Horse whisperer speaks up for sored horses

Horse soring "stacks" on the front hooves of a Tennessee Walking Horse at Big Lick competition. HSUS.

WVLT-TV reports that American Horse Trainer Monty Roberts has reaffirmed his commitment to end soring as Tennessee Walking Horse events prepare to resume.

Soring is the act of intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait.

Roberts, known as “the man who listens to horses,” has been teaching others a natural, non-violent method of training horses.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Larry Edwards, Hall of Fame Tennessee Walking Horse trainer, said. “That filly started out scared to death, trying to climb over the pen and when he finished with her, she was as gentle as she could be.”

Join Monty Roberts

On July 25, 2019, the United States Congress passed H.R.693 — The PAST Act — 333-96. The PAST Act abolishes the use of “stack and chains”, central to horse soring.

This victory marks the first time Congress has moved to strengthen laws against soring since the practice was first banned.

The Senate version of bill has yet to make it to the floor for a vote. Vivian Farrell of the Fund for Horses urges everyone to please join Monty Roberts in pressing for the passage of S.1007.

“Senators Mitch McConnell and Marsha Blackburn will be employing their full arsenal of tricks to defeat S.1007 and keep the “Big Lick” alive.

They can be defeated, but it will “take a nation”. We are that “nation”.

Visit the Fund for Horses website to learn what steps you need to take. Scroll down to S.1007 — The PAST Act.

Learn how to make phone calls that get results here.

Check status of S.1007 at Congress.gov. As of this writing, S.1007 has 51 cosponsors.

NOTE: The Tennessee Walking Horse’s 82nd Annual Celebration is scheduled for August 26th – September 5th, 2020.


Fund for Horses Logo

Updated with take action links May 26, 2020.

Let’s get rid of “Big Lick” animal cruelty

Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

Back in June, Clant Seay, the champion of sored horses, wrote a special for the Columbia Daily Herald entitled “Walking Horse competition is not sport.”

We quote liberally below:

The “Big Lick” is animal cruelty.

Native Tennessean, MTSU Horse Science professor and equine veterinarian Dr. John Haffner said, “The “Big Lick” is a pain induced gait — it is a business built on the suffering and pain of horses. The fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by ‘soring.’ When one soring technique becomes detectable, another one is developed. The Big Lick is a learned response to pain, and if horses have not been sored, they do not learn it.”

Legendary Tennessee sportswriter David Climer said: “For years, many of those involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry have yearned for its competitions to be taken seriously as a legitimate sport. Blood sport, yes. Legitimate sport, no. Soring is still in common practice, and everybody knows it. Soring is a means to an end — a high-hooved prance produced via pain and abuse. An irritant is applied here, an abrasive chemical rubbed there. The sadistic trainers even develop ways to keep the tortured horse from reacting when the hoof is inspected.”

Previously Daily Herald Editor James Bennett referred to Tennessee Walking Horse shows as a “sport,” blaming the problems of the “Big Lick” on a “few greedy competitors.”

It’s not “a few bad apples; rather the entire barrel of apples is rotten”.

The “Big Lick” is no better than dog fighting and cock fighting, Seay continued. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait.

The Tennessee Walking Horse breed was hijacked about 50 years ago. It’s now time to end the “Big Lick” forever and allow the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to regain its destiny.

We couldn’t agree more.

Mr. Seay and his group, “Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty” (CCBLAC) were instrumental in the major success of H.R.693 (the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019 or the PAST Act), passing the U.S. House with a vote of 333-96.

It’s companion bill, S.1007 currently has 49 cosponsors with bipartisan support just as the House bill did.

Achieving 51 would be a majority of the Senate but this may not be enough as the bill has powerful enemies, including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and sinister Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn.

So you can see why the bill requires as many cosponsors in the Senate as we can possibly win. McConnell and Blackburn will be employing their full arsenal of tricks to defeat S.1007 and keep the “Big Lick” alive.

How You Can Help

Do you know who your two Senators are? See if they have cosponsored S.1007. If they have you are good right now, but we’ll need you again later.

