"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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NEWS - SHOW is Suing the USDA

But was there any real doubt?  Seriously?  I mean, this lawsuit has been in the making since the USDA started threatening to input the mandated penalties.  This little gem wasn't just drawn up overnight.

Click here for the pdf of the lawsuit.  It is 57 pages.  I haven't read it yet, but I have friends who have and I'll post what they said below.

Articles about it:

Timesfreepress.com: New rules prompt lawsuit from Tennessee walking horse inspection group

The Scoop Blog from Dallasnews.com: In Fort Worth federal court, Tennessee Walking Horse industry takes on USDA over proposed fines

From my friend...

"The summation of this lawsuit and THE agenda can be found in 116 'Issuance of preliminary injunction will not adversly affect the public interest because THE STATUS QUO IS MAINTAINED by operating under the current regulations.' If you read the entire lawsuit, they point out numerous times why the mandated penalties should be in place. One one hand they talk about the failure of the HIO system and THEY point out the conflicts of interest - yet - at the end, the HIO systems if fine as long as the STATUS QUO IS MAINTAINED."


I seriously want to scream.  I cannot believe these pompous fat cats have the gall to not only abuse the system and the horses BUT BASICALLY COME OUT AND ADMIT IT, only not in so many words.  As Keith Dane said in the above Dallas News article: “SHOW’s decision to file a lawsuit trying to block USDA’s efforts at reform says everything about whether this industry has the will or ability to clean up its act on its own.”

And this lawsuit was drawn up by one of their own who has a violation: Mike McGartland, Raymond, MS, Unilateral Sore 06/16/2008 - 07/15/2008, NHSC.  So good of SHOW to keep the violators in the know!

This lawsuit was filed in Texas because they believe with their particular court system they can win in this state.  What we need now is a federal injunction against the industry.  It's high time this blood sport is ended. May the judge for this case see the ludicrousness of it and dismiss it from the courts.


I've forgotten to post this before.  The Tennessean has gathered all of their articles and research information on soring at this link: SPECIAL REPORT: TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE INDUSTRY.  Check it out for some great information!

Monday, June 25, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - SHOW Condemns Cotten and Things Just Keep Piling Up...

I have more and more articles and "stuff" out there to keep the news alive...

First, SHOW reveals their true nature once again and condemns Joe Cotten for posting the photos on Facebook (click here for the first post about this).  From the Walking Horse Report...


Trainer Joe Cotten has been suspended for 7 ½ years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO), subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee. The suspension is effective immediately, will last until December 21, 2019 and was announced by SHOW President Dr. Stephen L. Mullins.

“This is one of the longest suspension ever issued to a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, even longer than what is required by the federal government,” said Mullins. “We take these violations seriously, and we are relieved to put this very troubling incident behind us.”

The penalty stems from Cotten’s action at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. on June 15. Cotten is charged with violating Section VI B 3 (a) (b) (c) (k) of the SHOW rulebook. Cotten knowingly filed false entry information while on suspension from one HIO and on probation with another.

In 2010, Cotten was issued a 6 month suspension, 2 year probation and a $2,500 fine for threatening a judge. The probation was from July 26, 2010 until July 26, 2012, and thus the incident at the Liberty Lions Club Show was a violation of that probation. At the request of his doctor, SHOW waived a portion of the 2010 penalty contingent upon Cotten attending anger management classes and seeking medical help.

Cotten also violated a suspension from the PRIDE HIO for a post-show scar rule violation. His PRIDE suspension ran June 11 through June 24.

At this year’s Liberty Lions Club Show, Cotten hired Marvin North, a full time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take his horses through inspection and put them in the ring. Cotten used North’s trainer’s license number and told North that he would pay any fines the horses received. This is the same violation which caused the indictment of Jackie McConnell and three of his employees.

Cotten entered five horses and falsified all of the entries, which is a violation of the Horse Protection Act. In addition, he was verbally abusive to SHOW officials and sent a vulgar text message to Dr. Mullins later in the show.

Days later, Cotten posted on Facebook graphic pictures of Jose’s Wine and Roses, a horse under his care, in which the horse’s front feet were badly injured. The Facebook posting has drawn widespread attention on the Internet and unfortunately casts a bad light on the walking horse industry.

The owner, Deborah Murphy, has corresponded with Dr. Mullins and denies that the horse was in the condition displayed on Cotten’s Face Book page when her husband picked the mare up from Landrum Stables and arrived at Cotten’s establishment. It appears that horse may actually have been shaved or clipped. Mr. Murphy picked up the horse immediately and took her to Dr. Brian Wright for treatment. Jose’s Wine and Roses has not been shown in 2012 and was shown only once at the 2011 National Futurity.

SHOW also suspended Marvin North for one year, fined him $1,000 and placed him on 4 year probation subject to upward adjustment depending on the outcome of the Hearing Committee.


SHAVED OR CLIPPED????  THAT'S your excuse?  Maybe shaved and clipped to show off the scarring! Even a person not involved in horses can see that those scars were not made in the past two weeks!

And I see how they pointed out that Cotten's violation is the same as McConnell's, but they certainly haven't suspended McConnell yet!  Do you realize how stupid you look, SHOW?  How clear it is that you want to keep protecting the GOBs and punish anyone who points out the problems?  I see you haven't addressed the fact that the Murphy's had the horse at Landrum's place...  Good Lord, these people are something else.

I'm glad this crap is going public, though.  It continues to point out how this industry is clearly NOT for the horse and wants to protect certain people.

I ran across this cartoon online...I think it sums up the TWH industry perfectly, especially SHOW.

When it comes to good news, the complaint against Keith Dane has been dropped and the hearing with TWHBEA won't be occurring after all.  Roy Exum tells us more...Click here for the article.


For weeks an eagerly-awaited showdown has loomed in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry after a lifetime member of the group’s Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association issued a challenge to fellow board member Keith Dane, who also heads the equine protection division for the Humane Society of the United States.

But, with little if any warning, a closed hearing to oust Dane from the group, which was scheduled for Friday in Lewisburg, was abruptly cancelled and a letter allegedly written by Kathy Zeis – who was identified as the person who lodged the formal complaint, leaves little doubt the longtime Walking Horse advocate was “thrown under the bus” by the SHOW group’s executive committee.

Dane, of course, fell under heavy scrutiny in May when he released an undercover video obtained by the Humane Society to the ABC news show, “Nightline.” The shocking video shows graphic footage of Collierville trainer Jackie McConnell beating a horse with an electric cattle prod and showed another horse “crying like a baby” due to the pain that was inflicted on other animals in McConnell’s barns.

