Livestock and Recreation:
Are horses livestock, pets, or companion animals?
Quinn, Judy Baskin, Judy Teichman and Sigrid White
Are horses livestock, pets, or companion animals? Including
horses in the definition of livestock has recently been a topic for debate. For example:
· Horses are omitted from the definition of livestock in the
Local Coastal Program (LCP) for San Mateo County, which has left the door open for special
regulations of horses in the unincorporated part of the County.
· A recent State law that forbids transport of horses to slaughterhouses has raised
questions about how the horse is defined.
· The federal government uses a "food or fiber" test to determine whether
livestock qualifies for certain grants, and considers horses "agricultural" if
they work on a cattle ranch or otherwise "recreational". However, in most
federal references on waste management, NPDES, etc the horse is considered along with
other commercially raised food production livestock.
We contend that the horse is fundamentally livestock. Although horses may also be
companion animals often used in recreation, they have never been defined as pets. In
support of our contention, we offer the following references and citations that classify
horses as livestock. This information may prove useful in the future for horsemen where
recreation use is proposed.
Webster's Dictionary (1977) defines livestock as animals kept or raised for use or
Livestock in the California Code of Regulations
Judy Baskin of SMCHA has provided us with the following research results (2001) confirming
that horses are livestock as defined by regulation:
California Civil Code
· Section 3080. "Livestock means any cattle, sheep, swine, goat, or horse, mule or
· Section 12731. (a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of
this code, where livestock is sold on the basis of weight at a public sales yard, or by or
at any livestock market, market agency, or dealer which is subject to the Packers and
Stockyards Act of 1921 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 181 et seq.), the livestock shall be weighed by a
weighmaster, and a weighmaster certificate shall be issued to the buyer and seller.
(b) The term "livestock" includes cattle, sheep, swine, horses, mules, and
· Section 55701. As used in this article, the following
definitions shall apply:
(a) "Livestock" means any cattle, sheep, swine, goat, or any horse, mule, or
other equine, whether living or dead.
(b) "Meatpacker" means an establishment where livestock are either slaughtered,
the carcasses thereof are prepared, or meat is processed and where state or federal
inspection is maintained.
· Title 23, California Code of Regulations, Waters; Division
3, State Water Resources Control Board; Chapter 15, Discharges of Waste to Land. Confined
Animal Facility:"Confined animal facility" means any place where cattle, calves,
sheep, swine, horses, mules, goats, fowl, or other domestic animals are corralled, penned,
tethered, or otherwise enclosed or held and where feeding is by means other than
Cal Business and Professional Code
· Section 4825.1(d) in reference to veterinary practice: Animals
raised, kept, or
used for profit, and not including those species that are usually kept as pets such as
companion animals, including equines1 (see end note) 1 The term "companion
animal", although used in the definition of "livestock" under Cal Bus and
Prof Code 4825.1(d), was not found or otherwise defined elsewhere in the California Code.
California Food and Agriculture Code
· Section 14205 in reference to livestock drugs: Animals
raised, kept, or used for
profit, and not including those species that are usually kept as pets such as dogs, cats,
and pet birds.
California Tax Code
· Section 39-26-102 (5.5) on Sales tax: Cattle, horses, mules, burros
use, and any other animals which is raised primarily for food, fiber, or hide production.
California Vehicle Code
· Section 21759. The driver of any vehicle approaching any horse drawn vehicle, any
ridden animal, or any livestock shall exercise proper control of his vehicle and shall
reduce speed or stop as may appear necessary or as may be signalled or otherwise requested
by any person driving, riding or in charge of the animal or livestock in order to avoid
frightening and to safeguard the animal or livestock and to insure the safety of any
person driving or riding the animal or in charge of the livestock.
In a survey done by MultiState Associates, horses are defined
similarly as Livestock in numerous other states. Our thanks to them and Wayne Stutz of the
American Quarterhorse Association for providing this helpful data.
Horses and Recreation
Judy Teichman of MarinWatch has provided the following
research that may prove useful the equestrians in the future (2001).
California GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54000-54005
· 54000. Upon application to the Department of Transportation, a flood control district,
county, or city, and subject to any conditions imposed by it, permission may be granted to
any person, or riding club to enter, traverse, and use for horseback riding, any trail,
right of way, easement, river, flood control channel, or wash, owned or controlled by the
state, a city, or county.
· 54001. A fee shall not be charged for the use of such bridle paths.
· 54003. An equestrian group may be granted the right to erect and maintain suitable
trail markers for the convenience and guidance of horseback riders, but a structure shall
not be erected on state-owned property without the approval of the State Lands Commission.
· 54004. It is unlawful for any person to remove, deface, or destroy the markers, or to
erect fences, barbed wire, or other obstructions on the bridle trails.
