"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, July 29, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - Trademark Approval and More Updates As to What the Industry is Up To

I know it's been awhile since I posted, but since soring is really in the spotlight right now, I would rather post articles in one post than one at a time.  I highly, highly recommend visiting our Facebook group for the most updated information and our discussions about what's going on.  Click here for the For the Tennessee Walking Horse Facebook group.

But first, I want to announce that "For the Tennessee Walking Horse" is now officially a registered trademark!  It's taken a while to get it done, but that's the nature of getting paperwork like this done.  I want to thank everyone who helped me with the process of getting it off the ground.  The wait has been worth it!

Next, here's the letter from the USDA concerning who has and hasn't added the mandated penalties to their rulebooks.  It came to me as a pdf, so I've abbreviated some acronyms here.

Dear HIOs and Assoications:

On July 9, 2012, the final rule requiring horse industry organizations and associations (HIOs) to asses and enforce minimum penalties under the Horse Protection Act (HPA) became effective. APHIS notified HIOs on June 8, 2012 that they must adopt the minimum penalty protocol as well as the appeals process described in the final rule and submit evidence of their compliance no later than July 9, 2012.

As of today, the following HIOs have submitted rulebooks showing that they will be following the new regulations: WHOA, NWHA, FOSH, MFTHBA [Fox Trotter association], IWHA, Oklahoma Walking Horse Association (OKA), Western International Walking Horse Association (WIWHA).

APHIS has not received amended rulebooks for the following HIOs: SHOW, PRIDE, SSHBEA, Heart of America Walking Horse Association (HAWHA) [sometimes called HOA], KWHA. Until the deceritification process set forth in 9 CFR 11.7(g) is completed for the noncompliant HIOs, affiliation with them will not increase show management's liability. Please be advised, however, that USDA will continue its own efforts to enforce the HPA by conducting unannounced inspections at horse shows and focusing it's inspection resources at unaffiliated shows and oversight of HIO DQPs that pose an increased risk of noncompliance with the HPA.

I notice that the SSHBEA, Spotted Saddle Horse association, has not agreed to the rules.  You know, those horses that are a completely separate breed, but about 75% of the registered horses are also registered as TWHs.  (Remember that excuse as to why Davis was so quickly banned?  Yeah, me too.)

So at this point, this means the decertification process is being put together and the HIOs who didn't agree to the rules will most likely be shut down.  It's really only a matter of time now.

To wit, TWHBEA hired SHOW to be their HIO for the Celebration Futurity.  I guess we all know TWHBEA's stance concerning following the law, then.  Some breed registry we got going here.

Next, one of the new groups that exists out there since the release of the McConnell video, the Tennessee Walking Horse Show Organization (TWHSO), has been doing their own swabbing to test for chemicals on horses at shows.  In case you don't know or haven't heard of it, TWHSO was formed to protect the show horse...of course.  They are doing swabbing tests and have hired a PR firm to help the image of the TWH.  (Which, in my honest opinion, would be very easy to fix and they wouldn't even have to spend money on it if this industry would get their heads out of their asses.)  Click here for more info about TWHSO.  And do I need to point out that their board members are HPA violators?  Probably not at this point--I'm sure you my readers aren't stupid and saw that coming from a mile away.

From the What a Horse Forum:

SHOW HIO Initiates Swabbing – June 15, 2012

At the request of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and the Tennessee Walking Horse Show Organization (TWHSO), the SHOW HIO will allow swabbing at all of its affiliated shows immediately.  Funding for the program will be provided by TWHSO and will be conducted by independent veterinarian technicians from Columbia State College. Shows to be swabbed this weekend include Liberty Lions Club Show in Shelbyville, TN, Celebration Versatility Show Series Show in Petersburg, TN and Marshall Evening Lions Club Horse Show in Marshall, Texas.

SHOW President Dr. Steve Mullins praised the action of the trainers and TWHSO and stated “I am in total agreement with this initiative and it will be a valuable tool in achieving our goal of eliminating the sore horse from the show ring.”

What really cracks me up here is they are using a state college instead of an accredited laboratory entity like the government did.  Veterinarian technicians are not trained to recognize substances generated from GC/MS technology.  So ridiculous.

So TWHSO did their swabs, and they of course found substances.  "Two trainers, Brad Beard and Marvin North, received two-week suspensions of their training licenses. A third, Knox Blackburn, received a four-week suspension."  Click here to read the article.

