"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, October 15, 2013

NEWS - PSHA Has to Clarify Congressmen's Clarification to Suit Their Needs; Black Resigns; Meadows Returns

Well, as expected, the Industry responded to Congressmen Cohen and Whitfield's clarification letter to TWHBEA concerning the PAST Act.  Clearly, the clarification wasn't good enough, so the Industry had to--and I quote them--"clarify Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Cohen’s “clarifications”."  They wanted clarification on the "weighted shoes" part of the PAST Act, they got clarification, but of course it wasn't good enough.

So now, I am going to take a page from their book and clarify what PAST is really saying.  Quite frankly, they clearly admit that their horses must be sored in order for their Industry to continue.  Let's take a look, shall we?  My comments are in green text.

PSHA Responds To Congressman Whitfield and Cohen
Friday, October 11, 2013 

On September 27, 2013 Congressmen Ed Whitfield (Ky) and Steve Cohen (Tn) wrote a letter to the executive committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association (TWHBEA) clarifying their previously introduced legislation. The clarification centered around the ban of weighted shoes in their legislation. You can view that letter here.

The Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA) sent the following letter to the executive committee of TWHBEA in response to the letter from Congressmen Whitfield and Cohen.

October 7, 2013

Mr. Loyd H. Black, Jr.
P.O. Box 286
250 N. Ellington Pkwy.
Lewisburg, TN 37091

Dear Mr. Black:

Our organization has had the opportunity to review the letter TWHBEA recently received from Congressman Ed Whitfield and Congressman Steve Cohen regarding their legislation (H.R. 1518) and their desire to “clarify” the intent and the impacts of that legislation to the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry.

First and foremost, every member of this industry needs to understand one simple fact – this legislation was authored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its intent is very straightforward in wanting to eliminate the performance show horse industry and eliminate the thousands of jobs dependent upon this industry, eliminate the millions of dollars that this industry provides to charities across the country and eliminate the economic value that thousands of members of this industry have invested in their horses and farms. 

First, the HSUS did not write the legislation.  They may have helped with it, but they did not outright write it.

Second, where are the numbers behind this?  What thousands of jobs?  There aren't that many BL trainers out there making money off of this.  Once again, just spouting stuff without any facts behind it.

This legislation was originally filed in September of last year and was re-introduced this year soon after the seating of the new Congress. It is surprising that this legislation authored by the HSUS is just now being “clarified”. Also, as an important member of the walking horse industry, please understand that the letter from Congressman Ed Whitfield and Congressman Steve Cohen has no relevance to the legislative process or on any actions that would occur if this legislation happens to pass the House, pass the Senate and is signed in to law by the President.

It's being "clarified" because the industry has continued to scream about wanting clarification.  And what does that last sentence even mean?

Of particular importance is the “clarification” by Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Cohen that “(T)he determination of the types and weight of shoes that are allowed will be determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) only after a formal rule making process.” This is one of the most dangerous and significant portions of H.R. 1518. Under rule making, the Department of Agriculture is under NO obligation to take in to account any documentation, evidence, suggestions or positions submitted by the industry or any member of the industry, or by these Members of Congress. The current Administration routinely publishes proposed rules, has a comment period and issues a final rule that is based completely upon the desires of a small minority interest that is influential with a Department or the Administration. In fact, Mr. Whitfield has spent several years fighting the current Administration’s rulemaking actions related to the energy sector of the economy and it is slightly disingenuous for him to ask the walking horse industry to have “faith” in the Department of Agriculture’s rulemaking.

What?  Where are the facts behind Mr. Whitfield's actions, if these are really true?  And again, what is this supposed to mean?  I would think you would want there to be a formal rulemaking process.

Secondly, Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Cohen failed to “clarify” the fact that this bill, if it becomes law, will result in a significant loss of value of thousands of horses with no compensation of any kind to the owners of those horses. While these Congressmen and their HSUS partners have no problem with that result, it should and must be of the utmost concern to every person associated with this industry. Through this legislative elimination of an entire breed, the resulting economic loss will be catastrophic to every community associated with our industry.

The horses won't lose any value if you retrain them to do something else.  They only lose value in your eyes, not in anyone else's.  In addition, why should owners be compensated for an amendment to a law being put into place to keep them from breaking that law?

Again, the entire breed will not be eliminated.  This Industry continues to act like the TWH will become extinct if the Big Lick goes away.  I guess that means the thousands (and yes, I can say thousands because it's a fact) of barefoot and flat shod horses will just go poof and promptly disappear when this becomes part of the law.

As far as I can tell, the trail riding community won't be economically impacted.  Those of us who own TWHs don't get any monetary compensation for riding our trail horses--I imagine that things will continue as usual for us.

