"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, April 29, 2014

NEWS and ARTICLES - SBS Dateline of Australia Helps Expose the Truth; Dr. Blackwell, DVM Explains Soring Pain; Billy Go Boy's Recent Post

We have some great things going on within the Tennessee Walking Horse world.  If you've been following our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and Billy Go Boy's website, you'll know that the National Sheriff's Association has endorsed the PAST Act, while the Tennessee Farm Bureau has of course endorsed the industry and their useless counter-acts.  Although honestly, The Tennessee Farm Bureau's actions don't surprise me.  It just shows us that they are just as ingrained in profiting from the abuse as the Lickers are.

The list of supporters and endorsements of the PAST Act continues to grow!  Use this list when you're contacting your Congresspersons.  Click here to view the most updated list as of April 25, 2014!

The USDA has been working very hard.  They were at all of the major shows this season so far, and their presence either scared off exhibitors or caught a lot of the abusers in the act.  They brought their scientific, objective methods, and it's proving to work.  Please send them a message to thank them for their hard work.  Click here for the USDA HPA website for contact information.

Next, SBS Dateline out of Australia did an EXCELLENT piece on the TWH industry and soring.  They were present at this year's Trainers' Show and the Sound Horse Conference, so they showed footage and data from both.  This video is full of facts and good information from both sides of the sore horse world.  It also points out several fallacies within the industry, and counters many of their claims.  Click the banner from SBS Dateline below to watch the video.

"This is not the natural gait of the Walking Horse."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

"The exaggerated Big Lick is only achieved with the aid of what trainers call 'action devices,' the most obvious the ungainly shoes on the horse's front feet."
~ SBS Dateline, Walk of Shame

Some interesting things I noticed.

03:25 - Brain Power reacts to Groover reaching toward his hooves.

04:53 - Mike Inman states that the TWH industry is important to the agriculture and farming in Tennessee.  There is no farming involved in owning TWHs.  Only showing.

08:13 - Winky Groover has vets check his horse after the USDA has disqualified the horse from the show.  He says the vets disagree with the USDA's findings.  Well of course the vets disagree--they are PAID by the industry to be there.  

11:26 - Dr. Tracy Turner used thermography at the Trainers' Show to help identify sored horses.  The Lickers continue to complain about the USDA not using scientific, objective inspections.  I don't know how much more scientific and objective thermography can get.  So you got what you wanted at the Trainers' Show, Lickers.  Sorry, Winky, I'm going to listen to the vet that used thermography and specializes in equine podiatry rather than your paid ones that didn't use anything but a subjective inspection.

After watching the thermography webinar and learning so much, I have to say I saw the lines on Winky's horse's pasterns that corresponded with the thermography.  I can see why the horse was disqualified--from what I've learned, he was clearly sored in the past but was "compliant" for the show.

But this was probably the best part of the video for me.  Mike Inman stated, "Essentially they [the HSUS] want the entire breed eliminated, again saying that will eiminate soring.  Well certainly, it will if you eliminate the horse.  There won't be any horse left."

Immediately, this quote was countered with Keith Dane's statement: "We [the HSUS] have programs to reward and encourage people who will use their Tennessee Walking Horses in humane, respectful ways and help promote the breed to the rest of the world.  So if we were against people having horses and using their horses, we wouldn't be offering rewards and recognition to people who are doing that humanely."

It continues to amaze me that this industry is so bent on perpetuating and rewarding animal abuse with the lengths they will go through.  But we're looking at a "tradition" that is truly normal to these people.  They've gotten away with it for so long, it's become ingrained in their culture.  Plus, these are trainers who wouldn't know how to train a horse without stacks, chains and "juice."  They have no idea how to start a horse from the ground up, how to use regular horse training methods to teach a horse to be ridden or prepare it for the show ring.  This was even commented on in the video: each horse is only ridden for about 20 minutes before they're hauled off to the show.  Twenty minutes of "training" is nothing compared to the hours upon hours most trainers put into their horses to compete, even those who use mechanical means.

