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May 14, 2010

Equine Welfare Advocates Convene for Homes for Horses Coalition Conference

Annual conference raises awareness for horse rescue and adoption

The Humane Society of the United States

Two of the 84 horses rescued in Nebraska.

Chad Sisneros/The HSUS

Equine welfare advocates from around the country gathered this week in Nashville to discuss horse rescue outreach at the fourth annual conference of the Homes for Horses Coalition. Sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare Institute, the conference attracted more than 40 individuals representing 25 equine welfare organizations from 18 states. 

Panel discussions spanned a wide range of topics vital to horse rescues, including methods for increasing the adoptability of rescued horses; working effectively with law enforcement; preparedness for participation in large-scale seizures; using social media to increase awareness and funding; and how to become a nationally accredited rescue or sanctuary through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

Saving America's at-risk horses

"The members of the Homes for Horses Coalition are on the front lines in the battle to save America's at-risk horses from horse slaughter, neglect and other forms of cruelty" said Keith Dane, The HSUS' director of equine protection.  "They shared their successes, best practices and war stories at this conference, and reaffirmed their commitment to always put the welfare of the horse first."

The HSUS premiered a new public service announcement featuring world-renowned natural horsemanship trainer, Pat Parelli, urging potential horse owners to consider adoption to help save horses' lives.

"The Homes for Horses Coalition and its member horse rescues have done a fantastic job of promoting the adoption of rescued horses," said Christine Sequenzia, federal policy advisor, AWI. "This along with the support of horse trainers and equine enthusiasts is imperative to advocating for the passage of a federal ban on horse slaughter.  The HHC has debunked the idea of an unwanted horse with its list of available horse sanctuaries and rescues along with their extremely active adoption programs."

Horse rescues must work together

Major themes that emerged from the conference included the need for greater communication and collaboration with stakeholders in the horse industry, and an emerging emphasis on natural horsemanship techniques to rehabilitate rescued horses.

"It is exciting to be part of this movement as it gains the professional momentum it needs to assist more equines," stated Janet Steinhaus and Roxanne Schwartz, from New York's Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue. "It is evident that all rescues, big and small, can and must work together to keep this movement going forward."

"The conference brought together rescues from Maine to California and states in between with similar goals, problems and interests, and provided training and tools to build solutions," said Mona Jerome, president of Ever After Mustangs, a Maine-based equine rescue.

Founded in 2007 by The HSUS and AWI, the Homes for Horses Coalition is dedicated to ending horse slaughter and other forms of equine abuse while promoting growth, collaboration and professionalism in the equine rescue and protection community. The coalition currently has more than 150 members and is the only professional organization dedicated to providing training and support to the nation's equine welfare community.

The fifth annual Homes for Horses Coalition conference will be held in May 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 Animal Care Expo at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla. To find out more visit: homesforhorses.org.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

About the Homes for Horses Coalition

The Homes for Horses Coalition is dedicated to ending horse slaughter and other forms of equine abuse while promoting growth, collaboration and professionalism in the equine rescue and protection community.

Co-founded by The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare Institute, we are a group of professionals working together to actively promote the welfare and protection of horses and other equines. By working to end horse slaughter and other forms of equine cruelty, provide care and homes to horses in need, advance the highest operating standards for equine rescue and retirement homes and promote responsible horse ownership, the Homes for Horses Coalition is actively engaged in improving the lives of America's equines.

Many of the coalition's members operate equine care facilities while others are involved in government policy affecting horses and other equines. We also partner with other professionals in the field, including breeders, trainers and veterinarians. The cumulative expertise of our group puts the Homes for Horses Coalition in a unique position to advocate for equines from a highly informed perspective that, most importantly, always puts the welfare of equines above commercial interests.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries in the United States and abroad.  The federation's goal in working with and assisting sanctuaries is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence.  GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and hidden animal exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit.  These founding organizations sit on the GFAS Board of Directors to continue guiding the organization's work in a collaborative manner.  They include Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, World Society for the Protection of Animals, American Anti-Vivisection Society International Fund for Animal Welfare and Animal Welfare Institute.

For additional information on GFAS, please visit sanctuaryfederation.org.  For additional information on Habitat for Horses, please visit habitatforhorses.org.

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