Animal Welfare

Learn more about AQHA's efforts to promote Animal Welfare.

AQHA Animal Welfare Commission

The Animal Welfare Commission serves as AQHA’s primary body for rules, policies and procedures related to all areas of animal welfare.
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Per AQHA's mission statement, every American Quarter Horse shall, at all times, be treated humanely and with dignity, respect and compassion.

Animal Welfare Commission
Recognizing that animal welfare is the single most important issue facing the equine industry today, the AQHA Executive Committee created the Animal Welfare Commission in 2012. The Animal Welfare Commission serves as AQHA’s primary body for rules, policies and procedures related to all areas of animal welfare. In addition, the commission oversees the educational processes associated with AQHA officials responsible for animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare Commission’s mission is to provide a framework for its members to 1.) identify issues negatively affecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse, 2.) stay current on all animal welfare issues and 3.) recommend actions that will help to protect the American Quarter Horse from inhumane practices and AQHA and its members from the negative impacts associated with those practices.

The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, in an effort to do right by the horse, will share discussion, action items and recommendations with alliance partners. The commission reports directly to the Executive Committee, which evaluates all proposals in relation to the current state of the industry.

AQHA's prohibition against inhumane treatment applies to AQHA members and non-members.

Animal Welfare Commission Members

Brian Anderson, Bozeman, Montana Sandy Arledge, Rancho Santa Fe, California Dr. Jerry Black, Loveland, Colorado Dr. Glenn Blodgett, Guthrie, Texas
Gary Carpenter, Luther, Oklahoma Luke Castle, Wayne, Oklahoma Lainie DeBoer, Forest Lake, Minnesota Casey Devitt, Frankfort, Kentucky
Kevin Dukes, Weatherford, Texas Baru Forrel, Wingate, Texas Robin Frid, Denton, Texas Gil Galyean, Purcell, Oklahoma
Dr. Eleanor Green, Millican, Texas Cathy Hanson, Fallbrook, California Dr. Jim Heird, Millican, Texas Dr. Tom Lenz, Louisburg, Kansas
Tom McBeath, Union, Mississippi Micah McKinney, Guthrie, Oklahoma Mike Robbins, Guthrie, Oklahoma Sam Rose, PIlot Point, Texas
Bennie Sargent, Paris, Kentucky Deb Schauf, Edmond, Oklahoma Dave Whitaker, Lascassas, Tennessee  


AQHA Animal Welfare Commission's Accomplishments since 2012

Additional Animal Welfare Initiatives

AQHA's Statement of Position on Animal Welfare

This document is posted at all AQHA shows to help exhibitors understand AQHA's rules dealing with inhumane treatment and unsportsmanlike conduct.

AQHA Animal Welfare Grievance Committee

The Animal Welfare Grievance Committee reviews violations that involve a judge’s disqualification for abuse or the issuance of a steward warning card. The review consists of all evidence gathered in the investigation of the violation. Evidence includes, but is not limited to, steward warning cards, photographs, videos, witness statements, judge’s cards, judge’s score sheets, etc.

Once the members of the AWGC review the case and determine a disciplinary action is appropriate, they will recommend a fine and/or penalty to the AQHA Executive Committee. The fine and penalty will be based on the Level of Violation (see AQHA rules VIO200-VIO204.19) and the AQHA Fine and Penalty Chart.

The Animal Welfare Grievance Committee is made-up of industry professionals who include AQHA judges, AQHA Professional Horsemen, university professors, veterinarians and association professionals.

How the Fines and Penalties Process Works

Fines & Penalties Chart

What to Do if You Witness or Suspect Inhumane Treatment