· 54005. The granting power may extend, terminate, or modify its permission at any time.
The following was researched and provided by Sigrid White of
the West Coast Horse Association:
California CIVIL CODE Recreational Use Statute DIVISION 2.
Property PART 2. Real or Immovable Property TITLE 3. Rights and Obligations of Owners
CHAPTER 2. Obligations of Owners
California Civil Code Section 846 (1995) "Duty of care
or warning to persons entering property for recreation; Effect of permission to enter
An owner of any estate or any other interest in real
property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, owes no duty of care to keep the premises
safe for entry or use by others for any recreational purpose or to give any warning of
hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such premises to persons
entering for such purpose, except as provided in this section.
A "recreational purpose," as used in this section,
includes such activities as fishing, hunting, camping, water sports, hiking, spelunking,
sport parachuting, riding, including animal riding, snowmobiling, and all other types of
vehicular riding, rock collecting, sightseeing, picnicking, nature study, nature
contacting, recreational gardening, gleaning, hang gliding, winter sports, and viewing or
enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, natural, or scientific sites.
An owner of any estate or any other interest in real
property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, who gives permission to another for entry
or use for the above purpose upon the premises does not thereby
(a) extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose, or
(b) constitute the person to whom permission has been granted the legal status of an
invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed, or
(c) assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to person or property
caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been granted except as provided in
This section does not limit the liability which otherwise
(a) for willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use,
structure or activity; or
(b) (b) for injury suffered in any case where permission to enter for the above purpose
was granted for a consideration other than the consideration, if any, paid to said
landowner by the state, or where consideration has been received from others for the same
(c) to any persons who are expressly invited rather than merely permitted to come upon the
premises by the landowner.
Nothing in this section creates a duty of care or ground of
liability for injury to person or property.
Livestock and the Federal Government
What USDA in California uses for the definition of "agricultural" is
"animals for food or fiber". For horses used on a ranch, to work cattle, that
falls into the definition of "agriculture." Other horses are considered
"recreational." This designation has been arrived at for the purposes of the
Farm Bill for USDA cost share program). The Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) have
been trying to get the USDA to loosen the definition for horses, so horse facilities are
eligible for cost share funds, but to date have not been successful. (Personal
communication with Lisa Shanks, Petaluma RCD, 2000).
In other states horses can be slaughtered for their meat,
used for both human consumption and made into pet food. Horse products, particularly mane
and tail hair, are available at tack stores and through catalogs. Because the horse is a
small player on the field of food production agriculture, it has not been considered
worthy of research investment through federal government grants.
Information provided by Scott Kennedy, SMCo Mounted Patrol
IRS: Chapter 6 - Horse Industry Issues
Operations dealing with horses will encompass a variety of
end results. Whether the operation is dealing with race, show, work, or special purpose
horses will determine the level of investment and "polish" which is applied to
the appearance of the operation. Without getting into specifics by breed, the following
will recount the possible structure of the operations.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, International
Administration, most U.S. horse meat is exported to Europe where it is especially popular
in Belgium and France. Horses are covered under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and thus
must be slaughtered under federal or state inspection. Any carcasses slaughtered for sale
must be inspected. There are no quality or yield grades for horse meat. Horse meat is also
used in some pet foods.
Although many Americans have an aversion to eating horsemeat,
the horse meat industry is now rivaling the beef and pork industries in the amounts of
fresh meat shipped abroad. In 1994, meat from 109,353 horses was shipped overseas. In
Sweden horse meat outsells lamb and mutton combined. It is also commonly consumed in
Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, but it is most popular
in Belgium and France. See the write-up for beef cattle for the general concepts of this
type of operation.
Horses (equines) federally inspected:
Most horse operations will be breeding race, show, work or
special purpose horses. Ancillary operations for training and boarding will also be
included in this MSSP segment.
Training operations will take in horses and provide feed,
boarding, and training appropriate to the purpose of the horse. Race horses, whether
thoroughbreds, quarterhorses, walkers, trotters, or other types, will be provided
appropriate training over a period of time. Show horses, likewise, receive extensive
training and grooming. The trainers will charge fees for feed and board on a daily rate
and charge out the training at flat rates, hourly rates, or may accept an interest in the
horse as a fee. This type of fee requires determination of value for inclusion as income
in the current year. The amount determined as income would become the basis of the
interest. The horse owner would recognize the transfer of the interest as a sale and
realize a gain or loss on the transfer as it relates to the basis of the horse. See F.C.
McDougal et al. (1974) 62 TC 720 for this court decision.
A boarding facility will normally provide only feed, board,
and general care. These services will be priced out on a daily basis with special charges
for unusual care situations as they arise. The necessity of veterinary services would be
an example of unusual situations.
