Tennessee Walking Horses competing with stacks.

Horse sorers gain 10 despicable friends in Congress

Cross-posted from The Tennessean
by ROY EXUM

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

The scurrilous crowd that is desperately trying to halt a national effort to eradicate horse abuse, or soring, of Tennessee Walking Horses has just gotten 10 despicable friends.

Shockingly, the 10 are actual members of Congress and seven are from Tennessee, the epicenter of a depraved and sadistic method of “training” the beautiful animals with caustic wraps and electric shocks in order to achieve an unnatural and sickening gait called the Big Lick.

Currently there is a very good bill pending in Congress called the PAST Act, which stands for “Prevent all Soring Tactics.” The bill, sponsored by Ed Whitfield (R-Ky), is quite popular; a majority 265 of 435 members of Congress are now listed as co-sponsors of H.R. 1518. A similar bill in the Senate (S. 1406), sponsored by Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), is also well on its way with 47 of 100 senators listed as co-sponsors.

But there is fierce opposition to the legislation in Tennessee. A small segment of the Walking Horse industry, called the “Big Lick” crowd, has generously funded the state’s representatives for years and as the PAST Act gained momentum, Republicans from Tennessee in both Congress and in the Senate refused to endorse the bill and some have vociferously spoken against it.

Instead, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) recently introduced an alternative bill, HR 4098, that would greatly reduce the measures being sought by Whitfield’s PAST Act. Blackburn’s bill would not only allow the grotesque pads, or stacks, which are believed to be used to hide “action devices,” but would also virtually eliminate inspection efforts called for in the PAST Act that a great many believe are now necessary to stop over a half-decade of torture and the scofflaw reaction to it.

Not surprisingly, the rest of Tennessee’s embarrassing Republicans in Congress have co-sponsored Blackburn’s laughable alternative. They are Diane Black (R-TN-6), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4), John “Jimmy” Duncan (R-TN-2), Stephen Fincher (R-TN-8), Charles “Chuck” Fleischmann (R-TN-3), and David “Phil” Roe (R-TN-1).* The three others who have endorsed Blackburn’s bill are Garland “Andy” Barr (R-KY-6), Nick Rahall (D-WV-3), and Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY-5).

Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director for the American Veterinary Medical Association, scoffed at Blackburn’s bill, saying, “In fact (it) will do nothing to protect gaited horses and stop the egregious practice of soring. This legislation is nothing more than an attempt to maintain the status quo in an industry riddled with abuse and will ensure that the broken system of seeing horses sored at an alarming rate does not have to answer for its crimes.”

So what should the Congress and the Senate do? “The PAST Act, which AVMA supports, takes many important and necessary steps to end soring,” Dr. Miller said. “It makes the act of soring illegal; overhauls the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement system; bans incentives to sore, and improves the penalty structure against violators. The bill is supported by the AVMA, AAEP, every state veterinary medical association in the United States, and many other groups and individuals.
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* Including Rep. Marsha Blackburn who introduced the bill, that makes 7 out of 9 US House Representatives from the State of Tennessee who endorse the heinous acts of cruelty associated with horse soring.

Read full article Roy Exum: Our Ruse in Congress, The Tennessean, 5 March 2014.

Featured image from MSN.com

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26 thoughts on “Horse sorers gain 10 despicable friends in Congress”

  1. So basically what I am hearing from the Animal Rights Terrorist ie. H$U$ is that they don’t think the USDA inspectors and VMO incapable of or incompetent in enforcing the APHIS guidelines. I would wholehearted have to disagree. As the TWH industry is the only industry that currently has to submit to such inspections and their is currently a greater than 97% compliance rate with these guidelines. I don’t see that any TWHs have succumbed, died, or permanent disabled during a performance, unlike many other equine disciplines. I applaud the efforts and successes of the USDA.

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  2. I would rather see the Walking Horse industry regulate itself. Doesnt anyone think our government is involved in too much regulation of it’s citizens? As a libertarian type, I think we, the people, need to handle these matters..not the legislatures..

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    1. That’s what it’s been doing since 1970 — regulating itself and this egregious cruelty just goes on and on and on. . . they don’t want to stop; have no intention of stopping.