Now while this sounds great on the surface, the problem is that TWHSO is NOT an HIO.  This means that they could give someone 100 suspensions, but it doesn't mean squat.  There is no legal reason for someone to honor the suspensions.  And suspension from what?  They certainly won't say.  And OF COURSE, they didn't release any pertinent information: "The announcement didn’t include information about the substances found, how many total swabs were taken, where the swabs were taken or where the trainers operate."

And get this: on another FB page, the show manager for a show that went on this weekend (July 28) OPENLY INVITED KNOX BLACKBURN TO COME SHOW.  I quote: "I am only recognizing HPA suspensions Knox's is not HPA."  And that attitude, ladies and gentleman, is why soring continues.

Happily, Roy Exum continues to report on the abuse and do his own research into how deep the corruption goes.  He is helping us keep this nightmare public.  I don't think I can thank Roy enough for his support of the horse.

July 5, 2012 - Coca-Cola is Horsin' Around

July 16, 2012 - The Rage Over Horses Mounts

July 21, 2012 - Mike, Turn Back! Get Out!

July 22, 2012 - Horse CEO is Jumping Off (unfortunately some of this is inaccurate--Meadows announced he was leaving before the McConnell video came out.)

That's it for now...I'll keep posting as things develop!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

NEWS - SHOW vs. USDA Court Date Canceled; To Be Settled Out of Court

The court date on July 16 has been canceled.  That doesn't mean the game is finished.  The court is just changing some dates around to make sure the Plaintiff and the Defendant get to get their evidence and information together.  This is a GOOD thing.  It gets this ridiculous lawsuit out of the court where it doesn't need to be.  It seems to me like we've got a good chance of seeing the USDA win this one, which means we have a very good chance of seeing real justice for the horse.

Now to set the record straight, I did talk with the USDA about this lawsuit, asking if the mandated penalties will still be in place even though this lawsuit is going on.  They said YES.  So this doesn't mean that everyone gets a free pass--THE MANDATED PENALTIES ARE CURRENTLY IN PLACE.  If you don't believe me, write to Drs. Gipson and Cezar yourself.



Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-429-Y
The Honorable Terry R. Means

Plaintiffs SHOW, Inc., Contender Farms, and Mike McGartland and Defendant United States Department of Agriculture, by and through their undersigned counsel, hereby stipulate to a cancellation of the consolidated hearing on Plaintiffs’ request for preliminary injunction and trial on the merits, currently set for July 16, 2012 at 10 a.m.

The parties agree that the combined hearing and trial is unnecessary in this case and that final resolution should be reached based on cross-motions for judgment on the evidentiary record as determined by to the Court. However, the parties disagree about what evidence the Court can consider when reviewing an agency’s decision.  Accordingly, the parties submit the following schedule for briefing what should
constitute the evidentiary record before the Court and the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims:

  • Plaintiffs will file their evidence with the court on July 16, 2012, per the court’s prior order, Case 4:12-cv-00429-Y Document 22 Filed 07/12/12 Page 1 of 3 PageID 641
  • Defendant shall have until Tuesday, July 17, 2012 to submit all documents and things that they believe should be considered by the Court in this case.
  • A party may file a motion seeking to exclude all or part of another party’s submission no later than August 7, 2012. The submitting party shall have twenty one days to respond to the motion.
  • Once the Court has ruled on all outstanding motions concerning the scope of the record in this case, the parties shall submit a proposed briefing schedule for resolving the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.

Dated: July 12, 2012

Respectfully submitted,
Acting Assistant Attorney General
United States Attorney
Assistant Branch Director
/s/ Nathan M. Swinton
Trial Attorneys
Federal Programs Branch
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Telephone: (202) 305-7667
Fax: (202) 616-8470
Email: Nathan.M.Swinton@usdoj.gov
Counsel for Defendant
____s/Karin Cagle_________________
Texas State Bar No. 24043588
Kirkley & Berryman, L.L.P
Case 4:12-cv-00429-Y Document 22 Filed 07/12/12 Page 2 of 3 PageID 642
100 N. Forest Park Blvd., Suite 220
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Tel. 817.335.3311
Fax: 817.335.3373
Texas State Bar No. 03054500
2400 Indian Cove
Fort Worth, Texas 76108
Tel. 817-246-7801
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Case 4:12-cv-00429-Y Document 22 Filed 07/12/12 Page 3 of 3 PageID 643

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ARTICLES - Stacks From an Outside Farrier's Perspective and More From Roy Exum

On Fugly Horse of the Day, they have a great guest article from a farrier who works outside of the TWH industry, but was "educated" on how to put the stacks on at a TWH barn.  I highly recommend reading this.  She points out the medical issues that can and will arise and how quite frankly, shoeing a horse like this makes absolutely no sense.

