We congratulate the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) on their dedication to improving the welfare of Tennessee Walking Horses.
Tennessee Walking Horses are often the victims of soring (the deliberate injury to a horse’s legs to achieve an exaggerated “big lick” gait) and other illegal practices. Many members of the Tennessee Walking Horse community have been operating in violation of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 by continuing to practice soring techniques on their horses.
Midge Leitch, VMD, of Londonderry Equine Clinic in Pennsylvania, reporting to Erica Larson, News Editor of TheHorse.com, brings us up to date.
The AAEP Welfare Committee convened a task force to evaluate the problem in December, 2007, she noted, and by July, 2008 the group had drafted a white paper addressing the issues and recommending steps to bring an end to these inhumane practices.
As a direct result of the white paper, the USDA introduced thermography as a screening process for the detection of inflammation or irritation of the lower legs during pre-competition examinations. In 2009 the task force addressed the more recently utilized soring technique of pressure shoeing–a method that that makes a horse’s forefeet tender and results in the same exaggerated gait known as the “big lick.”
She added that the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in its efforts to enforce the HPA by inspecting horses at competitions for any signs of soring or pressure shoeing, has most recently implemented a protocol that sets minimum uniform penalties for soring, using foreign substances on horses or failing to pass equipment and shoeing inspections.
“It is gratifying to see that both the USDA and elements of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry have been receptive to the recommendations of this task force,” Leitch said.
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“Elements” is right. Horse soring is still all too common. However, with increased inspections, the development of new detection methods and enforcement, changes are being made in the right direction.
Pat Raia reporting for the Horse.com writes:
A Federal Grand Jury has indicted three Tennessee residents for alleged violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).
The indictment handed down earlier this month alleges that between 2002 and 2010, Spotted Saddle Horse trainer Barney Davis and two other individuals, Christen Altman and Jeffery Bradford, conspired to violate the HPA by soring horses and falsifying forms and other paperwork required to exhibit animals.
The indictment further alleges that Davis and Altman used others as nominee trainers to obtain trainers’ licenses and that the three falsified horse show entry forms and other documents claiming that Bradford and others were trainers of horses actually trained by Davis.
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