"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, August 31, 2011

NEWS and ARTICLES - USDA Defends Their VMOs

I'm glad that the Shelbyville Times-Gazette took the time to talk with the USDA and ask them about this. Overall, I doubt very seriously the USDA is going to bring a VMO who isn't experienced to a horse show like this. It sounds like his/her credentials are excellent, even if he's not overly experienced at HPA inspection work.

Click here for the article from the Shelbyville Times-Gazette titled "Inspector is capable, USDA says." I have copied and pasted the text below.

There was also a good comment on the FTTWH Facebook page by one of the members that pointed out that the VMOs don't do HPA work 100 percent of the time. They have other duties, such as inspecting slaughterhouses, studying herd health, and various other issues that the USDA works on to improve the health and welfare of livestock and food animals. VMOs that usually have familiarity with horses are assigned to take the courses to work on the HPA portion of the USDA. Overall, I think it's better to have experienced vets inspecting my horses rather than a DQP who doesn't have much more experience than learning how to sore from his uncle.

But also, as this member pointed out, the VMO could have 30 years of experience inspecting horses and he'd still get flack from the industry if he turned a horse down. Let's face it: these are people who are criminals, and they will always claim they are innocent. It's the same in all levels of crime. They will blame everyone else for being caught, their abusive father, their drugged-out mother, whomever they can blame. But they fail to see that THEY are the person who actually committed the crime and therefore are responsible. And unfortunately, in the TWH industry, the penalties aren't stiff enough to discourage them from doing it again. Jimmy McConnell is a prime example. He's fresh off a two-week suspension in May 2011, and here he is, being allowed to show again. Is that fair to the horse who is being abused at his hands? Is it fair to other exhibitors who have not sored their horses and are trying to compete fair and square? Whether or not he's found guilty or innocent, the horse has still suffered, and that's what's most disturbing here.


Inspector is capable, USDA says

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Shelbyville Times-Gazette

The U.S. Department of Agriculture responded to the Times-Gazette's inquiry about the experience level of veterinarians inspecting horses during last Saturday evening's Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Industry leaders expressed their frustration with USDA inspectors after the agency turned down six horses before the aged stallion class.

"Our personnel have extensive experience in the care and handling of animals," said Andre Bell in an e-mail to the Times-Gazette. "The veterinary medical officer we believe you're inquiring about is an equine veterinarian and a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

"Along with all of our inspectors he went through an orientation when he joined the agency, also a weeklong training in March, and has inspected animals at a number of horse shows this season.

"USDA takes its work under the Horse Protection Act very seriously and we are confident in the training and requirements of the VMOs that we employ for the program."

The USDA's comments were not received in time for inclusion in a front page story Tuesday.

One inspector came under heavy criticism by trainers and officials for what they said was a lack of experience inspecting at horse shows.


its no secret. said...

These guys always act like horse soring is a unknown practice. Its done in most all padded horse training barns in KY and Tn. I would like to see any of these trainers who are complaining to open there barn doors at any time for inspectors to bring dogs in to sniff out there barns to see if there is any detection of these items. I gaurentee you none of them would. They act like USDA is so crazy for doing inspections.

its no secret. said...

These trainers should be so confident that if they are not guilty then they should have a open door policy at there barns at any time for USDA inspectors or FOSH to come and check them out. I promise you that not one of them would do it uninvited. They always act like people besides them are stupid about soring.

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