Roy Exum: Blackburn draws fury for supporting horse soring

Cross-posted from The Tennessean


ROY EXUM. Source image.
ROY EXUM. Source image.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican member of Congress from Tennessee, became the subject of scathing fury over the weekend after a Huffington Post political columnist vilified the 61-year-old woman in a story entitled, “Why This Congresswoman Opposes Effort To End Horrifying Horse Abuse.”

The short answer is that Rep. Blackburn has become deeply entwined with the scurrilous “Big Lick” segment of the horse industry and is believed by some to be using her power on Capitol Hill to benefit those who continue to cruelly abuse and sore horses.

“It is a shame that those horses can’t contribute part of their purses to bribing Blackburn. The bill would have a better chance,” commented a HuffPo reader.

The story, written by national columnist Christina Wilkie, told specifically how the Congresswoman was given a $100-per-person reception by the questionable Performance Horse Show Association in August 2013 and received a $70,000 donation during its National Celebration in Shelbyville three months ago.

Since then she has railed against House Bill 1518 and has urged her fellow lawmakers to defeat it.

The HuffPost story also revealed the Performance Horse Show Association president at the time – Terry Dotson – had two horses disqualified at the Celebration after each failed inspections and while he resigned just two days later, “Cruella de Blackburn” –- as she was called on Sunday by one of well over 2,500 detractors on the website — came out this week in public defiance of the sweeping reform in the embattled Walking Horse industry.

US Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. Photo:
US Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. Photo:

Ironically, Blackburn is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in Washington and this week, when the same committee held hearings on the proposed Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, Blackburn strutted her disdain for all to see and has worked all fall to quell HB 1518, which was sponsored this spring by state Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis).

Blackburn’s stance is that “this legislation brings excessive regulatory burdens on the walking horse industry and potentially eliminates the entire industry and thus the breed,” but horsemen and women all over the world know better. Horse shows elsewhere thrive and there is no soring. But in Tennessee there is word that more criminal charges may be forthcoming and the PAST Act would make soring a federal felony instead of a misdemeanor.

As of yesterday, a whopping 233 members of Congress have signed to co-sponsor the popular bill, 160 Democrats and 73 Republicans, but – curiously — the entire Republican delegation from Tennessee, seven in Congress as well as Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker, are believed to be against the animal protection measures due to their ties with the “Big Lick” organization. (Alexander’s state finance chairman is, in fact, Steven B. Smith, a director of the Walking Horse Breed Registry.)

It is believed all of Tennessee’s representatives will seek reelection in 2014.

:: Read full article >>

Note: There is a photo at Exum’s article (link above) captioned “snapped seconds before this horse’s hoof literally came off.”

7 thoughts on “Roy Exum: Blackburn draws fury for supporting horse soring”

  1. Mr. Exum,
    As someone who owns a walking horse my greater concern is that a horse slaughter plant is about to open in middle Tn. Trail South Meats is located in middle Tn. How many walking horses ate young to end up in this plant?
    The CEO is Stan Dobson an appaloosa breeder.Wonder what Tn politicians are investors?


  2. Wow. When I lived in Tennessee, I worked hard to get Republicans elected to both the US House and the Senate. Marsha Blackburn should be ashamed for taking blood money from those who sore Tennessee Waling Horses and the organizations which engage in this cruel practice!


  3. Frank, you said what I was going to say, Thank you. Toss all of the politicians out on their A’s. Its to bad there was no place to leave a comment but with all of the crooks being up for reelection next year It will be interesting to see which ones manage to lie well enough to get reelected. Hopefully none of them. But what is going on in this state is exactly what has happened in the US Senate with none of them being interested in stopping horse slaughter. The crooks in the US Senate are given thousands of dollars not to make any effort to pass any anti-horse slaughter bills. This is why all of the bills have died on the vine without ever being called up.


  4. It looks like the “fox” got exposed in the hen house. And I thought women had feelings toward animals but I guess I was wrong with this one. Money must be #1 with her.


  5. Solution is obvious. The voters in Tennessee should vote all their appointed Senators and Congress people out of office in the upcoming election. The citizens of Tennessee need to know how the people they put in office are spending their tax dollars and the abuse they are supporting to all animals. These same polititians support gas chambers in animal shelters as well and there are petitions circulating now as well as rallys against gas chambers and animal cruelty now in Tennessee, Geogia and North Carolina. The people do have a voice and I would recommend the people of Tennessee use theirs.


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