USDA Withdraws Proposed Horse Protection Rule


USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Friday announced the withdrawal of a 2016 proposed rule that would have amended the Horse Protection Act regulations. APHIS is making the development of a new and improved proposal a top regulatory priority. The action allows the agency to evaluate and consider more recent findings and research and incorporate the information into a new proposed rule. A 2021 National Academies of Sciences study examined the inspection methods used for identifying soreness in walking horses, new and emerging approaches for detecting pain, and use of the scar rule in determining compliance with the Horse Protection Act. The report also made several science-based recommendations that APHIS will consider. APHIS determined that the proposed rule does not sufficiently address the report’s findings and believes that the 2016 proposed rule’s underlying data should be updated. Following withdrawal of the 2016 proposed rule, APHIS intends to issue a new proposed rule quickly.