The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has announced that Emily Weiss, PhD, Cert. AAB, has been named vice-president of its newly-formed equine welfare department.

Focusing on ensuring equids nationwide have good welfare, the ASPCA will work collaboratively with stakeholders in both the rescue community and equine industries to help at-risk horses safely transition to new homes, increase safety net support for horse owners so they have adequate access to resources in times of need, and enhance its anti-cruelty efforts.

“Protecting horses has been central to the ASPCA’s mission since our founding more than 150 years ago, and through this new program we are rededicating ourselves to developing innovative ideas and partnerships to promote the bond between horses and humans and improve the welfare of equines in the United States,” said Weiss. “The opportunities for impact are tremendous, and we look forward to deepening our collaboration with equine rescues, advocates, and horse industry professionals to provide life-changing options for horses and their owners.”

In her position, Weiss will oversee the strategic direction of the ASPCA Equine Welfare program, which includes the organization’s participation in The Right Horse Initiative, a collective of industry professionals and equine welfare advocates working to improve the lives of horses in transition by increasing training opportunities for horses and promoting adoption. The ASPCA is also collaborating with veterinarians and global animal health company Zoetis on a pilot project that provides access to vital veterinary care and increases the likelihood horses can remain in their current homes.

The ASPCA’s efforts to ensure equines have good welfare also include supporting humane legislation and advocacy, field rescue, and targeted equine grants. In 2016, the ASPCA awarded more than $1 million in equine grants to assist 171 horse rescues across the country.

Weiss has been with the ASPCA since 2005, most recently serving as vice president of its Research and Development team. She is co-editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science and has published and lectured extensively in the field of applied animal behavior. Weiss has extensive experience working with zoos, shelters, and barns as a behaviorist and scientist, has a strong understanding of the equine field, and has owned and trained horses most of her life.