We frequently mention the comings and goings of new trade associations in Washington, though inevitably the process is much more about the former than the latter it's a rare thing to find an association has decided that it no longer needs an agent in the capital.
But that's what the American Quarter Horse Association has done. First arriving in Washington in 2004, the racing and riding horse group initially registered on "legislative issues related to the equine industry," before branching out in subsequent disclosures to horse slaughtering, agricultural appropriations, and the right to ride on federal lands. The AQHA was a modest spender, dividing around $170,000 a year between its own in-house lobbyists and the Macon Edwards Company.
Last week, however, it filed its lobbying termination. According to Barbara Linke, the association's director of public policy, "We didn't really have an issue we had to lobby for anymore."
Horse slaughterhouses had been the issue closest to the group's heart, and while Washington debated a possible ban, the last domestic slaughtering operation was shuttered by state mandate. While horse lovers have recently been in a furor over American horses being shipped to Mexico for slaughter, "there's not a lot of control we have with what happens in Mexico," Linke says. "The issue became kind of moot."
Update: As commenter Megan notes, the matter might not be as settled as Linke suggests. Current legislation authored by Sen. Mary Landreau (D-La.) would affect the knowing transport of horses to slaughterhouses, and the AQHA has criticized the bill as being too restrictive on the horse industry.
At least so far, there's been no sign that other players have in the horse debate decided to go home. Beltex, a Fort Worth company with an expertise in horse meat and other specialty animal products, is still registered to lobby through its in-house operations as well as the firm Olsson, Frank & Weeda, though under a different name: apparently "The Common Sense Horse Coalition (Formerly Beltex)" has a better ring. Beltex couldn't be reached for comment.