Overall, a huge thank you to SBS Dateline for airing this.  The truth is out there, and it's becoming international!

The Sound Horse Conference 2014 has put up videos of their speakers on their YouTube feed.  I highly recommend hopping on over to YouTube to watch the videos of the presenters.  (Click for the link.)  We had some major players that told the truth about what's going on in the TWH industry.

My personal favorites are:

Dr. Michael Blackwell - Talks about what the pain of soring actually feels like.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's text of this presentation.

Carl Bledsoe - Former sore horse trainer who has chosen to leave soring behind.

Clay Harlin - Former supporter and owner of sored horses.  A preacher who talks about his time when he realized what was happening was wrong.

Dr. Tracy Turner - Thermography information and how soring happens, and debunking some of the Lickers' claims.

Of course, I recommend watching all the videos.  They are all extremely informative and helpful to end the practice of soring.

And speaking of Billy Go Boy, I really, really think this post is important: click here.  I love BGB's website because he keeps us going with such great information from the goings on within the industry, so much so that it keeps the fight going and fresh in everyone's minds.  I just find that this particular post really needs to be read and understood by everyone.  It shows how clearly disillusioned the TWH industry is.  It also reminds us that we are still gaining and we need to keep up the good fight!

Some thoughts:

I find it interesting that the only "spokesperson" for the TWH industry is Jerry Harris (Whatajayroe per BGB), of the What A Horse show from Tennessee.  He puts together a lot of videos with interviews of those within the industry.  However, it's clear that he twists words and facts to fit his own agenda, which to me is clearly to continue the sore horse racket so he can get paid.  Sadly, Harris doesn't realize that a change within the industry will stop it from hemorrhaging money and bring back the spectators and supporters of this great breed.

I also find it interesting that the industry keeps saying they want "scientific, objective inspections."  What's more scientific than x-rays and thermography?  Scientific studies continue to prove them wrong, yet they ignore them because it doesn't fit their agenda.  I have pointed out time and time again the quotes by Dr. Turner on various Facebook pages and forums, and the industry flat out WILL NOT watch the webinar or take the time to learn what science is really all about.  But we all know what's really going on: they just want to keep cognitive dissonance, to continue to believe their own lies, even in the wake of absolute proof.  If we say the sky is blue, they will call it black.  It doesn't matter to them.  Keeping their way of life is what truly matters.  So it's up to us to save the horse.

I'll keep you updated as I can, but please remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter @FortheTWH to keep as up to date as possible.  THANK YOU for continuing to support the welfare of the horse!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

VIDEO, NEWS and HOW YOU CAN HELP - Bills, Bills, Bills; Video From Discussion With Sound Horse Leaders; FTTWH Is Now On Twitter & More

Well, we all know about the PAST Act.  But has anyone else heard about the PAID Act?

Okay, it's not really called the PAID Act, but we'd like to think that's what it's called:

Thanks to the Voters Who Approve of HR 1518/s 1406 FB page
Be sure to let the Congresspersons on this page know that we need them to reconsider their support and help stop abuse, not support those who condone and participate in it.

Most of you probably already know that Marsha Blackburn, paid Congressperson of the TWH industry (she was given $70,000 in donations at the Celebration last year) put together her own version of changes to the HPA.  Here's a good explanation from Thehorse.com (click for article):

On Feb. 26, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced HR 4098, or the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2014. Blackburn's bill would create one horse industry organization (HIO) to manage shows where Tennessee Walking Horses would be exhibited. Under HR 4098, that HIO would be composed of equine veterinarians and industry experts who would develop and implement protocols, guidelines, testing policies, and inspection policies for the industry. Under the legislation, these industry experts would be drawn from states most impacted by the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. The bill also requires that testing used during horse inspections be done “though objective, science-based methods and protocols,” and preserves the oversight structure between the Walking Horse industry and the USDA. The bill does not forbid trainers from using metal chains, or stacks and pads used in performance packages.

