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
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.