"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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

NEWS - MORE Soring Right Before Our Eyes!

Check out what this USDA-trained HIO the Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association (SSHBEA) allowed in the ring on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

This is a horse undergoing inspection by the DQP. The guy on the left of the screen is the DQP. When presented for inspection, the horse must do a figure eight around the cones and the DQP must watch to see any signs of lameness, especially as the horse is turning. Then he comes back to the DQP and the DQP checks each forelimb for signs of scars and palpates the pasterns, heels, and bulbs for signs of the horse flinching. They DQP can also measure hooves that look too long and inspect the shoes to make sure they're the right weight and that any additions--such as clips--were forged from the shoe itself and not added on.

There are three major things to note in this video.

1. The horse is obviously in pain by the way he's walking. He's in so much pain he doesn't want to walk, and he's trying to rock back on his back end to take the pain off his front end.

2. This horse is NOT a big lick horse, so it's further proof that the flat shod horses can be just as sored as the BL horses can be.

2. The DQP (the guy in the black shirt on the left of the screen) isn't even watching the horse walk the cones like he's supposed to. In fact, he seems to be pointedly looking elsewhere.

The letter they sent me that I quoted in my previous post also stated the following.

"We believe that our Agency's HPA enforcement efforts have been instrumental in instigating a cultural shift in the attitudes of some horse industry stakeholders toward soring, to the extent that the practice is no longer defended or advocated publicly."

Maybe not defended or advocated publicly, but it sure seems to me it sure is ALLOWED to still go on publicly!

So, I believe my assumption that the USDA is working hard to end this is wrong. Here's my response via email, to which I included this video.

Dear M. _______,

I received the letter you wrote to me dated June 25, 2010. I appreciate your response.

I would like to draw your attention to the attached video. You will need Quicktime to view it. It was filmed secretly at a Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association show in Kentucky on June 26, 2010. I found out this horse was allowed to enter the class and placed first. SSHBEA is one of your approved HIOs, and therefore I can assume that the DQP was trained by the USDA, as all DQPs are supposed to be trained.

Obviously, this horse is in severe pain. It is in so much pain that it can hardly walk, and it continues to try to rock back onto its back end to alleviate the pain in its front end. It is also quite obvious that the DQP is not watching the horse during what is supposed to be its inspection. In fact, by where his face is pointed, he seems to be pointedly looking away from the horse.

This brings me back to your letter. You stated the following:

"Experienced veterinary medical officers have observed that the scarring detected in sored horses today appears less severe than seen 10 years ago."

You are correct. But do you understand why this has happened? It's because now the industry is relying on the practice of pressure shoeing instead of chemical soring to get past the "scar rule." This video is proof that the horse most likely is pressure shod, since he has no chains on his pasterns to cause him to walk like that. Pressure shoeing falls into the definition of soring per the HPA, in that it causes pain to the animal's limbs to make it lift its feet higher.

"We believe that our Agency's HPA enforcement efforts have been instrumental in instigating a cultural shift in the attitudes of some horse industry stakeholders toward soring, to the extent that the practice is no longer defended or advocated publicly."

Perhaps it is not being publicly defended or advocated, but it certainly is still being publicly allowed to continue. If you really believe that, then I believe you need to educate yourselves further on what is going on through eyewitness observation, not through the false information being provided by industry stakeholders.

I will make my point again, which you seem to have missed. It is the USDA's job to enforce the HPA. If you believe your efforts are making a difference, then you are quite mistaken. The industry has had since 1976 to clean up its act. If they haven't done it by now, they will never do it. They are still soring their horses behind your back. This video is proof of it--it happened a mere five days ago. I understand that an additional $400,000 was allocated to the USDA to enforce the HPA when the anti-horse slaughter bill passed. You now have plenty of money to DQP at a show at least once a weekend. You also have the power to ban pads, stacks, bands, and chains from the show ring, just as all of the sound HIOs have done. This abusive practice will not end on its own--it's high time the USDA forced it to end. In a time where our government continues to sit on its hands and ignore EPA violations (for example, the BP oil spill and the mine explosion in Virginia), I would hope we could see some positive change in this comparatively small section of federal law enforcement.

Hey sore horse supporters, want to tell me how this video was faked? I'd love to hear it! Bring it on!


GoLightly said...

Argh. That is so sick...

Unknown said...

This makes me sick to my stomach. I cant STAND to see videos of these beautiful animals made to walk in these over exagerated unnatural gaits. So cruel. I want to scream!

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