"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

THOUGHTS - Feined Ignorance of What's Really Going On, Part 2

So what's wrong with Part 1? The information the person (let's call that person "X") is saying is very positive in so many ways. However, I have heard this response time and time again from sources too many to count. What I see is a typical response from someone who knows darn well what's going on yet is pretended that nothing is happening. Let's break down these emails and address each item one by one.

1. First, let's point out that X was not able to back up any of their claims with any actual facts when the responder was. This is also extremely typical of this attitude--no facts to back up false information.

2. X keeps saying the same thing over and over again. "98% compliant," "USDA has handled it," etc. Rhetoric studies tell us that people who can't think of anything better to say merely repeat exactly what they've said over and over again.

3. Direct quote: "The matter has been dealt with." How? Why are we continuing to see exhibitors scatter when the USDA inspectors show up at shows, why are we continuing to see photographs and x-rays of sore horses (see SHC), why are tickets still being issued and violations being found? If it had been dealt with, then why is the evidence still piling up?

4. Direct quote: "The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is 98% better than it was 20 years ago...." First, I have asked this question time and time again of obvious violators and people who obviously support them: WHY NOT 100% BETTER? Why has it not ended? Second, why only within the past 20 years? Why didn't it clean up when the HPA went into effect in 1970?

5. Direct quote: "I remember when the horses' feet were bloody and the horse could not even walk without someone walking behind it and beating the horse. Last year at the Celebration the horses were walking to the DQP...feet as clean as a whistel [sic]..." So no blood means the horse isn't sore? So we have to physically see the blood and pain in order to know if a horse is sore? How come we are finding evidence of horses having doorstops, golf balls, and other foreign objects wedged between the package and the horse's foot, which has been filed down so the horse is standing on its sole to make it painful?

6. Direct quote: "Yesterday we made a young girl with bone cancer very happy - the Make A Wish Foundation is buying her a Tennessee Walking Horse to ride and to love." So why aren't you donating the horse? Why is it being bought? I'm not impressed by this act--I've seen it hundreds of times on known sore horse barn websites. I know many sound horse barns that have sold or donated horses to people with handicaps. They have not advertised it nor have they made a big deal about it. I find that people who do advertise it are looking for attention and for subconsious forgiveness for their horrible deeds.

7. Direct quote: "...and then when they won, they had to go back through the very strict inspection system and there were very few failures, so to speak." First, what do you mean by "so to speak?" Second, so you're saying that there WERE failures, even if there were just a few. Continued failures only show that the problem is still going on.

8. Probably the biggest one of all: "98% compliant." Where do you get this number from? Did someone just tell you this? We have proof that actual numbers of horses at shows are kept a carefully defended secret so the sore horse industry can compare the violation tickets to the number of entries, not the number of horses. Example: A show has 100 horses that are exhibited. Each horse enters 5 classes. That's 500 total entries. If 10 different horses are ticketed, that means 10 different horses are denied showing. 10 horses divided by 500 entries means 2% of the horses were not compliant. However, 10 horses divided by 100 horses total means 10% of the horses weren't compliant. That's a lot different than only 2% non-compliance.

Look at it on a smaller scale. A show has 50 horses that are exhibited. Each horse enters 5 classes. That's 250 total entries. 10 different horses are ticketed and denied showing. 10 / 250 = 4% non-compliance. 10 / 50 = 20% non-compliance. The difference between entries and horses becomes larger and larger.

Overall, I personally am unable to see any merit in one person saying that the problem is solved when we have so much physical and mathematical evidence that says it's not.

So, try it yourself. The next time someone tells you that the industry is 98% complaint, ask where they got the number, and if they say TWHBEA or NHSC says so, ask them how the number was calculated. Then ask the big question: why not 100% compliance? I bet you will either receive a roundabout answer that doesn't address the question, or more likely, no answer at all.

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