Horse sorers drop lawsuit against Blount County animal welfare group

Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.
Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE (Horse Soring) — You can’t make this stuff up. Who could believe it?

The Daily Times reports:

Caslon Quote Left Black Several horse owners suing a nonprofit Blount County animal welfare group over the seizure of their horses from Larry Wheelon Stables in 2013 have decided to drop their lawsuit.

Maryville attorney Rob White filed the $2.1 million lawsuit against the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) on April 25, 2014 — exactly a year after the organization seized 19 horses from a Maryville barn as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal soring practices.

The horses were returned to their owners in late 2013 after a Blount County judge threw out the original case against Wheelon and several stable workers. They were later indicted by a Blount County grand jury, but the cases were dismissed yet again.

Larry Joe Wheelon. Photo: The Daily Times.
Larry Joe Wheelon. Photo: The Daily Times.

One was thrown out due to insufficient evidence, one because the defendant died in a car crash and the two remaining cases — including the case against Wheelon — were tossed by a Blount County judge who found constitutional rights violations in the investigation.

White said his clients moved to dismiss the BCSPCA lawsuit without prejudice, meaning they have the option to refile the litigation within a year’s time.

“We’re basically wanting to back off right now and assess where we’re at and decide what action we want to take, if any,” White told The Daily Times on Wednesday.

One of the seven horse owners, Kenneth Smith, dropped his case against the BCSPCA in December. White filed a notice of voluntary dismissal July 6 on behalf of the six remaining plaintiffs, Rebecca and William Andrews, Rodney Koger, Bobbie Jo Koger, Dwight Brooks and Joe Barnes.

Wheelon and Rodney Koger were arrested earlier this year in Fentress County on numerous animal cruelty charges. The two were indicted by a Fentress County grand jury in June on 26 counts each of animal cruelty.

Read more »

This is horse soring.

Related Reading

Go here for more on Larry Wheelon »

Horse Soring

Soring is the use of chemicals, pressure or devices to cause pain to the front feet and legs of horses when they touch the ground. This results in the horses picking up their front feet higher and faster than they would do naturally. It is an abusive and prohibited practice, illegal in the U.S. under the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA). It is closely associated with a unique high-stepping action of the front legs called “big lick” movement in show ring Tennessee Walking Horses.

Under normal circumstances, “big lick” action is normally created by horseshoes that have added pads and weight (sometimes called “stacks”), usually combined with additional weighted chains or rollers placed around the pasterns to create dramatic, high-stepping flashy action of the horse’s front legs, desired in the horse show ring.

Both criminal and civil penalties can be assessed against individuals who engage in soring.

Banana Chai Smoothie Parfait recipe by I Love Vegan

Banana Chai Smoothie Parfait by Brittany at I Love Vegan. Click image to go there now!
Banana Chai Smoothie Parfait by Brittany at I Love Vegan. Click image to go there now!

ADVOCATE FROM YOUR PLATE — It is so hot. We are so busy, talking, talking … talking! And we haven’t had a vegan recipe here for ages. Boy do we need something cool and refreshing and tasty. And here it is. How about you?

Banana Chai Smoothie Parfait

A deliciously frosty, naturally sweetened, and lightly spiced smoothie parfait topped with crunchy granola, fresh blueberries, chopped apricots, and maple syrup. Serves 2.
Author: Brittany at ilovevegan.com
Cuisine: Vegan

INGREDIENTS

Banana Chai Smoothie Parfait
5 frozen bananas
1 cup chai tea ice cubes (directions in notes)
2 tbsp coconut cream or coconut yogurt
1 tbsp almond butter
6 pitted dates
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch dried ginger

Toppings
granola
coconut yogurt
fresh blueberries
chopped apricots
maple syrup (Pure Infused’s Lavender Chai is a great way to enhance the chai flavour!)

Go here for instructions and more delicious images »

To recess or not to recess; to call or not to call

US Capitol Dome and Flag.
US Capitol Dome and Flag. Click to donate to The Horse Fund. Thank you.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — August is typically a time when Congress adjourns for the month and lawmakers return to their constituencies — or in other words, go home.

This is not a typical Congress and August it seems will not be a typical month. Senators are probably the least likely to get out of town even though they seem hard to find except for Sen. Mitch McConnell who is probably afraid to go home.

It may not seem like a good to call. Anytime is a good time!

Offices continue to be staffed regardless of our lawmakers’ whereabouts, so please continue to call. If you cannot connect with anyone at your lawmakers’ D.C. offices, then please call them at their local office nearest you.

Look up your two U.S. Senators here »

Look up your U.S. Representatives here (need your zip +4 code) »

Please continue calling the U.S. House to end horse slaughter »

Join the Horse on the Hill™ Gang »

In the meantime, D.C. appears to be melting down quicker than the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.  And not from the heat outside.

The Washington Post reports:

Talks between the White House and the Senate’s top Republican and Democrat broke up Tuesday with no progress on raising the country’s debt ceiling, an impasse that threatens a financial crisis if left unresolved.

The Senate and House have 12 joint working days before Sept. 29, when the Treasury Department says it would no longer be able to pay all of the government’s bills unless Congress acts. A default would likely set off a major disruption to the world financial system, with a stock market crash and surging interest rates that could send the economy into a recession.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged Congress for months to raise the debt limit, but the White House has lacked a unified message and run into resistance on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans are at odds on key tax and spending issues.