But Zeis alleges her complaint against Dane was filed before the video ever appeared. “I lodged a complaint against Keith Dane on March 12, 2012. That complaint was returned to me and a protocol was sent to me to follow in order to file a complaint. As I understand several other people also filed a complaint but did not follow up with the complex protocol.

“My complaint was resubmitted and received by TWHBEA mid-April. The substance of my complaint was that in his public comments (Dane) has said as a representative of HSUS that all walking horses entering the ring are sored and doing an unnatural gait. He has also said that performance horses in particular are doing an unnatural gait that is achieved by soring. He believes that the USDA isn’t doing their job in keeping such horses out of the show ring.”

Obviously this isn’t the truth because many show animals are “clean” – as Dane has told news reporters numerous times – and he and Zeis share the belief that sound horses are still magnificent competitors. “If he had continued to advocate and work for sound horses I would have had absolutely no problem,” she wrote in her widely distributed letter.“

But (Dane) has come out as a director of TWHBEA and an officiate of HSUS,” Zeis wrote, “to say that all horses that enter the show ring are exhibiting an unnatural gait produced by soring and, with all the other opinions that he has put out, in my opinion he has done incalculable harm to the Tennessee Walking Show Horse and to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association.”

After Zeis’ complaint, things soon began to get muddy. With the McConnell tape going viral and thousands of violations of the federal Horse Protection Act quickly coming to light, Zeis wrote, “I am saddened that the TWHBEA Executive Committee doesn’t have the same devotion to the breed that many of its owners do and promote and defend all disciplines of the breed that are trained soundly regardless of the division or discipline. Just as I have defended the pleasure horse when that wasn’t popular at TWHBEA I now defend the performance horse when he is trained correctly.”

Three veterinarians’ group have harpooned the walking horse industry this week, Jackie McConell is getting ready for state charges and federal actions will begin next month in Tennessee. Public perception is at an all-time low and veteran trainers are rightfully worried that signs of violations and abuse still persist.

So why did she withdraw her complaint just two weeks ago? She felt betrayed. “I am withdrawing my complaint due to the fact that even though all the protocols in the past have deemed that a complaint be kept confidential, this one was put out to the national press and public by TWHBEA’s President Marty Irby.”

Zeis said that since she was bound on confidentiality, “I have received threatening and abusive e-mails from the public without any knowledge of what my complaint was about or what I was trying to accomplish.”

There is some belief Zeis was being used as a pawn – since public sentiment was solidly behind Dane and an ever-growing disdain for abusing Walking Horses has reached both the state and federal governments, so Zeis did what any of us would have done – dropped the complaint squarely on the toes of Marty Irby and his now beleaguered Executive Committee.

“I believe in this breed. I believe in the owners. I believe in the trainers who want to use correct training methods,” she wrote. “I believe that there needs to be an objective qualitative way to judge that a horse has been abused - not a subjective test that can cause a person who is not guilty to be punished because his horse is acting like a horse. I also believe in timely intervention when abuse is detected."


Zeis' entire letter has been released online--unfortunately I can't find the link to it right now.

Quite frankly, her whining is ridiculous.  She is a violator herself and helped start up FAST, the group that currently provides funds to keep the sore horse in the ring and blatantly is against the USDA mandated penalties.  When she was on the board with WHOA and WHOA decided to agree to the mandated penalties (but have since withdrawn that agreement), she jumped ship, stating she "disagreed" with their decision.  She has a lot of lip service here, but actions speak louder than words.

Next, Roy Exum continues to delight the sound horse community by keeping up on the sore horse goings on.  I also realized I thought I had posted all of his pieces, but I hadn't, so some of these are from early June and May since I didn't realize I hadn't posted them.  Articles are in reverse chronological order.

Cruelty on Facebook - June 25, 2012

A Walking Horse "No Show" - June 23, 2012

Horse Trainers Now Galloping - June 22, 2012

Veterinarians Decry Horse Abuse - June 15, 2012

The USDA is Trying At Least - June 8, 2012

I'm No Courageous Hero - June 2, 2012

Tennessee's New "Horse" Bill - May 30, 2012

And click here for where I've posted other pieces by Roy.  Plus I have some of his pieces scattered throughout the blog--do a search in the box in the upper right corner of this blog for "Roy Exum" to find them.

There is more good news as well: Monty Roberts has dropped out of the Tennessee Walking Horses of Today Equine Conference (TTEC) this coming weekend, the TWH horse conference put on by FAST.  Here's their revised schedule.  Some crazy yahoo named Tim Scarberry is taking his place who thinks training means riding your horse up to the top of a trailer and standing on his back while cracking a bullwhip and running a chainsaw.  You can read about his quality *snicker* training here.  Whatever.  Sam Powell will also be speaking, and holding a clinic.  Yeah, I said the same thing: Who?  So head on over and pay your $150 to continue to keep the sore horse in the ring!

I'm glad that Monty has dropped out.  I'm proud of all of you who wrote to him and expressed your desire for him to not support this industry.  I have a lot more respect for him now.  He did say on his FB page that maybe we're right: maybe he shouldn't go where he's needed, maybe he shouldn't go to women's crisis centers and prisons to help rehab people.  But I pointed out that these are not people who want to be rehabbed.  Those places you go to are designed to help the people who are there and rehab them.  The BL industry is designed to KEEP the sore horse in the ring, and they only want Monty there to make it look like he endorses what they're doing.  In fact, he stated on his FB page that when he was at Waterfall Farms in 2006, they brought in JFK on stacks for a round pen session without him knowing they were going to do it.  He said he told the owner later that he didn't agree with the stacks and knows they're harmful.  But why didn't he say that in front of the crowd and expressed his opinion in the open?  Poor JFK couldn't even perform join up, and it was clear from the video online that he was having a hard time.  I hope that Monty has taken to heart the true reason the TWH industry wants him there and will consider checking out FOSH, NWHA, or one of the sound TWH groups and giving his help where it's actually needed.

And finally, just to compare...

USDA showed up at two shows this past week: the NWHA Ohio Classic in Wilmington, OH and the SHOW 1st Annual Col. Sam Gibbons Memorial Walking Horse Show in Athens, AL.