Breeding work horses will entail many of the same aspects of
other breeding operations without the high level of appearance. Emphasis on the work
characteristics of the horses is common with purebred considerations downplayed. Working
horses would be those used in other
operations for draft purposes or herding and rounding up other animals. Riding fences in
rugged terrain to determine and execute repairs would be another function of work horses.
Special purpose horses would include those trained for rodeo,
riding, hackney, or other such uses. Some overlap of other areas may be possible. The
market for these horses is not extensive but lack of recordkeeping might result in
Race and show horses will likely be 100-percent registered
purebreds with detailed tracking information available in the taxpayer's records and
through the breed associations. The larger, more serious operations will limit activity to
animals with known breeding lineage of successful animals to attempt to maximize
potential. Seldom will a horse with an unproven lineage rise to the top of the sport. When
this does occur, these animals will be highly documented to
ensure profitability from future breeding activities.
Expenses related to horse breeder operations will include
purchases of animals, veterinary fees to keep the animals in the best health condition,
facilities for boarding, feeding, and training, fees for breeding services (either stud or
artificial insemination,) insurance coverage of the animals to compensate for losses due
to injury or accident, advertising and promotion, and specialized feed materials.
Events, shows and races, involving the animals will require
entry fees which are deducted as current expenses. A certain type of race, known as a
"futurity", involves periodic payments of entry fees toward a future event.
These payments are also deducted currently even though the animal may be unable to
participate for any number of reasons.
Race horses have been subject to "syndication," the
partitioning of ownership among, typically, up to 40 shareholders. The syndicated shares
often contain breeding rights for the owners in addition to rights to profits. See IRC
section 464 for the technical definition and application of rules for farming
Stud services are a common source of income for owners of
recognized successful animals. The services may carry guarantees related to conception. A
private treaty is a one-on-one breeding agreement which may have any type of special
arrangement imaginable. No foal free return (NFFR) allows subsequent year attempt if no
foal is conceived in current year. No foal no fee (NFNF) guarantees foal or no liability
is incurred. Neither NFFR nor NFNF are common in the United States. The live foal
guarantee likely carries a higher stud fee due to the additional financial risk to the
stallion owner. If no live foal is produced, the mare may return for service or, possibly,
another mare may be substituted. These guarantees may affect income.
Weaning foals takes place from 4 to 6 months of age.Colts, as
young as 12-months, can impregnate mares. However, normal usage as a stallion will not
take place until 2 years. The decision to castrate, geld, colts will often be made between
1 and 2 years of age, depending on the ability to keep the colt separate from mares.
Training will begin early with temperament being the primary goal. Eventual addition of
saddle and bridle will prepare the foal for being mounted by the age of two years when it
has achieved the majority of its growth. A 3-year old should be in its prime and require
only fine tuning training for further improvement.
The horse industry is not standard in its marketing of
animals. Horses are not generally sold in quantities like other animals. Individual sales
are the norm and factors related to subjective characteristics of the horse greatly affect
IRC Section 1231
Transfer of an interest percentage in an animal in exchange for training or other services
is considered a sale or exchange which results in the recognition of gain or loss for the
fair market value of the interest transferred compared to the basis of the animal. See
F.C. McDougal et al. (1974) 62 TC 720 for the related court decision.
Treas. Reg. section 1.1231-2(c)(1) provides that"* *
*Whether a horse is held for racing purposes shall be determined in accordance with the
i.A horse which has actually been raced at a public race
track shall, except in rare and unusual circumstances, be considered as held for racing
ii.A horse which has not been raced at a public track shall be considered as held for
racing purposes if it has been trained to race and other facts and circumstances in the
also indicate that the horse was held for this purpose.[accompanying clarification
iii.A horse which has neither been raced at a public track nor trained for racing shall
not, except in rare and unusual circumstances, be considered as held for racing
purposes." [Examples follow in the regulations.]
IRC Section 61
Animals not fitting the requirements of the operation will be culled and sold. These sales
may be through auctions or sale barns, but may be directly to buyers. Documentation may be
less detailed on these sales than sales of high quality animals.
Syndication sales will normally involve significant amounts
to be recognized. Stud services will be a recurring source of income in many instances.
IRC Section 168
Certain horses are 3-year property, including, IRC section 168(e)(3)(A)
i.any race horse which is more than 2 years old at the time it is placed in service,
ii.any horse other than a race horse which is more than 12 years old at the time it is
place in service. Any other horse which qualifies for depreciation will be 7-year
property. Within the horse industry, a horse is considered to have been born on January 1
of the year of birth for designation as a 1-year old, 2-year old, etc. Geldings cannot be
placed in service in a breeding operation except in working or "teasing applications.
To The Reader
If you know of other citations that they think could be helpful to equestrians, please
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need to reference them.
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