"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, July 9, 2011

HOW YOU CAN HELP - WHTA Asks for EVERYONE to Respond to the Proposed HPA Amendments

Alright sound horse warriors, we have received a call to duty! Below is the letter as published by the Walking Horse Report from Bill Cantrell, president of WHTA. My comments are after the letter.


Cantrell Makes Request to File Response

Friday, July 08, 2011

WHTA Member Notice:

Subject: Mandatory Penalties Rulemaking Request

Action: File a response opposing this rulemaking request


On May 27, 2011 the USDA published in the Federal Register a proposal to amend the horse protection regulations to require Horse Industry Organizations (HIO) or associations that license Designated Qualified Persons (DQP) to assess and enforce minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act and the regulations. To date, approximately 32 responses have been filed and the overwhelming majority is in favor of the proposed amendment and thus mandatory penalties.

It is urgent that the show horse industry act now on this public comment period and let their feelings be known by the USDA. This is an opportunity for the industry to be heard and everyone that owns, trains, exhibits or enjoys the Tennessee Walking Horse should feel responsible to file a response. The deadline for responses is July 26, 2011.

There are two ways to file your comment:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2011-0030 to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2011-0030, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS-2011-0030.

I urge each of you to file a personal response to this rulemaking request. The WHTA will file a response but the number of responses filed opposing this action is very important.

Thank you,

Bill Cantrell, WHTA President


Mr. Cantrell is absolutely right:

...Everyone that owns, trains, exhibits or enjoys the Tennessee Walking Horse should feel responsible to file a response.

So this is our call to duty too! We need to file our responses to let the USDA know we support their decision.

There is a lot of talk going on in the circles that want to keep the rules as is that these actions are "unconstitutional." Well, the U.S. Constitution only sets up how the U.S. Government is supposed to run...THAT'S IT. There is nothing unconstitutional about making amendments to laws that are currently not being followed. If we didn't allow amendments or changes, then such major trials as Roe vs. Wade or Kramer vs. Kramer would not have made a difference to the national laws. If they are talking about the part that says life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we all know that that does not mean you can run around doing whatever you want without consequence. For example, pedophiles are happy when they are abusing children. So should we not have laws against it, just because the Constitution implies that it's okay since the pedophile's happy?

The USDA is absolutely are not taking away anyone's right to show horses or enjoy their horses by making amendments to these rules. First, amendments are allowed per the Constitution and the HPA itself. Second, the HPA gives the USDA APHIS permission to enforce the HPA by any means necessary, and that may mean by amendments. Third, the USDA is also going with what their bosses are telling them, specifically the OIG, which has deemed the current way of enforcing the HPA as not working at all and that changes must be made. The industry seems to have completely forgotten this fact.

The industry is also crying that the industry itself is being impeded by these rules, which is against the HPA. Well, this is true. But the problem is that the industry refuses to end soring, so their actions MUST be impeded in order for the law to be effective. And if the industry doesn't want the government to impose on them, then stop soring horses. As I've said time and time again, it's a very simple answer to a very serious problem. We know the industry is capable of ending soring--they just refuse to do it.

I would think that if the industry would actually end soring, that showing would actually be more fun and profitable for everyone involved. They won't be waiting to see if the USDA will show up at a show, and they don't have to risk not showing their horses and losing money when they pack up and leave when the USDA does come. The industry itself is becoming smaller and smaller as more people are staying away. They wouldn't have to so rudely defend the abuse and the idiotic look of the heavy shod horses all the time. And the industry would actually gain the respect of the rest of the horse world if they were to publicly end soring. It only benefits the industry to start cooperating and stop soring.

CLICK HERE for the document's page, and CLICK THE ORANGE BUTTON to submit your comment. If you have more to say than the allotted space, you can write your response in Word or any other computer program and save it as a PDF file. Or send a letter to the above address.

Pass this information on to your horse friends or any animal supporter you have in your family. Post information about it at your local barn, post it on rescue pages on Facebook, email everyone you can think of. The need for support is overwhelming!

DUE DATE IS JULY 26!!! Be sure to get your comments in ASAP! And THANK YOU in advance for supporting the sound horse and the HPA!


greatbigbubby said...

i have arabs,quarters and paints, can i still help the tennessee walkers? i love them all.show me where to sign.

greatbigbubby said...

what is the minimum penalty?

greatbigbubby said...

my horses are my pets that hardly work at all and i don't know much of that horse show mumbo jumbo jive, but i recognize cruel abuse when i see it. the penalty should be immediate disqualification and criminal animal cruelty charges and a big fat fine. i'd like to know what the minimum penalty is before i vote for minimum penalty. please let me know a.s.a.p.

greatbigbubby said...

soring should not just be punished with minimum penalty (whatever that is ) but should be outlawed altogether. cruel bastards! i don't care if you post this or not. as long as somebody hears it.

dpoutlaw said...

Over thirty years ago when I was showing Saddlebreds, the shows that we participated in did not allow Tennessee Walkers that were 'sored'. I thought it was outlawed way back then.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, greatbigbuddy--I thought for some reason you comments were supposed to go to the post after this one, and I didn't answer your question here! I apologize for that.

So, here's my answer. First, thanks for your concern. To help, you can comment on the USDA docket that is going to have mandatory penalties for all HIOs to adopt. Until now, each HIO made up their own penalties, and they obviously aren't strict enough. So we need the government to step in and make some serious changes. So go to the link in the post that says where you can submit a comment and comment for us. You will help us immensely with saving the TWH!

Anonymous said...


You are right--many show venues won't allow TWHs at their show grounds because of soring. In fact, the USEF and the USDF frowned upon the TWH industry for decades and would not accept them into their show system.

HOWEVER, the very first sound show horse venue, the National Walking Horse Association (NWHA), now has their membership approved by the USEF. This means their rules are going to be considered as a USEF gaited horse rulebook. This means that members of NWHA will be able to show and receive big prizes at USEF shows! Also, the USDF is working with NWHA to make gaited horse dressage rules to add to their rulebook. This is HUGE--it means that they are going to accept only sound horses, and that they are shunning the TWHBEA, PRIDE, SHOW, and various other HIOs where we still find soring in the show ring. So there is major hope for the sound TWH!

Well still need to fight for those horses who continue to suffer, and that means helping out the USDA where we can and getting them to end soring. We will get there someday, but we still need to get as much help as we can!

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