[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 71 (Wednesday, April 13, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20569-20570]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-8773]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 11

[Docket No. APHIS-2011-0006]


Horse Protection Act; Petition for Amendments to Regulations

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are notifying the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has received a petition requesting changes to our 
horse protection regulations and our current enforcement practices and 
related policies regarding those regulations. We are making this 
petition available to the public for review and comment. We are noting, 
however, that certain requests in the petition lack authority in the 
Horse Protection Act to implement.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 
13, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2011-0006 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2011-0006, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2011-0006.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
petition in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 
of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Rachel Cezar, Horse Protection 
Program National Coordinator, Animal Care, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 
84, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238; (301) 734-5784.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Horse Protection Act (HPA, 15 U.S.C. 1821-1831) authorizes the 
Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate regulations prohibiting the 
showing, exhibition, transport, or sale of horses subjected to soring, 
a practice of accentuating a horses' gait through the infliction of 
pain. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the responsibility for 
enforcing the HPA to the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS). Exercising its rulemaking authority under 
the Act, APHIS enforces regulations that are contained in 9 CFR part 
11, referred to below as the regulations, that prohibit, among other 
things, devices and methods that might sore horses.
    In a petition sent on August 4, 2010, The Humane Society of the 
United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals, the American Horse Protection Association, Inc., Friends of 
Sound Horses, Inc., and former Senator Joseph D. Tydings (referred to 
below as the petitioners) requested that APHIS change its regulations 
and policies regarding the protection of horses from the practice of 
soring. The petitioners' requests included permanently disqualifying 
horses that have been scarred from soring from competitions, 
permanently disqualifying repeat violators of the HPA, requiring horse 
industry

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organizations to impose minimum penalties for violations, and 
decertifying noncompliant horse industry organizations.
    The HPA does not provide APHIS with the authority to implement 
certain requests in the petition. Specifically, APHIS does not have the 
authority under the HPA to permanently disqualify horses that have been 
scarred from soring from competitions, nor does APHIS have the 
authority to permanently disqualify repeat violators of the HPA. The 
disqualification provisions and penalty provisions are clearly 
enumerated in the HPA.
    You may review the petition and submit comments through the 
Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for 
accessing Regulations.gov). We welcome all comments on the issues 
outlined in the petition. We are particularly interested in receiving 
comments regarding those areas where APHIS has existing authority under 
the HPA. We encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or 
research to support your comments and position, including scientific 
data or research that supports any industry or professional standards 
that pertain to horse care. We also invite data on the costs and 
benefits associated with any recommendations. We will consider all 
comments and recommendations we receive.

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 1823-1825 and 1828; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 
371.7.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 7th day of April 2011.
Gregory L. Parham,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-8773 Filed 4-12-11; 8:45 am]
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