FHOTD - TWH "Stacks" - A Shoer's Perspective

And our friend to the horse Roy Exum keeps writing articles.  Here are his latest ones since June 25.

June 30, 3012 - What Happened to Horse Sense?  (Concerning the farce that was the TWH of Today Equine Conference--I'll write more on it in a later post.)

July 2, 2012 - Coca-Cola Just Broke My Heart

We're Quitting Coca-Cola Too and responses

July 10, 2012 - A Wolf Wearing Sheep's Clothing

*SIGH*  So I guess I'm going to have to talk about the TWH of Today Equine Conference eventually...Do I have to?  People standing around patting themselves on the back and essentially ignoring what the USDA and other experts that actually agree that soring needs to end said is not my idea of a good time.  But what cracked me up was the obvious lack of people in the stands to watch Tim Scarberry.  So more on that soon...

Monday, July 9, 2012

NEWS - USDC Releases Memorandum in Opposition

First of all, I posted this information on the FTTWH Facebook page the other day:


SHOW, INC., et al. VS. CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:12-CV-429-Y

Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) (doc. 1). After review, the Court concludes that the motion should be, and is hereby, DENIED. Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and the balance of hardships and public-interest factors counsel against the granting of a TRO. Moreover, in the Court’s view, any risk of irreparable harm facing Plaintiffs is unlikely to befall them prior to the Court’s resolution of the merits of their claims.  That said, in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(a)(2), the Court concludes that trial on the merits should be, and is hereby, ADVANCED and CONSOLIDATED with the hearing on Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which shall take place on Monday, July 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. A memorandum opinion on the Court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ TRO motion, along with a full scheduling order concerning the July 16 trial, will be issued early next week.
SIGNED July 6, 2012.


Basically, what this meant was that SHOW and their cronies, Contender Farms, LLP and Mike McGartland, included in their lawsuit to keep the mandated penalties from becoming part of the HPA on July 9, 2012.  They were denied.  They will have the trial on July 16, 2012--clearly they want to get the ruling done before the Celebration.  Or should I say Soreabration?  I do agree with getting this into court faster--let's get this done and over with.

Now, the USDC has released their Memorandum in Opposition to the temporary restraining order and the preliminary injunction lawsuit put forth by SHOW, et. al.  Click here for the document as a pdf.  It is 31 pages as a pdf; the document standing alone is 24 pages.  I don't want to reproduce the findings of the entire document here, so I highly, highly recommend everyone read it.  But it's important to note that this ruling basically says what many have been saying all along, as follows.

The document states that basically, unless someone is actively soring horses, then they won't be affected by the mandated penalties.  It also says that participating in showing is voluntary, so if they believe they are in danger then they don't have to show.  It's not a requirement to ride horses in a show, even if you do it for a living.  Anyone can go to a different discipline, breed, or even find another job out of the horse show business altogether.  It's just like any regular job in America.  Let's say you go to work for a company where there is a rule you don't like, such as you can't wear flip flops in the office.  No one says you have to continue to work there and suffer not wearing flip flops.  Just go find a different job.

It also points out that enforcement of the HPA using the HIO/DQP system IS constitutional.  I can't say it much better than the document itself says it.

Plaintiffs first argue that APHIS’s reliance on HIOs to help enforce the HPA violates two provisions of the Constitution: Article I, which gives legislative powers to Congress, and Article III, which grants adjudicatory powers to the judiciary. Plaintiffs seem to suggest that any enforcement proceedings undertaken pursuant to the Act must take place in an Article III court, a claim that is clearly contrary to well-established caselaw..."Congress is not barred from acting pursuant to its powers under Article I to vest decisionmaking authority in tribunals that lack the attributes of Article III courts."..."Congress has often created new statutory obligations, provided for civil penalties for their violation, and committed exclusively to an administrative agency the function of deciding whether a violation has in fact occurred". There is thus no Article III violation presented by the Final Rule, which Plaintiffs themselves later admit.