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    2. That would be fine if the Walking Horse Industry did in fact regulate itself instead of choosing to look the other way rather than ruffle feathers within their ranks. No one wants to say that Uncle Billy or Betty is soring horses to win so they just pretend it isn’t happening. It is much like Pit Bull or Cock Fighting- should we let those “sports” regulate themselves as well?

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    3. Donna …And how do you per pose we do that ? If you have an answer , since this has been going on since the early 70’s maybe longer I would love to hear you libertarian response????

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  3. The only way to get rid of these politicians is to vote them out. What I would like to do is against the law. Now that the voters know what they are its up to the honest horse people in Tennessee dump them at the polls.

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  4. Something like this would have been outlawed in Germany decades ago, no ifs or buts about it! Unreal that it takes this much effort here in the US to get this done.

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  5. I have expressed many times on this site my experience with the Walking Horse Industry and have be very vocal about what takes place…These are people who are less than human ,I have seen things as a young girl that NO one should ever see…It’s like the nightline video at every barn you go to…Lots and lots of money is given to these trainers to torture and abuse these animals to have them say they have the best horses at there barn….It’s all about money!!!!..They don’t care about the animals….I would testify about the cruel acts I use to see back then no one would listen at all …I was a teenager having a beautiful Walking Horse that I didn’t allow them to sore and at times they would do it anyway….I witnessed so may horrible things and it is still taking place…A trainer by the name of Scottie Bryant who has a barn in KY. as of a couple of years ago was still soring every horse in his barn…I walked in with a Veterinarian that was looking to buy a horse for field trails and all of the horse there were wrapped in saran wrap and had Hispanics dragging them to walk …One horse was a 2 yr. old and looked like please help me!!! The torture the Pain these low life people inflict on helpless beautiful horses needs to be stopped and I will do whatever I can to help.

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  6. It is despicable that Republicans, as one of the major political parties representing the people of the United States have consistently chosen to support the abuse or animals. It is always hard to judge people by association but if the SAFE Act does not pass and Ag Gag bills continue to be introduced, and now this – it is going to be pretty obvious which party is fighting change. I know in my own state (CA), the majority of non-sponsors of the SAFE Act are Repubs, one said he doesn’t care what the people voted (banning horse slaughter), he believes it is humane. If America is to be a compassionate country, I think it is becoming clear that Republicans have to go. Not necessarily by voting Democrat (they have a whole other set of ethical questions to answer) but when the people speak – politicians are supposed to jump. I haven’t seen that happen for a while.

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    1. One party wants the government to solve all the problems, the other wants the people to solve them…which do you prefer
      I am sick of the gov’t telling me what to do. I am involved with animal cruelty organizations and have had more success controlling and stopping the abuser than any gov;t agency has…Just look at the BLM…the gov’t is not the answer.

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      1. Well people have a voice; the horses don’t unless we give them one. And the BLM, that’s called gross corruption. But people sit on social media and click this, and click that. They don’t take part any longer when they are called to action and then wonder why nothing happens. I look at other countries’ citizens protesting and wonder what has happened to Americans. It takes numbers; it takes everyone. I have been at this for nearly 30+ years and not seen it as bad as this.

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      2. what success have you had Donna in stopping horse soring? Because as far as I can see it sure hasn’t been eradicated.

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  7. So why don’t these Reps. try using applications of caustic substances to their feet and ankles, then wrap them in plastic to cook nice and good..but don’t stop there..add some nice ankle chains..ya know..so the chains will move about on that nicely cooked skin, as they rack around in a pair of stiletto heels that are a size or two smaller than their feet..If They are going to block regulations to end soring, then they are condoning the practice..they should experience the discomfort of that which they condone. These Horses Have A Beautiful Natural Gait and Should be Appreciated and Shown in A Natural State..not with all these horrid methods that force a horse to respond in pain and discomfort .. the freakish and completely artificial movement and gait of “The Big Lick”

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  8. Another reason to voice your opposition to these politicians by voting them out of office. They think by appealing to those that think the government isn’t going to tell me what I can and can’t do will work for them. Cruelty to animals isn’t a political ideal. It is just cruelty.

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    1. I hope all those Tennesseans who say they are against horse soring will do just that Tim and not forget about it when they go the polls. The way it stands they will have to unseat 7 our of the 9 representing the State in Washington. That’s intense. Getting Blackburn out would be a great start.

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