The NWHA show was June 22 and 23 with 104 classes.  I don't know if any classes were canceled.  They had about 100 horses with over 400 entries--NO VIOLATIONS. I was told by a lady who was there who volunteered that one of the VMOs came up to her and told her how wonderful NWHA is and how easy they are to work with.

The SHOW show was June 22 with 33 classes.  They had 12 horses with 12 entries over 7 classes. SHOW is blaming the VMO being at their show for the lack of entries.

Hmmm...does anyone see a pattern here?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

RESEARCH - How GC/MS Technology Works

So I constantly hear all the crap the sore horse industry is spewing about how all those chemicals found on those horses was just fly spray and shampoo.  Then things get even STUPIDER on the chats...people are saying that maybe their hand lotion might get on the horse's pastern, or they might be walking past someone filling up their lawn mower with gas and the particles in the air will get on the horse's pasterns and that will show up.


Obviously, there is an extreme misconception about how GC/MS technology works.  And of course, no one wants to research it because they don't want concrete confirmation that yes, soring is still going on.  So I'm going to talk about it here.  And here's the thing, folks: I used to work for environmental consulting and construction.  I used to have to write reports that included GC/MS results and explanations of how the samples are taken and how the testing is done in the lab.  This is not new technology--it's been around for a LONG time, and the government and the private sector use it in lots of areas.  In environmental consulting and construction, it's used to test soil, air, water, or other material for asbestos, lead, mercury, TCE, PCE, and all kinds of nasty chemicals that are harmful to humans. A solid sample is taken differently than an air sample, and a liquid/water sample is taken differently than both of those.  Now you can read about it on places like this website, but here I'm going to talk about it in plain terms so everyone can understand.

First, to point out, the USDA spent a few years establishing a baseline first.  They went to FOSH and NWHA shows, asked the exhibitors to prepare their horses as usual (with fly spray and shampoo and the like).  Apparently they also went to non-gaited breed shows as well, but I'm not sure on that.  These wee regular shows, just like anywhere else.  Pesticides were used on the grasses, lawns were mowed, water trucks were used in the arena, all the usual stuff was there that you'll find at any horse show.  But most important is this:


So where does that leave the fly spray and shampoo issue?

Well, this is how the GC/MS works.

When a swab is taken, it must be taken with a specific procedure.  You must be trained in how to handle the swabbing kit.  It can be done in the open air because it is ONLY TESTING FOR SOLIDS.  Therefore, it is NOT going to pick up on fuel particles in the air if someone walks their horse by a can of fuel.  Unless they are literally standing and holding the swab over the can as the liquid is being poured into gas mower, then there is no way the swab can be contaminated by air or liquid particles.  Now of course, if someone drops their swab on the ground, they can't just pick it up and reuse it--they have to use a new one.  Which of course, we want.  I certainly wouldn't want a surgeon to drop his needle while he's stitching me up and then reuse it, for the same reason: contamination.

Then the swabs are correctly packaged to prevent contamination and included with their chain of custody forms (which includes the date, time, location, weather condition, person who performed the swab, and other pertinent info) and sent to the lab.  Any package received by the lab that has been broken or tampered with is rejected.

Next, samples are taken from the swabs and are put in the GC/MS machine.  This is done in a clean lab in a controlled environment.  I won't go into how the machine does everything here because it's kinda complicated, but it involves heating the samples to break up the solid particles.  Then a printout is made of all the substances found in the sample.  These substances are literally broken down to the tiniest, minute microbe.  We know what chemicals are found in shampoo and fly spray, so the person who is trained to read the printout can eliminate substances found in shampoo and fly spray.  Then the substances left behind are checked to see if they are caustic.

Now there are levels of toxicity of substances.  Some are toxic when even a little bit is put on, some take quite a lot to become caustic.  So the level of toxicity can also be confirmed by the amount of micrograms that come back from the test.  So anything that shows up under that substance's level of toxicity can be ruled out.

Now, of all the swab test results that came out, especially the 52 out of 52 horses at the Celebration last year, ALL of those chemicals are considered caustic and not safe for use on skin.  They were also at levels that are unsafe to use.

Now, there are chemicals in some fly sprays and cleaners that are also considered caustic.  For example, a complaint was made by someone that they got a ticket for having the chemical piperonyl butoide on their horse.  So, here's the National Pesticide Information Center fact sheet about it.  Note that in the table Toxicity Category, when used on the skin it is corrosive.  Obviously on this particular horse, piperonyl butoide was found at toxic levels.  So my question is this: what in the world are you doing having high levels of this chemical on your horse's pasterns?  Most people don't stand there and coat their horse in fly spray on their pasterns.  In fact, most people I see just mist the fly spray over the horse's legs.  It seems that this horse had high levels for other reasons.

Let's not forget that the industry uses household chemicals to sore their horses, such as Gojo, Kopertox, Kwik Cleen, and various other products that are not to be used for purposes other than what is printed on the labels.  That's also what the GC/MS is picking up on.  Now the machine isn't smart enough to say hey, that guy's using Gojo!  But the person reading it can certainly see the elements of diesel fuel, which is used in Gojo--that's how it cleans the grease and gunk off your hands, combined with pumice.

So basically, it comes down to this: the GC/MS will give a printout of all the substances it will find, safe or not.  Then, the person reading the printout will determine what substances are considered toxic and what levels the substances are showing up at to find out if a toxic amount is being used.  The machine does not lie, and it's very difficult to mess up taking the swabs and understanding the results.

So, after all of that, if you're still worried about having fly spray or shampoo on your horses' legs, then worry not: buy organic fly spray and shampoo, and only use those shampoos on show days.  Natural-based color enhancing shampoos are also safe.  And as far as I know, flies don't congregate around horses' pasterns, so if you are STILL worried, don't put fly spray on his pasterns--just wipe fly spray on his legs and knees with a cloth. Viola!  Problem solved!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NEWS - New Sored Horse Photos Pop Up Online - WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES

I apologize in advance for these photos.  They are graphic and look like they should belong on a horse from the 80s or 90s.  But in reality, these photos were taken just yesterday, as far as I understand.

Front right foot
Front left foot

These are soring scars, folks.  This is from a long time of chemicals being applied and then chains banging on the pasterns.  Also note the hair loss on the cornet band of the horse's right foot in the front left foot photo.

Here's what I've learned as far as the facts.  Some of it might not be accurate, and quite frankly, we might never know exactly what the issue is.  I'll talk more about that below.

