"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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

RESEARCH - Black Week Begins

Well, it's back to that time of year again, where the celebration of abused horses occurs here in America. I'm sure the USDA will be out in force, and let's hope they find hundreds of violations.

I decided to look up information on the judges for this year's Black Week. There a five judges for the Celebration. Four of them are HPA violators. From the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration new page on their website:

"The 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will feature 12 years of Celebration judging experience within the five members of the judging panel. Jennifer Bingham, Shelbyville, Tenn., Jamie Hankins, Paris, Ky., Ronnie Spears, Tullahoma, Tenn., Jamie Bradshaw, Union Grove, Ala., and Jeff Willis, Shelbyville, Tenn. will adjudicate the 73rd Annual Celebration."

Jamie Hankins - 3 violations: 7 months in 1990-1991, 2 weeks in 2002, and ticketed in 2010.

Ronnie Spears - 6 violations: 6 month suspension from USDA in 2001, 1 month in 2008, and fresh off a 6 month suspension that started and ended (quite conveniently) during the off season, from 10-2010 to 4-2011. He also received 3 tickets in 2010 in June, July and September, so that recent suspension could be for one of those tickets.

Jamie Bradshaw - 2 volations: 8 months suspension in 1998-1999 (again, during the off season) and 2 weeks in 2003

Jeff Willis - 3 violations: 9 months in 2002-2003 (also during the off season), 2 weeks in 2004 and 2 weeks in 2005.

Let's also remember that Hankins was the judge at the show last month where the bad image horse was not only allowed to show but he didn't even excuse the horse from the ring.

Note also that three of the four of the really long suspensions were during the off season of showing, and they were allowed to resume their duties right when show season was underway. This seems particularly suspicious to me.

It saddens me to know that these poor creatures will be judged by those who have committed a crimes against them in the past. I see it like having a burglar watch your house while you're out of town. I don't understand why, when the industry says they want to end soring, still hires those who are documented violators to be BOD members, officers, judges, DQPs, and the like. I believe this is a continued example of why soring will not be stopped within the industry and why we absolutely need to law to be upheld by the USDA.


Anonymous said...

Also very convenient is that Robert Nelms has a one-year suspension, that they are kindly waiting to start until after Celebration ends. However, he won't be able to show at next years Celebration. But that isn't the point.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Agreed, Anonymous. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the suspension start at the same time as when you get the ticket? Or at least within a week, so it can be "processed" I suppose.

its no secret. said...

Corporate sponsors of the Celebration should be held accountable for sponsoring such a event that has numberous cases of animal abuse. Pepsi and Ford should be called on the carpet for being part of a show that has such a bad enough.

For the Tennessee Walking Horse said...

Unfortunately, Anonymous, there is no time limit as to when the suspensions need to be held, which is why they're usually assigned to serve suspensions during the off season. The new mandated penalties structure would put a stop to that.

its no secret, you're right. It's a good idea to write to the sponsors of the Celebration and give them information about the continued abuse that's going on.

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