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from The University of South Alabama in 2003, Irby served four years as Director of Sales & Marketing at Waterfall Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee. There, he promoted and expanded the farm’s cattle production program and worked with more than 2,000 equine breeders from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Poland and Israel.

In October 2005, Irby was elected to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’s (TWHBEA) International Board of Directors. Irby held several positions at the association through the years, and in 2011, became the youngest president in TWHBEA history at age 31. He served as president for two terms. While president, Irby shifted his focus towards animal protection and eliminating cruel training practices in the equine world.

From December 2012 to July 2013, as Immediate Past President on the Executive Committee, Irby led the charge for the association’s support and endorsement of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. The act, an amendment to the Horse Protection Act of 1970, would end the cruel and horrific practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. In November of 2013, Irby testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade regarding the much-needed PAST Act.

In addition to working at HSUS, Mr. Irby lives in Washington D.C., and continues work on his Master of Arts in Theology and Public Policy at Wesley Theological Seminary.

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