Industry Boards To Address Issues
Monday, November 21, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is a press release issued by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association.
Lewisburg, TN - Following a series of meetings held throughout the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, including at the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA), Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA), The Celebration and the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA), a decision was made that the boards of directors from the WHTA, WHOA, Celebration and the executive committee of TWHBEA will meet with the goal of appointing a smaller committee to study the issues surrounding, and make recommendations concerning, the welfare and future of the Tennessee Walking Horse in the show ring.
This decision came about in response to presentations made at each industry meeting by Dr. Chester Gipson, Deputy Administrator for Animal Care at the USDA. While the USDA will assist the committee appointed to study the issues and make recommendations, this will be a Tennessee Walking Horse industry endeavor. The meeting of the WHTA, WHOA, Celebration and TWHBEA boards, which will result in the appointment of the committee, is scheduled for November 30, 2011, at WHTA headquarters in
. Shelbyville, Tennessee
OH BOY! Yet ANOTHER committee to discuss keeping things as is! I certainly don't see any other HIOs being invited, and the HIOs that are included are those who have huge stakes in the stacked horse divisions. They are calling themselves the Walking Horse Association and have a website located here. Superhorse.org? Really? Geez. And some association--they certainly aren't including all of the stakeholders within the industry that will be affected by any changes. Plus, will this "association" really try to end soring? OF COURSE NOT! They're going to figure out how to keep things status quo. Seriously, USDA, you don't buy this crap, do you?
This website has a section where you can comment, and so far most of the comments are very negative. I actually am in agreement with a lot of them because truly, the association is only out to take care of themselves and their pocketbooks, not the industry. Feel free to make your own comments and let them know what you think at this page.
Of course, there are huge rumors going around and wild speculations along with personal interpretations of what all of this means. The most reassuring rumor I've heard--but note, it IS still a rumor--is that Gipson told the industry to take away the chains and make the pads smaller or they will do it themselves, and he's still threatening decertification. But I'll believe it when I see it.
In the meantime, I request that everyone get your fingers going for sending emails and phone calls to the USDA and get them to STOP DISCUSSING AND START DOING. I am going to work on asking for the presentation that Gipson made at the meetings, and your emails to them will also help. Don't be fooled by what the stakeholders are really doing here, folks--we need to see soring end and we need the USDA to step up and do their job!