Here are the comments submitted by MHC on SB 820/HB 767, the bill that creates a spay neuter fund for dogs and cats, partially funded by an assessment on all commercial feed. Similar comments were submitted to the House Committee that considered the bill.
Dear Chairwoman Carter Conway and other members of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee:
I am the Vice President of the Maryland Horse Council (MHC), which is the umbrella organization for all of Maryland's equine businesses, farms, associations and enthusiasts. Collectively, MHC represents the interests of over 30,000 Marylanders.
I write regarding SB820, which will be heard by your Committee on Tuesday, March 5. This legislation would authorize the creation of a fund to support a voucher program and other programs that facilitate and promote spay and neutering programs for cats and dogs in Maryland. Monies for the fund would be raised by a $100 registered commercial feed surcharge created by the bill as well as funds allocated from the state budget.
MHC applauds and supports the intent of this legislation, however, we object to assessing the $100 surcharge on equine feeds. Distributors of equine feeds already are assessed a fee of $6 per ton under Agriculture Section 6-107.2. Assessments collected under this section are used "for education, research, and promotional materials and activities intended to benefit the Maryland equine industry" under the auspices of the Maryland Horse Industry Board within the Department of Agriculture. MHC believes that assessing this additional surcharge on distributors of commercial equine feed, for uses that have nothing to do with equines, is unfair and unduly burdensome.
We support an amendment to clarify that the feed surcharge is only assessed on cat and dog food, and not on other commercial feed products.