"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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - PRIDE'S Petition Response

PRIDE recently released its response against the petition. WEEEE! The game continues!

Click here to view PRIDE's response. All 35 pages of some really strange information, like how the "buildups" on a Big Lick horse are similar to the shoes worn by ASBs. Um, ASBs don't wear much more than an inch or so of buildup, and the horses don't stand at extreme angles with sheered heels and 5 inch toes. Or this: "The Petitioners want the USDA to decertify “non-compliant” HIOs. The HSUS is really asking the USDA to decertify any HIO that does not agree with them." First, the HSUS isn't the only petitioner. Second, have you talked to the HSUS? Did they tell you that's what they really mean? Third, whether or not an HIO agrees with the HSUS is irrelevant: the current HIOs are continuing to break the law, and quite blatantly so by not adding the mandatory penalty structure. Therefore, they should be shut down because they can't seem to keep the sore horse out of the ring. Really, a lot of the petition is a verbal attack against the petitioners, which really makes them sound like children whining because they aren't allowed to play on the jungle gym. PRIDE also makes extremely broad assumptions about the petitioners (my favorite being "Most of these animal rights people have never seen the horses of the 1970’s[sic]") and takes information out of context and skew it to their needs. And they need to learn correct grammar; for example, its "1970s," not the possessive "1970's." You'll get a good laugh out of this petition. There are very little facts and a lot of conjecture on the part of PRIDE.

Below is the letter PRIDE released on the Walking Horse Chat, an online forum for the Walking Horse Industry.


April 22, 2011

Tennessee Walking Horse Industry

Dear TWH Enthusiast:

As most of you are aware the Humane Society of the United States along with The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The American Horse Protection Association Inc, Friends of Sound Horses Inc, and Former Senator Joseph D Tydings filed a Petition For Rulemaking with the USDA almost 8 months ago. This is just the latest and lengthiest of a consistent series of attempts by these organizations to convince the USDA into implementing more stringent rules on the Walking Horse Industry. The Walking Horse Industry needs to understand that the USDA is not the enemy. Under the law the USDA must listen to anyone who speaks out on these issues. We are going to continue to struggle until the entire Walking Horse Industry takes a proactive stance in dealing with these issues. PRIDE informed the industry last fall that we had submitted a lengthy detailed response to this petition to the USDA in an attempt to work these issues out. Unfortunately the USDA has continued to state that there will be “no negotiation just litigation”. PRIDE did not make our response public in anticipation that the USDA would at some point post a notice in the federal register announcing that they were going to open the regulations up again. As expected the USDA made that announcement last week. The official comment period runs thru June 13, 2011. In response to this announcement PRIDE resubmitted our detailed response to the federal register to be entered in the public comments. Our official response has been attached to this letter for publication.

PRIDE, SHOW and the other HIOs are standing up for our industry and making our positions know to the USDA on these issues and we will continue to address them moving forward. The industry now has two great responses as outlines to use in developing your own responses to this petition. It is not enough for the HIOs to comment. The federal register must be filled up with comments from every owner, trainer, exhibitor, breeder, show official, charitable organization and anyone else that has an interest in the future of this industry and this wonderful horse. I challenge each and every one of you to see how many people you personally can get to comment on the register. Please do not wait to the last minute. This is the industries time to speak up and be heard. If you fail to do so then you have no complaint when the results are not favorable. This is serious business and I can promise you that the HSUS and their merry band of radicals are taking this very seriously. I cannot stress enough how important it is for this register to be filled with support for this horse and your rights to due process of law. Act now or it will be too late.

Pride is dedicated to enforcing the Horse Protection Act fairly and consistently for all exhibitors, owners, and trainers. Over the next few months you will see Pride continue to work with other Industry Organizations to help promote the Tennessee Walking Horse. We have spoken to many of you individually of our vision for where this industry should be moving forward. We will continue these discussions and we will facilitate many positive changes in this industry moving us into a new era for the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry. We want to thank everyone who has supported us so far in our efforts. We appreciate all of the constructive feedback we have received and we have listened to your concerns. We will continue to make the proper adjustments to our organization in order to serve our customers more efficiently in the future. The HIOs cannot fix the issues that the Walking Horse Industry faces alone. There is a biblical quote that I live by, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” Pride cannot make the changes that are required in this industry alone. Every owner, exhibitor, trainer, judge, dqp, and show manager must step up and do their part to implement the changes that we will propose. I am looking forward to working with each of you to move this industry into a new era. Thank you for your cooperation and support.


Sam Hamilton

Chairman Pride


Of course, we expected this. PRIDE is claiming that the USDA and the HSUS are trying to run the Walking Horse Industry out of business. But my favorite line from the letter is this: "We are going to continue to struggle until the entire Walking Horse Industry takes a proactive stance in dealing with these issues."

I have an idea for a proactive stance: STOP SORING AND ENCOURAGING THOSE SHOWING UNDER YOUR HIO TO BREAK THE LAW. It's a pretty simple solution that no one wants to contemplate.

But PRIDE is absolutely correct on one thing: the comments section DOES need to be filled up with responses, but we need them from BOTH sides. We need to see responses from the sound horse community and those who want to see the USDA do their job. Again, to post a comment, click here, then click Comment Due underneath Horse Protection Act; Petition for Amendments to Regulations. Please, don't forget to comment!

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