Nor does the Final Rule violate Article I. No constitutional bar exists precluding 
an agency from delegating power to a private entity.  
This is true even where the agency delegates to a private entity adjudicatory power [for example, an HIO]...“Congress has the power, under Article I, to authorize an agency administering a complex regulatory scheme to allocate costs and benefits among voluntary participants in the program without providing an Article III adjudication.”  (Pages 8-9)

This document also clearly points out the irony of their lawsuit in that the industry admits there are problems but yet claims that the Final Rule (mandated penalties) are "arbitrary and capricious." For example, they cite HIOs not turning in documents on time and violators serving their suspension off season as problems.  The response to that particular whine about the Final Rule: "Plaintiffs’ dissatisfaction with the sixty-day requirement does not render it arbitrary and capricious, and the various statistics they cite regarding APHIS’s own enforcement proceedings...are irrelevant because those proceedings are governed by 15 U.S.C. 1825(c), not the Final Rule" (pages 17-18).

Quite possibly the most important part of the document is this: it continually points out that Congress gave the APHIS the ability to make changes to the HPA and enforce more regulations as needed when the HPA was passed.  Specifically, "Even if Congress did not expressly authorize the sub-delegation of enforcement power in the HPA, the agency’s interpretation of the HPA in this regard was nevertheless reasonable and is entitled to deference" (page 11).  And here's an even better quote:

In this case, Congress has determined that the practice of soring constitutes the cruel and inhumane treatment of horses, and has entrusted APHIS with the responsibility to promulgate rules to eliminate the practice from the horse industry. The Court should be loath to disregard Congress’s judgment, even if Plaintiffs had provided any comparable harm at the other end of the balance.  (page 24)

Please, take the time to read this document in its entirety to learn more.  Quite frankly, SHOW, Contender Farms and McGartland are making themselves look like morons.  All they want is to keep sore horses in the ring, and this court saw right through their lame excuses and called them on it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

ARTICLES and NEWS - Coca-Cola Betrays Us All

I found out about this last week and just haven't had time to post it.

Unfortunately, after Pepsi so gallantly stepped down from sponsoring the Celebration after the HSUS video was aired, Coca-Cola has shown they have no ethics or morals and support animal abuse by stepping in to take Coca-Cola's place.

The sponsorship comes from the Coca Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma, Inc.  Here's their contact information.  There's no email address, but faxes work just as well--fill up their fax machine with messages letting them know how disappointed you are.

Coca Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma, Inc.
Tullahoma, TN
Phone: (931) 455-3466
Fax: (931) 455-4998
address: 1502 E Carroll St, Tullahoma, TN.

Here's Coke's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cocacola
And here's Coke's Leadership Viewpoints page from their website:  http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/dynamic/leadershipviewpoints/   You can write to their big wigs here.

When rumors were surfacing that Coke was going to sponsor the Celebration, some people contacted them about it.  Here was their canned email response.

Like you, Coca-Cola cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. The Coca-Cola Company and our United States bottling partners will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals’ health and safety. Additionally, our Company’s trademarks may not be used to promote an event or an attraction that violates local, state, or national laws or is contrary to our Company’s policy and guidelines.

It's also the exact same canned response that's on their website.  But I should have known this response wasn't legit anyway.  Coke also sponsors the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, which is rife with abuse.  Click here for SHARK Online's page about the rodeo, including footage from the 2010 and 2011 rodeos where animals actually died, including a horse.  WARNING: The video footage is very graphic.

I agree with Roy Exum's article that I copied and pasted below.  Click here for the article.  Let's not drink Coke for the entire week of the Celebration.  And note that Coke has an extensive product list--this also means no Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Dasani Water, Odwalla, A&W, Barq's, Powerade, and various other drinks, so be sure to check their product list.  I'll be faxing them the week of the Celebration to let them know my lack of support.  I personally won't be drinking Coke anymore, but I don't like the taste of Pepsi, so I guess I'll be switching to Mt. Dew!  Ask your friends and neighbors to do so as well.  In fact, the week of the Celebration, I'll probably post everyday on my own Facebook page that I'm not drinking Coke and why.  While we may not make a huge dent, letting Coke know why we're not sponsoring can.  Roy's exactly right: Coke must really need their 30 pieces of silver to want to do this.


