ASPCA Names Dr. Emily Weiss Vice President of National Equine Welfare Program

ASPCA equine welfare efforts aimed at ensuring horses safely transition to new homes, providing access to critical safety net resources, and enhancing anti-cruelty efforts
November 10, 2017

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the appointment of Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, as vice president of its newly-formed Equine Welfare department. Focusing on ensuring equines 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 careers and homes, increase safety net support for horse owners so they have adequate access to resources in times of need, and enhance its strong 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 Dr. Weiss, vice president of ASPCA Equine Welfare. “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 new position, Dr. Weiss will oversee the strategic direction of the ASPCA Equine Welfare program, which is part of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group and includes the organization’s participation in The Right Horse Initiative, a collective of industry professionals and equine welfare advocates working together to improve the lives of horses in transition by increasing training opportunities for horses and promoting adoption as a preferred method for acquiring a horse. 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 over $1 million in equine grants to assist 171 horse rescues across the country. The grant funding supported several areas of equine welfare including emergency hay relief grants, safety net programs, and reducing the suffering of homeless or neglected equines, as well as the Rescuing Racers Initiative and the annual Help a Horse Day contest.

Dr. Weiss has been with the ASPCA since 2005, most recently serving as vice president of its Research and Development team. In that role, she created innovative, life-saving programs including shelter animal assessment tools such as the Meet Your Match Canine-ality, Puppy-ality and Feline-ality. She also led ASPCA research aimed at challenging long-established beliefs that had restricted animal welfare improvements. 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. Dr. 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.

For more information about the ASPCA’s commitment to equine welfare, visit