"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, March 23, 2011

NEWS and ARTICLES - SHOW Releases Trainer's Show Violation Results and My Letter to the USDA

Below are the results of the Trainer's Show over the weekend as posted on the Walking Horse Report. Below that is my letter to the USDA this morning. Since it sums up all of my feelings about this I won't put in any additional comments. Please send in your letters to the USDA as well if you are also as unhappy as I am.

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SHOW Releases 2011 National Trainers’ Show Inspection Results
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The SHOW HIO has tabulated the final inspection results from the 2011 National Trainers’ Show held last weekend, March 17-19, at the Calsonic Arena. The SHOW DQPs present at the show were Tony Edwards, DQP Coordinator, John Paul Riner and Bill Coleman. The USDA was also present at the National Trainers’ Show with a team of two VMOs.

In total 442 entries were presented for inspection in the three nights. A total of 35 pre-show violations were written. The breakdown of those 35 violations is the following:

Bilateral Sensitivity – 6

Unilateral Sensitivity – 22

Scar Rule – 1

Bad Image – 1

Foreign Substance – 4

High Band – 1

During the show, the USDA checked all second and third places horses after the show and SHOW checked each first place entry. The breakdowns of the 13 post show violations were:

Scar Rule – 6

High Band – 2

Illegal Shoeing – 1

Open Lesion – 1

Illegal Chain – 3

In addition to the above 48 HPA violations, four horses were excused pre-show for unacceptable, which is not an HPA violation. “Overall we were very pleased with the inspection process and the success of the National Trainers’ Show,” said President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins. He continued, “We were pleased with our working relationship with the USDA VMOs as well as the effort the trainers put forth to bring compliant horses to the inspection station. The number of entries at the Trainers’ Show speaks volumes to the efforts of our trainers, the staff at SHOW and our consistent and fair inspections by our DQPs.”

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Letter to the USDA, March 23, 2010
Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer's Show Results

I wanted to write this morning to say that I received the information about the results of the violations at the Trainer's show over this past weekend. They were posted on the Walking Horse Report today.

First, I am very disappointed that the USDA still has not acted on its promise to decertify any HIO that has not implemented the new penalty structure. If you had done so, then perhaps you would not have had to spend the money to go to this show as it may not have been held. And as such, those who did violate the HPA at this show will now not receive the maximum penalties possible and actually start ending this problem with this show.

Second, I understand that the USDA's VMOs were at the show and inspected horses. I watched parts of the Trainer's show online and was absolutely sickened by the look of these horses in the ring. I imagine that it was because there is no rule yet to pull shoes after the classes to look for pressure shoeing. It was quite obvious that this is what most of these horses were suffering from. I have been told by people who are in the industry that there is absolutely no way the horses could look the way they did without having been sored in some way.

This has gotten out of hand. It is clear to me that SHOW was on their best behavior because you were present. It is also clear that they are wanting to show how many people they can catch so you won't decertify them; or perhaps more accurately, show how many people are willing to take the fall for others--I'm sure none of the violators were major trainers in the business. And it is further clear that they are releasing their violations so quickly after the show to basically puff out their chests and gloat--never have they released their violations so quickly before.

And let's point out the obvious: that there were sore horses at the show. This law has been in effect for nearly 40 years, and horses are still being sored. This is a fairly easy issue to fix, yet the USDA still won't do it.

We know these horses are being sored behind your backs. You were not present at the Tattersall's sale in Kentucky in February. I was told by people who attended the sale that some of the horses were so sore they couldn't even walk, and that evidence of soring was everywhere.

Why are you continuing to allow this to go on? What is so wrong with shutting down these HIOs and ending this ridiculous farce? Why will the USDA not take action and take away the tools being used to sore horses, specifically the pads, bands, and chains? Why won't the USDA use their ability to enforce the HPA by any means necessary as it is written in the HPA itself? And why won't you answer these questions?

I know I am deeply frustrated by this continued dance the USDA plays with the industry. The horses and the industry continue to suffer as the USDA stands by and allows it to happen. You have the power to end this, but you are just as guilty in continuing to allow the abuse to go on. It is very difficult to stand behind you when you continue to allow the industry to walk all over you.

I and I'm sure the sound horse supporters are begging you to stop this nonsense. The industry does not care and will not fix itself--you have to do it. I am ashamed of our elected government that it has not been done so far, but I hold out hope that perhaps one day this government will do something right and will stop this forever.

2 comments:

cubnil said...

Did you ever get a response from the USDA?

katphoti said...

From my letter, no, unfortunately. And I doubt I will. They tend to ignore most letters, even when I write and tell them they've done something good. But the fact is that letters do make a difference--if we continue to send them, then we fill up their inboxes and the squeaky wheel will get the grease!

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