Horse protection bill H.R. 6388
From Roy at Roy Exum: Stop Soring! No More Pads! - 11/21/2012 - Chattanoogan.com
Here's a link to the bill itself. We can watch it as it moves forward though the process: http://beta.congress.gov/bill/112th-...bill/6388/text
Roy Exum: Stop Soring! No More Pads!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - by Roy Exum
The American Veterinary Medical Association – with 82,500 professional members – and the American Association of Equine Practitioners – with another 10,000 who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of horses – delivered a savage kick in the face to the despicable “Big Lick” crowd in Shelbyville early this week when the two groups called on Congress to soon pass the Amendments to the Horse Protection Act, House Bill No. 6388.
The amendments are badly needed since there has been continued and rampant abuse of soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry this year. The “Big Lick” faction has openly scoffed at efforts of horse advocates to eliminate the torture and sadistic practices for 40 years since the Horse Protection Act was put into law, but now the country’s top veterinarians and equine experts have joined an enraged public eager to put those who torture horses in jail.
Dr. Doug Aspros, the president of the AVMA, said in a statement, “Soring is an unconscionable abuse of horses that is used to produce a high-stepping gait—the ‘Big Lick’—and gain an unfair competitive advantage in the show ring. For decades we’ve watched irresponsible individuals become more creative about finding ways to sore horses and circumvent the inspection process, and have lost faith in an industry that seems unwilling and/or unable to police itself."
“The AVMA and AAEP are committed to strengthening the USDA’s ability to enforce the Horse Protection Act,” said the White Plains, N.Y., veterinarian, “and ending this abuse for good. We strongly encourage everyone who cares about the welfare of horses to contact their member of Congress and urge them to pass H.R. 6388.”
Dr. John Mitchell, the president of the AAEP, was more direct, correctly pointing out the national outcry towards those who have sullied the noble image of the Tennessee Walking Horse. "The passage of H.R. 6388 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and significantly increase the effort to end the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horse," said the Boca Raton, Fla., veterinarian. "The AAEP encourages all veterinarians to contact their legislators to voice support for the bill and help end the cruel soring of these beautiful animals."
The Horse Protection Act, established 40 years ago, was never successfully prosecuted until federal agents from Chattanooga won five guilty pleas this year. One was from the now-famed Jackie McConnell, a trainer from west Tennessee, who brutally clubbed a horse in an undercover video that has now been seen by millions the world over. Because of woefully-lax federal laws, every violator got a suspended sentence – including the loathsome McConnell.
The proposed amendments to the Horse Protection Act will provide the following distinctions that will greatly strengthen the act:
* -- Makes the actual act of soring, or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore, illegal;
* -- Requires the USDA (rather than the industry) to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors enforcing the Horse Protection Act;
* -- Prohibits the use of action devices (e.g., boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse) on any limb of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle horses, or Racking horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions and bans weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands, or other devices that are not used for protective or therapeutic purposes;
* -- Increases civil and criminal penalties for violations, and creates a penalty structure that requires horses to be disqualified for increasing periods of time based on the number of violations; and
* -- Allows for permanent disqualification from the show ring after three or more violations.
Many feel the Amendments will fly through Congress but the “Big Lick” industry is far from dead; they swooned Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) at a “fundraiser” during this year’s National Celebration. The Humane Society of the United States has since learned the much-maligned DesJarlais has an equally shameful record voting on animal issues. He was even called down for “harassing” the USDA by former Senator Joseph Tidings, the author of the Horse Protection Act.
Recent revelations have proven DesJarlais to be little more than “a bad Republican joke” in Washington circles but reports that a horse’s hoof was actually torn off while it was being shown in Shelbyville last Saturday is not funny at all. It happened at the aptly-named “Walking For Angels Show” and horse advocates are enraged that nothing was done after the horse’s bloody leg was wrapped and the animal was led from the show ring.
As the head of the American Veterinary Medical Association just said, “For decades we’ve watched irresponsible individuals become more creative about finding ways to sore horses and circumvent the inspection process, and have lost faith in an industry that seems unwilling and/or unable to police itself.”
That’s enough to make you write your Congressman on Thanksgiving Day.
I just sent this short message to my congressman.
"Message Subject: Horse Protection Act, House Bill No. 6388
I'm of the opinion it's time to strengthen the horse protection act. I do own a Spotted Saddle horse, but do not compete. I have attended walking horse shows from the 1960's forward and love the tradition. I'd like to see the tradition continued but also don't want to see these animals abused. Frankly, I don't know for certain if they are being abused or not but recent events and the press coverage surrounding the controversy seems to indicate it does. The spot light is on the State of Tennessee. Please have a look at the Horse Protection Act, House Bill No. 6388 and try to determine if it has merit. If so please act to move the bill forward. Thank you,"
I don't agree with soring, or for that matter, a lot of the training aids used by a lot of folks,
neither do I think we need any more of the government tells what we can and can not do.
Controls need to be on the local level, ie, if soring is not to be used then the registries could pull the registration of the offenders, etc. NOT the government.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yes, this is a tough one. I am against soaring but also against the government being more into what I can and cannot do.
Sadly, government intervention will be required. The industry/market has had more than half a century to address the issues and has failed utterly.
I'm not fan of needless government intrusion into private affairs, but the McConnell video and other recent events demonstrates that the intervention here is not "needless."
I guess the thing about government intervention is the things they need to intervene in they won't, and the things they don't need to intervene in, they do.
we dont need laws and federal inspectors, Ever notice they never seem to do any good ?
The people on this websight, in the stands, and registering Walkers with the TWHBEA are the problem. STOP GIVING THEM MONEY !
Dont write congress men asking for new laws, write the sponsors of the shows tell them you refuse to buy their products while they are giving TWHBEA any money. Its about money if you dont stop giving money to animal abusers they arnt gonna stop.
The almighty dollar speaks and if they continue to allow this to happen in their registry, then make them accountable and start boycotting the products that sponsor them. Didn't a couple of big sponsors pull out of the celebration this last year?
Government regulation of anything can range from "swatting a fly with sledgehammer" to "hitting a rock with flyswatter." But every now and then they do get it right.
There is no doubt in my mind that vigorous Federal intervention is the only way that the cruelties of the Big Lick/Sore Lick world can be effectively addressed. The "economic sanction" approach has been tried and failed. The "public criticism" approach has been tried and failed. For more than 50 years there has been "jawboning" going on. It's all failed.
The "prosecutorial approach" was tried early on and failed, but has proved successful recently. The success has revealed both the strength and weakness of current law. It's time to keep the strengths and address the weaknesses.
A lot of VERY influential people in Middle TN are going to lose millions of dollars in equine value if the use of action devices is eliminated. Hundreds, if not thousands, of horses will be out jobs because their breeding requires these devices for them to perform their job. This is one of those "unintended consequences" that maybe should be thought about. This does NOT mean "don't eliminate the devices." It does mean that to become obsessed with "possible neglect" while ignoring "real cruelty" stands the problem on its head. It also means that there is a real potential for issues if this happens.
I've written to my Representative voicing my support for the Bill as written. It's a condemnation of the entire Walking Horse industry that their world has come to this. But there it is.
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