I'm sure that by now, most of you out there know that the USDA is now requiring that all horses that come to the DQP for inspection be unsaddled. This is because another way to steward the TWHs so they don't react to palpation is to put metal bit burrs or alligator clips on their skin underneath the saddles or the girths. This causes them redirected pain, because if they move it makes things worse. So they don't flinch when being palpated. DQPs are also checking in the horses' mouths to check for alligator clips or any other foreign body in there, also used for stewarding.
Sure, it's a pain in the ass, and yes, I've heard people complain about it. But I think this is a great idea. Step up the enforcement, and do it any way deemed necessary. If we don't comply or complain, then we are only allowing the bad guys to continue to get away with this stuff.
Of course, with change comes great resistance, and of course the sore horse community is up in arms. Here's an email I received today. I hope all of you will take the time to write to these folks and let them know that we support them.
Hello Sound Horse Supporters,
As many of you are aware, the USDA has dramatically stepped up the procedures for inspections in 2009 (no scars at all, use of thermography, use of sniffer, saddleless inspections, etc.). Many people on the dark side are unhappy about this and attempting to convince the USDA that inspections are unfair, abuse of power, overreaching, etc. Some are also contacting their political representatives to ask that they step in and stop the USDA.
If you have the opportunity to email the USDA in support of their stepped up procedures to eliminate the scarred and sore horse from the show ring, that would be great. Remember, they need to hear from both sides and not just the dark side. The individuals to contact are
Dr. Chester A. Gipson - Chester.A.Gipson@aphis.usda.gov
Kevin A. Shea (Mr. Shea is Dr. Gibson's manager) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea M. Morgan - Andrea.M.Morgan@aphis.usda.gov
Dr. Rachel Cezar - Rachel.Cezar@aphis.usda.gov
In addition, if you would like more detail on the USDA's actions and plans for 2009, the audio recording of Dr. Cezar's presentation at the Sound Horse Conference is on that website: www.soundhorseconference.com It is extremely informative and you will learn quite a bit about their step up in enforcement for this year. Click on the "2009 Conference" link and then click on "Future Plans of the USDA."
On another note, please feel free to forward this message to those that are interested in supporting the sound horse. We need their voices to be heard.
If writing is not your "thing", here is some sample language:
I am writing to thank you for your continued work in keeping sore horses out of the show ring. I realize that some exhibitors are complaining that the inspection process may take slightly longer; however, as an opponent of soring, these procedures are more than worthwhile.
Please keep up the good work and know that many sound horse owners fully support your actions. As a sound horse owner, I hope to be able to compete on a level playing field in 2009, knowing that no scarred or sore horses are making it into the ring.
I commend the USDA on the strong position that has been taken recently in defending Tennessee Walking Horses from the abuses of soring with your current inspection standards and inspection process.
Please stand strong against any criticisms of your inspection procedures and decisions about scarring. I want the Horse Protection Act vigorously enforced so that there are no scarred and sore horses in the show ring ever again.
Thank you so much for your unit's strong enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. I am a proud owner of sound Walking Horses. I am looking forward to the day when I don't have to caveat that ownership with a statement that I don't abuse them and have nothing to do with soring, etc. Thank you for bringing that day ever nearer!!
"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
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