These are photos of a mare named Jose Wine and Roses.  She is a three year old filly, registration number 20900481.  Her owner as listed on iPEDs is Deborah Murphy of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.  In case you don't know, iPEDS is an online pedigree available through TWHBEA for a fee (of course).  Any horse's history can be looked up on iPEDS to find out the name, owner, and show information.

This mare was allowed through inspection at the 2011 TWHBEA National Futurity on 8/25.  She won fourth place of 10 (or more) horses in class number 5, Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings.  This was a stacked class.  At that time, she was on stacks and she was in training with David Landrum.  SHOW was the HIO for this show.  Click here for the show results.

Landrum has four violations listed, the latest one being from 2010 for a violation of SHOW rules.  There is no suspension end date listed--the current end date is 1/1/2099, which is usually the filler date used when a ruling hasn't been made.

From what my sources say, Murphy moved the mare from Landrum's training barn to Joe Cotten's training barn two to two and a half weeks ago.  So as far as I can find, the mare had been with Landrum up until two weeks or so ago.  These pictures were taken yesterday, from what my sources say, and Joe Cotten posted them on his Facebook page today.  He also posted this quote:

Joe Cotten
19 hours ago via mobile 
got this horse in the otherday asked the grand pupa mullins how this horse ever showed get a call today from a board member said they are gonna drop the hammer on me?who is giving out that 10k?

"Grand pupa mullins" means Dr. Mullins, our friendly neighborhood liar when it comes to pretending that soring isn't going on and Jackie the Jerk was just one bad apple.

As far as I understand, Murphy had no idea this was going on.  She did come ride the horse from time to time while she was at the training stables of Landrum, but she just rode her and that was all.

Murphy was told that this horse can no longer be shown because of the condition of her pasterns.  Murphy went and picked up the horse from Cotten's place today.  Not sure what's happened to her since then.

Now you might be saying well this could be any horse, these photos could be from X years ago.  But we have confirmation from Bob Medina, a representative of the TWH industry, that this horse has not been shown since the 2011 Futurity.  Direct quote from the Walking Horse Report:

My thoughts are this:

1.  As far as I understand, Murphy said she didn't know this was going on.  But you know, with all the stuff in the medial and online about soring, I know if I were an owner, I'd be checking my horses feet every time I came to that barn.  I'd be educating myself on what soring scars look like, and if I had found this, you bet your a$$ the trainer would be reported to the USDA and he/she would have a lawsuit on his/her hands.  It just seems only logical to try to protect your horse when it's in training.  Especially with as much these people say they "love" their horses.

2.  With the third point that Medina made, the problem is that these scars are not something that happens overnight or within a two week period.  This is from a long time of soring and then trying to burn off scars.  We know she was stacked as a two-year old, we know she was with Landrum when she was trained and shown, and we know that she not only showed but also placed in a show that was only 10 months ago, and therefore passed inspection by SHOW.  Something smells extremely fishy to me.

3.  People are both praising and bashing Cotten for posting these pictures.  And it seems that Cotten might just end up being "punished" by SHOW.  I did also find out that he used to work for Landrum's stables, as listed here.  What's clear to me though is that some people truly want soring to end, and some don't.  It seems that those who don't are the ones calling the shots.

Most likely parts of what I've posted here aren't correct.  I have screen captures of a lot of information, but rumors fly.  These were the best facts I could find.  I eliminated all I knew that couldn't be backed up.  Either way, this is a crystal clear indication with evidence that soring is still rampant, and that SHOW is letting sore horses through on a regular basis.

Friday, June 15, 2012

NEWS - Industry to Do Their Own Sniffer Tests

So after the incredibly good news from yesterday, we get this crap.  And I'm going to rant about this one, folks, because of the sheer absurdity of it.


The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association’s Enforcement Initiative will begin with its swabbing protocol at participating horse shows on June 15, 2012. The new initiative will test for caustic agents and masking agents through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) technology.

Any entry testing positive for a foreign substance violation through the enforcement initiative will result in the trainer receiving a two-week suspension of their trainers’ license and all violations will be made public on the WHTA web site. In addition, all violations will be made public to industry HIOs accepting the protocol.

The new enforcement initiative of the WHTA will be administered by independent veterinarians and/or veterinarian technicians. The results will be sent to the independent lab identified by the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO), who has helped administer and fund the initiative. Those results will be reviewed by an Independent Commissioner outside of the Horse Industry for imposition of the appropriate penalty in conjunction with the TWSHO and WHTA representatives. Testing and results will take 7-10 days to receive.

“Our board and our membership understand the importance of this initiative as we continue to place importance on the welfare of our horse. We have a great horse capable of great things and this initiative will prove the natural ability of the Tennessee Walking Horse. We urge all horse shows that allow Tennessee Walking Horses to embrace and implement this testing,” said President Jamie Hankins.

“Although we are extremely disappointed in the recent joint statement of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Veterinary Medical Association, we are encouraged that it clearly and correctly pointed out that our action device and package cause no harm to our horse,” concluded Hankins.

Any trainer or entry that refuses to submit to the testing prior to showing will not be allowed to enter the class and will receive a suspension of their license for two weeks.


And this was posted by Bob Medina on the WHC:

"I think the swabbing initative purpose is not to catch people, although that may well be a result. Its main purpose is to counter that claims of HSUS et al. Presently, we have no way to prove that the USDA's results are askewed. If the results show that 98% of the horses have no soring agents, it givea creditablity to the inspection numbers of 98% compliant. Obviously, an undertaking like this requires funds. I hope many will take the opportunity to send checks to FAST earmarked for this. After all, no data, no defense. Bob Medina."

WELL THEN, there you have it. They don't want to actually get REAL data, they just want to counter the HSUS. Who didn't even do the sniffer tests in the first place and were never involved in it.

This is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. Participating shows = don't bring your sore horses to this show so we have clean swabs.  Now, I ask: who are the participating vets and vet techs?  What's your baseline?  It took 4 years for the USDA to develop a baseline at FOSH and NWHA shows, and even other breed shows that aren't even TWH related.  I can clearly see you're not doing nor have you done that.

So we all know what the results will be, right?  98% were found having no chemicals!  GEE!  IMAGINE THAT!  I cannot believe this industry can be SO STUPID to pull this kind of crap.  It jsut amazes me that they see someone do X and they don't like the results, so they go oh yeah?  Well we'll just do our own tests then!  Yeah, that's it!  Nyah nyah nyah!  Big babies.