While this sounds all happy and dandy, it actually puts the industry right where they want to be.  It would give them one HIO, which the industry has already established by putting together the IIS, or ISS, or some other such crap...honestly, I can't keep track of it anymore.  Somehow SHOW is not defunct, or PSHA is...???  Seriously, more alphabet soup.  At any rate, having one HIO that will be run by the abusers puts those foxes at the front door of the hen house to usher other foxes right on in.

Plus, in requiring "objective, science-based methods and protocols," this buys them time to find ways to escape detection.  Objective and science-based methods are already available and tests have already been done.  The Industry just ignores it because it scientifically shows that the horses are still being sored.  (See refusing to release swabbing results of 2012 Celebration; general ignorance of Dr. Turner's six-year thermography study and the results.)

A few days ago, Lamar Alexander -- who strangely, had co-sponsored both the PAID Act AND the PAST Act -- released a more detailed PAID Act that just adds on some useless penalties and expresses that only veterinarians should inspect horses.  Which, with the USDA, they already do.  Another good explanation of the bill from Thehorse.com (click for article):

On April 1 Alexander, along with senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), introduced legislation modifying HR 4098 bill to require the HIO created in Blackburn's bill contract with “equine veterinary experts”; those experts would advise the HIO on the methods of testing for banned substances and about the interpretation of test results. Alexander's bill also creates a 30-day suspension of horses found to be sore for the first time; penalties rise to 90-day suspensions for each subsequent offense. Finally, the bill would establishe a 4-year term limit for anyone who serves on the HIO board of directors.

So, we need your help yet again!  Please OPPOSE both of these bills on POPVOX.  Click here for HR 4098 and click here for S 2913.  REMEMBER: These two bills need to be OPPOSED!

Next, here's a great video from The Tennessean Editorial Board with supporters of the PAST Act talking about why it's necessary.  Former Senator Joe Tydings, who authored the original HPA, Donna Benefield, and Attorney Clant Seay provide wonderful insight.  Click here for Billy Go Boy's post about it.

We have also started an FTTWH Twitter account!  Our goal is to tweet about important information that our Congresspersons need to know about soring and supporting the PAST Act.  http://twitter.com/FortheTWH and @FortheTWH.  Please follow us and retweet so we can get the word out and get as much support as we can!

I also want to announce that I'm not going to be posting on this blog as much for awhile.  I have some other pressing work to take care of.  But the FTTWH Facebook page and FTTWH Twitter account will still run as it's an easy place to share and give out information.  I also HIGHLY recommend following Billy Go Boy's website for lots of great up-to-date information.

So, to keep up with who's supporting the PAST Act and who we still need to contact, go to Govtrack.us to keep an eye on those who are supporting it.

House Support: HR 1518

Senate Support: S 1406

Key things the Congresspersons will want to know:

1.  This will be at no cost to the taxpayer to pass and implement as the funds for the HPA are already established.
2.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association for Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the American Horse Council (AHC and largest lobbyists in DC for horse-related issues), and Veterinary Medical Associations across the U.S. are in full support of the PAST Act.  Click here for the list of endorsements from across the United States.
3.  The Industry has not been and never will correctly police themselves as HPA violations continue to pile up each year.  The time has come for the USDA to take over inspections and for the tools used to sore horses to be gone from the show ring.

THANK YOU to everyone for all your hard work!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NEWS - Jackie McConnell Confession Video

It sounds like there was some great information that came out of the Sound Horse Conference this year.  Hopefully FOSH will make the information available to the public for free.

In the meantime, here's the video of part of Jackie McConnell's confession that was required in his sentencing.  Good information, and I'm glad to see it.  It's interesting how the crowd reacts when he says he loved the horses at 4:00.  I just am sad to think that I truly don't trust him in his "apology."  I think he's just sorry he got caught...but that's just me.  Let's hope he truly is sorry for what he did to those magnificent creatures in ruining their lives.

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