Roy Exum: Coca-Cola Just Broke My Heart
Monday, July 02, 2012 - by Roy Exum

One of the smartest of all Life’s Rules is also one of the hardest to remember at key times in your life. Simply put it reads, “Never let your money get mad.” Let’s face it, almost all of us are going to get into a fret or a huff but when you allow yourself to get so angry it ends up actually costing you money, your best friends will build a statue and chisel your name at the bottom of it as the World’s Biggest Fool.

Trust me, I’ve done it a time or two and – after declaring myself double-dumb – I’ve dusted off my britches and tried to get back to being the kind of person I ought  to be. But one of my dearest and most beloved friends just broke my heart and, gracious goodness, the pain is so bad that my money is really mad.

On May 16 this year the ABC News show “Nightline” aired the most atrocious and disgusting video in my memory when they showed a Hall of Fame horse trainer named Jackie McConnell sadistically and savagely whipping a Tennessee Walking Horse with an electric cattle prod. The very next day the Pepsi Cola Company – which I’ve never much cared about – withdrew its sponsorship of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration that will be held in Shelbyville Aug. 22 through Sept. 1.That meant a lot to me because while I cannot remember ever allowing a Pepsi to touch my lips, it told me a lot about the kind of people who today run the Pepsi organization. Please understand, Pepsi has never done anything to hurt me, but I’m a child of the South and my loyalty to Coca-Cola started when I could bang one out of a crank cooler for only a nickel.

In the 60 years that have followed, I’ve never been without a Coke. I drink Diet Cokes all day long. I have a small cooler right beside the desk where I write and I’ve got another little refrigerator beside my bed. I have known and loved quite literally thousands of Coca-Cola people and know that while the first one was bottled in Chattanooga, many millions of cases were sent – at no charge – to The Greatest Generation all over the Europe and the Pacific during World War II. We must never, ever, forget that.

I’m telling you, Coca-Cola runs through me as deep as my blood. You with me here? Good. Guess who just became the “Official Drink Provider” for the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration? I’ll answer that by pledging to you that between Aug. 22 and Sept. 1 of this year I’m drinking nothing but Pepsi products for the first time in my life. Or at least I’m going to try. You say, oh, don’t let your money get mad but in the past six weeks the very real business of soring and abusing beautiful Tennessee Walking Horses has gotten personal with me and if Coca-Cola needs “thirty pieces of silver” bad enough to run with such a scurrilous crowd it is no longer “The Real Thing” in my heart of hearts.

Are you kidding me? A half-million people have now watched the Humane Society tape of the downed horse crying like an infant in that stall and – what! – last week the Shelbyville crowd just sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Celebration “handlers” have been just been condemned by the top three veterinary groups in the United States – much to the joy of 500,000 registered Walking Horse owners – and “my” Coca-Cola is now stifling that many giggles. Please!

Contrary to what some may believe, I desperately want the Tennessee Walking Horse to heal itself. I want there to be honest horse shows with beautiful animals, skilled trainers, huge crowds and lots of blue ribbons.  But today there is overwhelming evidence, guilty pleas, blatant lies, and enough violations of the federal Horse Protection Act to quite literally kill the “performance horse” forever.

Any junior high student with a computer can easily access public files that will make you cry. My goodness, there is actually a letter from a Kentucky senator – also named McConnell -- threatening to restrict funding to the Department of Agriculture if they didn’t back off investigating the Walking Horse fiasco and, written in May of 1998, the first signature is that of then Tennessee Senator Bill Frist. My goodness!

I have been studying the wickedness in the Walking Horse industry for less than two months – so help me that’s true – and it is mind-boggling. I loved it when this rich guy named Randall Baskin jumped up at one redemption meeting about a month ago and pledged $100,000 in matching funds to end violations of the Horse Protection Act. The same Mr. Baskin will get off an eight-month suspension for violating the federal Horse Protection Act in a couple of weeks. How many cans of Coca-Cola do you reckon that charade will sell?

Of course, I can’t answer that but I can tell you this; I might try to set a Pepsi-drinking record in late August. The horrible part is that I know so much about what Coca-Cola has done in the lives of literally millions of people. As a matter of fact, I have enjoyed a can and a half of Diet Coke as this article has been written and, first thing in the morning, I’ll be the first to promise I’ll start anew.

Don’t worry. Around Labor Day I’ll renew my lifelong waltz with Coca-Cola but the last part of August the Pepsi Company is going to get all of me. That might not sound like much but, brother, that’s what happens when your money gets so mad you can’t spit nothing but feathers.

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