Oh, and my favorite part: "we are encouraged that it clearly and correctly pointed out that our action device and package cause no harm to our horse."  WHERE, in ANY of the AVMA/AAEP release does it say that pads and action devices DON'T cause harm?  Isn't the whole point of the release that they are used to specifically cause pain?  Good God, at this point I'm just laughing at the gall of these animal abusers to continue to pull this crap!  WE ALL KNOW YOUR HORSES ARE SORED, YOU MORONS!  Stop trying to pretend they're not!  I just find it incredibly funny that they STILL think they can convince the world that what they do to these horses is a-okay.

I hope the USDA bombards them with demands of chains of custody and names of lab and lab techs who studied the results they way the industry did to the USDA...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - Major Veterinary Groups Call for a Ban on Pads and Action Devices

Today, The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) announced they are going to work towards a ban of pads and chains on TWHs.  Click here for the article, below I've copied and pasted the text.

Following my comments, I've posted the statement from the AVMA and AAEP, garnered from this article.


Two leading veterinary groups called today for a ban on the use of devices and training methods that intentionally inflict pain on Tennessee Walking Horses to accentuate the horses’ high steps.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) targeted “action devices,” including chains, collars, bracelets and caustic chemicals that can be used to irritate a horse’s foot to create pain and the exaggerated “big lick” step to win show competitions — a practice known as soring.

In a joint news release, the groups decried the use of “performance packages,” also known as stacks or pads, that are attached to a horse’s hoof to add weight and to increase the amount of force caused by each step, and which can mask hidden items that cause pain to hooves.

In written statements, presidents of the groups called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects horses at shows, to prohibit action devices in show rings.

“Soring has been an illegal act for more than 40 years. Nevertheless, increasingly shrewd and more difficult to detect — yet equally painful — methods of soring continue to plague the Walking Horse Industry,” said RenĂ© A. Carlson, president of the AVMA.

David Sacks, USDA spokesman, said the department is looking into the suggested changes.

“Right now, pads and action devices are legal, but we are looking at proposing changes in the near future,” he said. “But that would, of course, require a full regulatory procedure, so it’s not going to be an overnight process and we’ve not yet determined all the specifics involved.”

Sacks said specifics would need to be examined, such as whether pads would be regulated by size or banned outright, and whether they would be permissible in training but not in the show ring.

“We will continue to do all we can … to get closer to our ultimate goal, which is to completely eliminate the inhumane practice of soring horses,” Sacks said.

Soring by horse trainers has garnered national attention since the May release of an undercover video captured by the Humane Society of the United States, which showed Collierville trainer Jackie McConnell soring and abusing horses in his barn. He has since pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act.

That act, passed 40 years ago, has not stopped abuse, the veterinarian associations said today. In the time since passage, ongoing soring has been the subject of periodic investigations by The Tennessean and others.

Earlier this month, the USDA imposed stiffer minimum penalties for all violations of the federal Horse Protection Act.

“Because the industry has been unable to make substantial progress in eliminating this abusive practice, the AVMA and the AAEP believe a ban on action devices and performance packages is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the horse,” the groups wrote in a statement.

“We urge a modification to the Horse Protection Act so that all action devices and performance packages are banned,” said AAEP President John Mitchell.

The practitioners association previously suggested changes to the industry in a 2008 white paper.

A representative of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association said a response to the veterinarians would be provided today.

A recent analysis by The Tennessean found that from from 2008 to 2011, horse industry organizations (HIOs) found seven times as many violations of the Horse Protection Act when USDA officials were on the scene.

Funding limits keep the USDA from attending all horse shows. A bill before Congress would raise funding from $696,000 to $5 million for the program.


Aww, TWHBEA's going to respond!  How sweet!  I think we all know what their cheese ball response is going to be, so they really don't need to bother.

But seriously folks, this is HUGE.  I absolutely agree with this:

Because the industry has been unable to make substantial progress in eliminating this abusive practice, the AVMA and the AAEP believe a ban on action devices and performance packages is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the horse.

This industry does not care to make changes--they WANT their sore horses in the ring.  Now this doesn't mean it would completely eliminate soring.  Remember, Barney Davis was soring flat shod horses using bolts and various other horrible devices.  But what the USDA can do is require hoof testers to be used to detect sore feet.  Of course, DQPs let sore horses through into the ring every single day, but think about it this way: the USDA would be at the major shows, which is where the big money and prestige is.  This means that bringing a horse that's sore to the show, even if he was sored a few days before but not the night before, would actually be counterproductive.  If they're soring their horses all along but then suddenly have to stop, then their horse isn't going to move the way they want it to and then they won't win the ribbons.  It is certainly a system that would work.

I hope the AVMA and the AAEP are going to seriously pursue this.  It would make a huge difference in the welfare of the horse and send a clear message to the industry that their reign WILL end.


– Begin Statement –
AVMA and AAEP Position on the Use of Action Devices and Performance Packages for Tennessee Walking Horses

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners support a ban on the use of action devices and performance packages in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses.

Action devices used in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses include chains, ankle rings, collars, rollers, and bracelets of wood or aluminum beads. When used in conjunction with chemical irritants on the pastern of the horse’s foot, the motion of the action device creates a painful response, resulting in a more exaggerated gait. Foreign substances are being detected on the pastern area during pre-show inspections at an alarmingly high rate, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. While there is little scientific evidence to indicate that the use of action devices below a certain weight are detrimental to the health and welfare of the horse, banning action devices from use in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses reduces the motivation to apply a chemical irritant to the pastern.

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the national governing body for equestrian sport in the United States, disallows action devices in the show ring for all recognized national breed affiliates. The AVMA and the AAEP commend the USEF for this rule and urge the USDA-APHIS to adopt similar restrictions for Tennessee Walking Horses.

Performance packages (also called stacks or pads), made of plastic, leather, wood, rubber and combinations of these materials, are attached below the sole of the horse’s natural hoof and have a metal band that runs around the hoof wall to maintain them in place. Performance packages add weight to the horse’s foot, causing it to strike with more force and at an abnormal angle to the ground. They also facilitate the concealment of items that apply pressure to the sole of the horse’s hoof. Pressure from these hidden items produces pain in the hoof so that the horse lifts its feet faster and higher in an exaggerated gait.