Diversionary Tactic?

This is possibly a diversionary tactic so we worry while certain among them go about their dirty work unnoticed.

Stay Focused

Do not let this allow you to take your eye off the ball. Keep the pressure on legislators. Don’t let them get away with a darn thing.

Calling all Americans to call their lawmakers in Washington to take a strong stand on behalf of American horses. Photographer unknown.
Calling all Americans to call their lawmakers in Washington to take a strong stand on behalf of American horses. Photographer unknown.

Online Contact

We are not unsympathetic and realize there are some of you who do not feel comfortable making phone calls.

This is a good time to use your lawmakers online contact form. Use the “Look up …” links above to find them. Tip: Write up what you want to say. Review it until you are comfortable. Copy and paste!

Our Legislative Wish List

Here are a few items on our Legislative Wish List for horses. We feel they are all reasonable and doable. What do you want? Add yours in comments.

  1. We want horse slaughter banned.
  2. We want the export of horses for slaughter banned.
  3. We want federally protected wild horses and burros left on public lands to live out their lives at liberty, unharassed by the federal government, as the original law intended.
  4. We want a humane plan developed and implemented to relocate wild horses and burros currently stockpiled  by the federal government and its contractors back to their original lands, or lands similar to the ones they were taken from.
  5. We want our wild horses and burros made safe from any form of human use or interference.
  6. We want the Horse Protection Act strengthened so there is not a single loophole wherein serial animal abusers can get away with the obnoxious and grossly cruel practice of horse soring.
  7. We want a federally appointed Commissioner of Horse Racing to govern what has become a massively abusive and murderous industry rife with drugging and cheating who is also empowered to work with federal authorities to send its culprits to jail for race fixing among other egregious crimes.

What would you like to see? Join us in comments.

Take Action in Your State

Action at the State level concerning slaughter and live export for slaughter is also critical in case we have any sort of failure at the Federal level.

Learn how here »

Thank you everyone. You are massively important to the success of these campaigns and we appreciate your efforts.

U.S. Agribusiness lobbying hard for return of horse slaughter

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.
Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell. Click image to join the Horse on the Hill™ Gang.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Meat peddlers in the U.S. are happy. Why? In a word. China.

While trying to put together some statistics on U.S. meat production and consumption during Meat Out for Mustangs, a meat man made this remark to Tuesday’s Horse, “The meat industry here [U.S.] could care less if the entire English speaking world goes vegan. The demand in China is big and getting bigger. We could never hope to fill it all but we’re damn sure going to try”.

What is China demanding now more than ever? Equine meat.

Horse Meat Peddlers Busy

While lobbying on the Hill, a U.S. Senator told us that it is hard to make an argument against the United States refusing to compete in the world wide market demand for horse meat. Add to horse meat the strong demand in China for the meat of donkeys and the entire equine meat demand is skyrocketing. It is worth millions if not billions of dollars.

The U.S. Agribusiness wants as much of the equine meat market as it can possibly get. Right now its plan is to eliminate competition in N. America is simply this: kill off one; work with the other.

Canada

The horse meat business in Canada relies heavily on U.S. horses coming across its border to do a brisk business — roughly 60% of all horses slaughtered. A big return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil could for all intents and purposes put an end to horse slaughter in Canada.

Indications are that it would be a similar story with Mexico but with a twist.

Mexico

The U.S. Agribusiness lobby envisions working with Mexican horse slaughter plants, not competing with them.

The EU currently have no horse slaughter plants operating under its jurisdiction in Mexico. This is perfect for what U.S. Agribusiness have in mind.

We were told by a lobbyist for U.S. Agribusiness that they are working on a deal with Mexico to do necessary routine inspections of their horse meat. Mexico would send their horse meat to the U.S. The USDA would “inspect” it (meaning they would test random samples), put their seal on it and send it on its way — for a fee. Horse meat sanctioned by the USDA would be worth millions to both countries. We are told their negotiations are firmly underway.

The proposed location in the U.S. for proposed horse meat inspections and export? Right across the border in Texas. How convenient.

This is why there is movement afoot right now in Texas to open not one but two horse slaughter plants, in a State with a long history of killing horses for their meat and shipping it. Oklahoma is itching to get in the game too we are told and they have thousands of wild horses there to dispose of if the Department of Interior gets what it wants in the 2018 Appropriations Bill.

What must happen for the above to be accomplished? By restoring federal funding to the USDA for horse meat inspections necessary for its export, or in other words NOT returning the defunding provision to next year’s federal budget. Horse advocates want that defunding provision to continue.

Current Status

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted not to return the USDA horse meat inspection defunding provision to next year’s spending bill. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted to keep it. Next up, the full House and full Senate will vote on it.

Take Action

You can see how important continuing the defunding provision for horse meat inspections in next year’s federal budget bill is and how each one of you must keep calling your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators, in particular the U.S. House right now as it is divided almost equally.

Horse meat peddlers are licking their chops. Your call could turn the tide in favor of the horses!

Take action by calling your U.S. Representative.

We have this information because we have boots on the ground in Washington thanks to our stellar lobbyists supported by the Horse on the Hill™ Gang. Join today!

Keep a strong voice for our horses where lawmakers are involved. Make a donation. Matching gift reinstated and active for next 24 hours!

The current budget bill that includes the USDA horse meat inspection defunding provision ends September 30, 2017.

Thank you!