Third, the letter you received was very inaccurate in its “clarifications” on a number of topics. For example, the letter stated that “it has been documented that heavy shoes and hoof bands are regularly used an integral part of a practice generally known as ‘pressure shoeing’ to cause horses to be sore, which creates an artificial high-stepping gait that is often rewarded in the show ring.” This is false. What “documentation” do they have which shows that heavy shoes and bands are “regularly” used for the practice of “pressure shoeing”? Industry data, including information from the Department of Agriculture, shows only ONE (1) instance of “pressure shoeing” in the last four years and that person was prosecuted for this action by one of the very Horse Industry Organizations that these Congressmen wish to eliminate. 

You want documentation, huh?  How about Barney Davis' confession?  That's a pretty good source for how pressure shoeing is done.  And how about the pictures USDA has of objects that have been found between pads and shoes?

HSUS routinely makes these types of allegations and, as they are the authors of this bill, this type of misinformation contained in the letter you received is not surprising. For example, Mr. Keith Dane, an official of HSUS, identified 2 horses in 2009 he knew were “pressure shod”. To ensure compliance with the Horse Protection Act, officials from the Celebration and the Department of Agriculture went to the barns where these horses were at, inspected them and determined that the horses were not pressure shod. But the misrepresentations and misinformation produced by HSUS and used by these Members of Congress continues.

Let's see the documentation behind this particular claim concerning Keith Dane, since you're so big on documentation.  Or is this just a rumor someone has spread?

As a point of “clarification” for this Industry we have reviewed the different type and class of every horse that has been shown in 2013 to date , in an HIO affiliated event, and determined that 91% would be deemed “weighted” and eliminated by this legislation (see “Weighted v. Non-Weighted” document accompanying this letter). Attached you will find the list of those types of show horses. Of course that does not include all the stallions, mares, yearlings and other horses that are part of the “weighted” Industry.

Wish I had this list so I could go over it, but unfortunately I can't find it right now.  When I do I'll post it.

Finally, the letter states that these Members of Congress “will work hard to ensure that the intent of this legislation is carried out in a way that is not harmful to the people who value Walking horses and do not sore them.” Unfortunately, if this statement is accurate, the walking horse industry we know and depend on and the one that our communities and the charities we support depend on will disappear. The value of our horses and farms will disappear. That is the intent of the Humane Society of the United States, these Members of Congress and this legislation and everyone involved with this issue needs to understand and appreciate that fact.

Let's take a look at this in detail.

Mr. Whitfield correctly states that the legislation when passed will not harm the people who DO NOT SORE their horses.  PSHA says that if it passes, the industry will disappear.  Therefore, that must mean that you need to sore your horses to keep the industry alive.

Let me point that out again: PSHA IS ADMITTING THAT THEY NEED TO SORE THEIR HORSES TO KEEP THEIR INDUSTRY ALIVE.  They have pretty much admitted that soring is necessary to keep their money flowing.

The fact that you use soring to make money is your own problem, not the government's.  This entire industry has chosen to abuse animals and break the law to make money.  This is no one's fault but your own.  Continuing to blame the USDA, HSUS, and sound horse advocates has gotten tired and quite frankly laughable.  Step up and take responsibility for your own actions.

Let's also point out that charities that solely rely on horse show money are rare indeed.  Horse shows are no longer widely attended, and that's across the United States.  Charities find other ways to raise money, and they are not relying on horse shows to do it.  If they are relying on the sored horse to make them money, then they need to get out now and find other means to raise money, fast.

Every member of the Performance Show Horse Association and this industry is working diligently to bring about significant and real reforms to the show horse component of this industry. We are working to create protocols that will result in objective, science-based testing that will identify those individuals who do not wish to abide by the rules. We are working with a number of Members of Congress on a legislative solution that will put these reforms in to the Horse Protection Act and protect horses from mistreatment and, at the same time, ensure that our industry and the thousands of families dependent on our industry are protected as well.

You've been saying you've been doing this for 40 years.  Enough of this already.  You haven't done your job, and therefore it will be done for you.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this letter and our desire to clarify Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Cohen’s “clarifications”. We look forward to working with you over the coming months and please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

So now you had to clarify the clarifications, because the clarifications don't suit your need to keep the sore horse in the ring.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Doyle Meadows
Performance Show Horse Association


As usual, the Industry sticks its foot father and father into its mouth.  You just can't make this stuff up, folks.  I mean, I wish I could--to live in such a world of denial must be pure bliss.

Oh, and by the way, current TWHBEA president Buster Black resigned...let's hope this isn't a push to get Steve Smith in there.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's post about it.  And PSHA has added Dr. Doyle Meadows, who retired from his position as the CEO with the Celebration in 2011, to take over Terry Dotson's position.  Click here for the information about his retirement.  We can remember that Dotson stomped his feet, pouted and ran away after Honors was turned down for sore violations at the 2013 Celebration.  Dontcha hate it when your bought and paid for WGC gets bamboozled by the people trying to uphold the law and protect horses?

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