Because the inhumane practice of soring Tennessee Walking Horses has continued 40 years after passage of the Horse Protection Act, and because the industry has been unable to make substantial progress in eliminating this abusive practice, the AVMA and the AAEP believe a ban on action devices and performance packages is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the horse.
– End Statement —

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - USDA Conference Call To Require Mandated Penalties by July 9

***UPDATED 6/6/2012 to include link to mandated penalties.

***UPDATED 6/5/2012 to add the mandated penalties.

The USDA held a conference call today and also announced online that they are now requiring all HIOs to adopt the mandatory penalties.  They will do so by July 9.  This is now going to be an amendment within the HPA that must be followed.

*** UPDATED Click here for the mandatory penalties.

Here are the new mandated penalties.  Note that these are IN ADDITION to the current HPA regulations.


1. The authority citation for 9 CFR part 11 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1823–1825 and 1828; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.7.
§ 11.7 [Amended]

2. In § 11.7, paragraph (g), the first sentence is amended by removing the word ‘‘section’’ the second time it
appears and adding the word ‘‘part’’ in its place.

3. In § 11.21, the section heading and paragraph (d) are revised to read as follows:

§ 11.21 Inspection procedures for designated qualified persons (DQPs).

* * * * *
(d) The HIO that licensed the DQP shall assess and enforce penalties for violations in accordance with § 11.25 and shall report all violations in accordance with § 11.20(b)(4).

4. A new § 11.25 is added to read as follows:

§ 11.25 Minimum penalties to be assessed and enforced by HIOs that license DQPs.

(a) Rulebook. Each HIO that licenses DQPs in accordance with § 11.7 must include in its rulebook, and enforce, penalties for the violations listed in this section that equal or exceed the penalties listed in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Suspensions.
(1) For the violations listed in paragraph (c) of this section that require a suspension, individuals including, but not limited to, the owner, manager, trainer, rider, custodian, or seller, as applicable, who are responsible for showing the horse, exhibiting the horse, entering or allowing the entry of the horse in a show or exhibition, selling the horse, auctioning the horse, or offering the horse for sale or auction must be suspended.

(2) If a horse is found to be bilaterally sore or unilaterally sore as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, in violation of the scar rule in § 11.3, or in violation of the prohibition against the use of foreign substances in § 11.2(c), the transporter of the horse may also be suspended if the transporter had reason to believe that the horse was to be shown, exhibited, entered for those purposes, sold, auctioned, or offered for sale.

(3) A person who is suspended must not be permitted to show or exhibit any horse or judge or manage any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction for the duration of the suspension.

(4) Any person with multiple suspensions must serve them consecutively, not concurrently.

(c) Minimum penalties—
(1) Bilateral sore. A horse is found to be sore in both its forelimbs or hindlimbs. The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.
First offense: Suspension for 1 year. Second offense: Suspension for 2 years. Third offense and any subsequent offenses: Suspension for 4 years.

(2) Unilateral sore. A horse is found to be sore in one of its forelimbs or hindlimbs. The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.
First offense: Suspension for 60 days. Second offense: Suspension for 120 days. Third offense and any subsequent offenses: Suspension for 1 year.

(3) Scar rule violation. A horse is found to be in violation of the scar rule in § 11.3. The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.
First offense: Suspension for 2 weeks. Second offense: Suspension for 60 days. Third offense and any subsequent offenses: Suspension for 1 year.

(4) Foreign substance violations. Violations of the prohibition against the use of foreign substances in § 11.2(c).
(i) Before or during the show, exhibition, sale, or auction. The horse must be dismissed from the remainder
of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.
(ii) After the show, exhibition, sale, or auction. Suspension for 2 weeks (14 days). The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show,exhibition, sale, or auction.

(5) Equipment violation. Violations of the equipment-related prohibitions in § 11.2(b)(1) through (b)(10) and (b)(12) through (b)(17).
(i) Before or during the show, exhibition, sale, or auction. The horse must be dismissed from the remainder
of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.
(ii) After the show, exhibition, sale, or auction. Suspension for 2 weeks (14 days). The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.

(6) Shoeing violation. Violation of the shoeing-related prohibitions in § 11.2(b)(18). The horse must be
dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.

(7) Heel-toe ratio. Violation of the heel-toe ratio requirement in § 11.2(b)(11). The horse must be dismissed from the remainder of the horse show, exhibition, sale, or auction.

(8) Unruly or fractious horse. A horse that cannot be inspected in accordance with § 11.21. The horse must be dismissed from the individual class for which it was to be inspected.

(9) Suspension violation. A violation of any suspension penalty previously issued. Suspension for an additional 6 months (180 days) for each occurrence.

(d) Appeals. The HIO must provide a process in its rulebook for alleged violators to appeal penalties. The
process must be approved by the Department. For all appeals, the appeal must be granted and the case heard and decided by the HIO or the violator must begin serving the penalty within 60 days of the date of the violation. The HIO must submit to the Department all decisions on penalty appeals within 30 days of the completion of the appeal.

(e) Departmental prosecution. The Department retains the authority to initiate enforcement proceedings with respect to any violation of the Act, including violations for which penalties are assessed in accordance with this section, and to impose the penalties authorized by the Act if the Department determines that such actions are necessary to fulfill the purpose of the Act and this part. In addition, the Department reserves the right to inform the Attorney General of any violation of the Act or of this part, including violations for which penalties are assessed in accordance with this section.

6/5/2012 - USDA APHIS Newsroom Announcement  (copied and pasted below)

6/5/2012 - USDA moves toward mandatory penalties for horse soring

***ADDED  6/5/2012 - Stronger Federal Rule Announced to Impose Penalties against Horse Soring

Well, this is a good and a bad thing, really.  First, it's good because it means a level amount of penalties across the board.  Abusers can no longer switch HIOs to find which has the least damaging penalties for the types of soring they do.  It also means that the owners will now be responsible for their horses as well, per this text from the APHIS Newsroom:

This final rule requires that suspensions for violating the HPA be issued to any individuals who are responsible for: showing a sore horse; exhibiting a sore horse; entering or allowing the entry of that horse in a show or exhibition; selling, auctioning or offering the horse for sale or auction; shipping, moving, delivering or receiving a sore horse with reason to believe that such horse was to be shown, exhibited, sold, auctioned or offered for sale. This includes the manager, trainer, rider, custodian, seller or owner of the horse, as applicable.

I wish that the industry claims that the mandatory penalties will decimate the industry are true.  But the problem is they'll find ways around it.  They'll give out tickets that are less damaging than what is truly going on, like a 1-foot sore instead of a 2-foot sore.  Plus we all know tickets aren't written like they should be when USDA officials aren't around anyway.

I did a sort of "play-by-play" and typed as I was listening on the Q&A portion of the call on our Facebook page.  Here's what I typed.  I was doing it fast, so I apologize for the misspellings.  Jane H. on our page also jumped in with a few facts, so I included her posts as well.


Question: Can we expect the USDA to assist WHOA and TWHBEA are having extreme difficulty in something. No Gipson can't help because he doesn't know what can be done.

Pam Stone from Chattanooga Times -What prompted this change now? Hallie Zimmer refers her to press line.

Sorry about the first post, folks--I couldn't understand what the woman asked.

Stakeholder asks question what prompted this change now. Gipson said we were directed by OIG to make changes in 2010. This has taken time to work through the system.

Tracy Letterman from HSUS. Thank you in issuing this rule and is a much needed step in strenthening enforcment.

Robert calling about rule itself nothing has been said in today's phone call about what the ruling is will there be a follow up in the same Q&A format once it's published. Gipson we will be more than willing to accommodate that if needed. It's hard for us to give question for you because nothing said in here was in the press release I would like an opportunity to discuss that at that time.

Going over minimum penalties because this guy asked them to. Good idea to do that.

The penalties are good--they are strict. Horses will have to be dismissed for the rest of the show sale or auction if found in violation of any of the issues.

They have changes to the appeals as well--more strict on it too.

Hallie said you can contact their office if you have any further questions concerning the penalities.

Jerry Harris since the palpation is so subjective what are you going to do to take the subjectiveness away from it talking about some HIO DQPs checked a horse and it moved Gipson what consititutes the penality is if the horse is found sore concerning the HPA just b/c the horse moves does not mean anything to cause the VMO to ticket the horse eyewitness basically doesnt count no change in the inspection process now.

Jerry Harris the foreign substance HSUS keeps bringing up 52 horses tested positive wants to know how may of those were reliable can they be used in court? Gipson test is very reliable. Was any of them used in court? We have not at this time shared completed any of them due process. None of htem has ever be used to proscecute anybody? We're begining the process now to investigate those cases now.

Will y'all be doing the test swabs in the future to confirm accuracy? Our protocol in assuring what we're geting and maintaining the COC.
I talked to a guy who does testing like that for a living he said you have to be careful what's in the immediate vicinity as far as air particles and what can be transfered from one horse to another this guy claiming that someone draining oil or pouring gas into a lawnmower could be picked up on a swab.

Actually what I can do Mr. Harris is I can send you our protocol so you can actually see how we take samples and how we do it.

That was from Hallie.

Not sure who this is. Wants to know of HIOs that you think are doing a good job and what if not do you think they should do to do it better I hope the actions of a few don't condemn or hurt the industry. Gipson not in the business of commenting on the performance of the HIOs but we do evaluations.

This guy's passing the usual stuff...they are doing a good job 'cause I'm at the most of the horse shows, I see it's fine. Blaming the HSUS saying they got an agenda against the horse industry.

From Jane H.: that is a mr. gomez

Marshall Kemp - is there a reset period? No there isn't. Does the first second and third offense follow the horse trainer or owner? It follows the individual...it foloows the people but not the horse. Follows any individual associated with that horse.

From Jane H.: penalty does not follow horse but rather any person associated with horse with the violation.

Here comes more about Jerry Harris' questions...How many of those actually recieved a ticket? HEY GIPSON WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW!!!

Gipson they're getting around to processing those violations. We do have a foreign substance protocol that we're going through right now is on our website contact Hallie Zimmer and she can contact Cezar and she can get that information to you.

‎... Benjamin asking about swabbing again. GEEZ PEOPLE. He wants to know about the controls that's being done with each individual horse being swabbed and does the penalization include show managers? Cezar yes there is a control taken as well as a sample taken on the horse. Where we outlined who will actually be on suspension does not include show management. Deals with responsibility of entering the horse and allowing the horse entered.

Same person f a horse is found to be in vioation psot show the show manager has no responsibility or be penalized? Cezar no will not be included.

Jerry Harris is back. He keeps cutting out. Cezar in final rule there was the put out for comment...this is the one that was put out for comment and this is the one that is being finalized. Ties in all together.

From Jane H.: the show manager was always relieved of responsibilty IF there was a dqp. so this is not change.

Roland ... Complaining that animal rights person got to make a comment but press person didn't. Basically an animal rights person is a stakeholder and press has their own line. He's arguing.

She'll follow up with him later.

Mark Matson foreign substance swabbing do you still have on file copies of the foreign substances that were taken a number of shows back just prior to when this program was implemented samples at NWHA shows and FOSH shows thsee shows had same environmntal issues all shows have but these results were all negative. Do you still have them?

They will look it up and see.

Mark I belive that was the baseline work that was done and might help with teh concerns. EXCELLENT POINT.

‎Kimberly Welsh how to get USDA inspectors to attend local shows GOOD QUESTION Kim! Basically determined by concerning of soring at the show. Can always contact our office. Number 301-851-3746 Dr. Cezar.

Call is finished.


Here are my final thoughts from the FB page and just in general.

There are good things here. The penalties will affect ALL of those involved with the horse. The penalties will be the same across the board now.

But, this just means the bad guys are going to give things like a 1-foot sore rather than a 2-foot sore. And we all know they don't give out penalties when the USDA isn't there anyway, so I can't see how this is going to make that big of a difference. But, I think it WILL make a difference to those who get penalized.

Jane H. on our page said this, and I agree--she pretty much too the words right out of my mouth.

ok here are my thoughts. one I feel the penalties are still weak but that comes from 40 yrs exp watching standing next to and fighting to get this done and over with NOW. realistically, and I cannot believe I am saying this, I believe this baby step is needed. I guess, I suppose. See me trying to be positive. I would have liked to seen stronger language but I will take any improvement as positive steps to even better improvement. I must say they handled themselves with aplomb and deserve a round of applause.

They're still hung up on that stupid swab test thing. But I'm glad Mark brought up that we need to see the negative tests from the NWHA and FOSH shows so the industry can't use their fly spray and shampoo excuses. And I have to say that excuse about the fuel in the air...WTF EVER. Folks, I used to work for environmental consulting firms. Unless they were taking the swab and standing RIGHT NEXT to the fuel being poured in the tank and were waving the swab around in the air next to it, this would NOT work. A guy pouring fuel in a gas tank even 10 feet away isn't going to have an effect.

I know how taking the samples work. It is a process that has been in place for decades. I've taken water samples myself. It's not easy to fake or to mess up.

Overall, we definitely need those HIOs to be decertified. Maybe this will lead to that. I'm just glad that the USDA has taken a stand and said you WILL follow these mandatory penalties. And if the industry thinks they'll fail because of the new penalties, then LET THEM FAIL. Let them learn their lesson the hard way. FOSH, IWHA and NWHA will still keep things going.

This isn't enough to stop soring. The USDA can do far more, such as banning pads and chains on TWHs in the show ring. So we need to keep at it. DON'T support their shows, write our letters to the sponsors, get the money out of their hands. That's where we can do this.

We still need to put the pressure on the USDA to make them get rid of the pads and chains on the TWH in the show ring for good.  We also need to make them stop pussy-footing around with the industry.  Stop trying to work with the bad guys--it's like trying to reason with the Mafia.  They're happy to shake your hand while crossing their fingers behind their backs.


USDA Publishes Final Rule to Provide Greater Protection for Horses
Action Will Require Horse Industry Organizations to Assess Minimum Penalties for Violations

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012— The U.S. Department of Agriculture has amended regulations to require horse industry organizations that license certain people to assess minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act. The move by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which administers the Animal Welfare Act, is meant to help eliminate the inhumane practice of horse soring—a practice primarily used in the training of Tennessee Walking Horses, racking horses and related breeds to accentuate the horse’s gait. Horse soring may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals or the use of mechanical devices.

“Requiring minimum penalty protocols will ensure that these organizations and their designees remain consistent in their inspection efforts,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Rebecca Blue. “USDA inspectors cannot be present at every horse show and sale, so we work with industry organizations and their designees to ensure the wellbeing of these animals. Our goal, together, is to make horse soring a thing of the past.”

The regulations currently provide that such penalties will be set either by the horse industry organizations or by APHIS. This final rule does not change the penalties set forth in the Horse Protection Act, or HPA. Rather, it requires all APHIS-certified horse industry organizations, which have already been administering penalties as part of their role in enforcing the HPA, to make their penalties equal or exceed minimum levels. The penalties in this final rule increase in severity for repeat offenders to provide an additional deterrent effect for people who have already shown a willingness to violate the HPA.

The final rule will also help ensure a level playing field for competitors at all horse shows.  Previously, as some horse industry organizations have declined to issue sufficiently serious penalties to deter soring, those shows have attracted more competitors than shows where horse organizations have used APHIS’ minimum penalty protocols. With this final rule, competitors now know that inspections and enforcement will take place consistently at all shows they and their horses attend.

Designated qualified persons are trained and licensed by their horse industry organizations to inspect horses for evidence of soring or other noncompliance with the HPA at horse shows, exhibitions and sales. USDA certifies and monitors these inspection programs. For over 30 years, USDA has encouraged self-regulation in the industry by allowing individual organizations to assess penalties for soring violations. But a September 2010 Office of Inspector General audit found that APHIS’ program for allowing the industry’s self-regulation has not been adequate to ensure that these animals are not being abused. One of the recommendations in the audit report was for APHIS to develop and implement protocols to more consistently issue penalties with individuals who are found to be in violation of the HPA.

This final rule requires that suspensions for violating the HPA be issued to any individuals who are responsible for: showing a sore horse; exhibiting a sore horse; entering or allowing the entry of that horse in a show or exhibition; selling, auctioning or offering the horse for sale or auction; shipping, moving, delivering or receiving a sore horse with reason to believe that such horse was to be shown, exhibited, sold, auctioned or offered for sale. This includes the manager, trainer, rider, custodian, seller or owner of the horse, as applicable.

An individual who is suspended will not be permitted to show or exhibit any horse or judge or manage any horse show, horse exhibition or horse sale/auction for the duration of the suspension.

Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but in order to be successful in competition their natural gait is often exaggerated.  The exaggerated gait can be achieved with proper training and considerable time; however, some horse exhibitors, owners, and trainers have chosen to use improper training methods to achieve their desired ends.

In September 2010, USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found deficiencies in APHIS’ horse protection program. One of OIG’s recommendations was that APHIS develop and implement protocols to more consistently penalize individuals who have violated the Horse Protection Act. APHIS developed a minimum penalty protocol and, in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on May 27, 2011, proposed requirements to ensure all horse industry organizations follow it.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

ARTICLES - More Information About McConnell and the Industry

Man, the articles are piling up!  It's amazing how hard people are working to research this information and expose how soring is not only still the main form of training TWHs, but also encouraged and support by the industry.

These articles explain how abuse and corruption run deep.

5/29/2012 - Jackie McConnell evidently kept TWH abuse all in the family

5/30/2012 - Top walking horse trainers have history of soring

Here, Roy Exum talks about the evidence piling up that shows how the industry wants to keep the sore horse in the ring.

5/31/2012 - Roy Exum: It Gets ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’

Still don't think the industry is all for the sore horse?  Take a look at this:

5/31/2012 - Whistleblower Who Alleged Horse 'Torture' Threatened With Expulsion from Breeders Group

And this:

5/30/2012 - Complaint filed against outspoken critic of horse soring

So basically, this tells me that it's okay to TALK about trying to end soring, but when someone who's on the board actually DOES work to end it, they get kicked out.  Huh.  And the member who filed the complaint, Kathy Zeis, has a few HPA violations of her own.  She also resigned from WHOA when they said they were going to sign the USDA mandated penalties.


This is a good editorial that talks about why we need more money in the HPA program to continue to get rid of people like McConnell, who absolutely are still out there soring horses.

6/1/2012 - Editorial: More funding needed for walking horse protection

And another editorial about how "those crocodile tears don’t work anymore."

Here's a fascinating article written by Oscar Aerdts in Belgium about how the industry tried to "unite" Europe concerning the TWH.

8/25/2008 - TWHBEA removes ETWHA website (Part 1)

8/28/2008 - TWHBEA removes ETWHA site (Part 2)

So it seems that you need to support the stacked horse in order to be considered "united" with TWHBEA.

Our new advocate for the sound horse, Roy Exum, wrote this wonderful article. Quite frankly, it nearly made me cry.

6/2/2012 - Roy Exum: I'm No Courageous Hero

To us you are, Roy...you don't know for how long many of us have been fighting and have continued to be pushed down.  But this new, clear evidence of soring and with the help from people like you, we actually have a strong chance of seeing real change.  Thank you so much for your help.

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