For the rest of us, please make a phone call to your U.S. Senators’ offices who have not yet cosponsored S.1007. You can call them via the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or you can contact their offices directly. Look up their office numbers here.

Ask to speak to the Aide working on S.1007. Identify yourself as a constituent. State the purpose of your call —  that you wish the Senator to cosponsor S.1007, the PAST Act. Give your reasons why. We like to write our reasons down before we pick up the phone so we don’t leave anything out. Be sure you have given the Aide your contact information before you hang up.

Alternatively, you can contact your Senators’ via the email form listed in the Senate’s online directory.

Need talking points? Get them from The Horse Fund’s stakeholder’s page at POPVOX.com. Sign up with POPVOX and starting interacting with your lawmakers immediately.

Remember that we may have powerful opponents on the Hill, but we have power too. We vote our elected officials in and out of office.

Quote of the Day

I'm Mayhem competing in the 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.

It’s not “a few bad apples”; rather the entire barrel of apples is rotten. The “Big Lick” is no better than dog fighting and cock fighting. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait. Horses do not have a voice, so we protest for them until “Big Lick” animal cruelty no longer exists.

— Clant Seay


TAKE ACTION

Contact your two U.S. Senators and ask them to please cosponsor S.1007 — The PAST Act.

Calls are superior. The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. The operator will put you through. Have the name of the Senator you are calling ready!

Not super comfortable about phoning? That’s okay. Our experience is that the following online legislative service is every bit as good. Perhaps even better!

Take action via PopVox. All you need to sign up is an email and password. Your message to your lawmakers is guaranteed seen and counted! Not sure what to say? Get talking points on S.1007 on The Horse Fund’s PopVox Stakeholders Page »

Don’t want to phone? You don’t need to. POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your lawmakers. Guaranteed! No kidding.

It’s great using our talking points but please add how you feel personally about this issue. That really gets lawmakers’ attention.

CLANT SEAY

Clant Seay is the founder and leader of  Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty and the main mover and shaker behind the success of the House version of this bill which passed 333-96. Learn more at Clant Seay’s website » See Clant Seay’s Facebook page here »

IMAGE
I’m Mayhem competing in the 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. Photographer unknown.

Urgent! Contact Congress on these horse bills

Capitol Dome Washington D.C.

Horse Slaughter & Horse Soring

Urgent! There are two federal bills pending in Washington D.C. requiring immediate attention. They are:

(1) The anti horse slaughter bills — H.R.961 and S.2006 (SAFE Act); and

(2) the Senate version of the anti horse soring bill — S.1007 (PAST Act). Note: the House has already passed this bill 333-96.

Our Goals

(1) A minimum of 290 cosponsors in the House for H.R.961 (SAFE Act).

290 is the magic number of cosponsors we need to take advantage of the Consensus Calendar rule which will allow a Bill to bypass Committee and go straight to the House floor for debate and vote.

It is critical that we do everything we can to get those 290 cosponsors on the horse slaughter bill, and quickly. We may never have a better chance than the one we have right now.

(2) 60+ cosponsors in the Senate for both S.2006 (SAFE Act) and S.1007 (PAST Act).

Will you help? Take action by phone, or online. It’s all laid out for you below including talking points.

Calling Congress

Generally speaking, the most effective way to contact Congress is by telephone.

The Capitol Hill Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. 

Not sure who to call? Find who represents you at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.

If you have no interest in phoning, scroll down to “Not Crazy About Phoning?” on how to take action online that’s fast and guaranteed.

The Bills + Talking Points

Why should our federal legislators cosponsor and vote for these bills? Here are some talking points to help you put together what you would like to say. When calling, remember to refer to bills by their alpha-numeric title.

Horse Slaughter — H.R.961 & S. 2006 (SAFE Act)

Tens of thousands of American horses are shipped each year to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for human consumption — a practice that 80% of American voters oppose.

American horses are not raised for food and routinely given a wide range of medications that are expressly prohibited for use in meat products.

Phenylbutazone (commonly known as “bute”) is a painkiller used legally by more than 85% of US horse owners to treat everyday soreness and inflammation, is banned completely in food-producing animals.

Even so, the problem of horses and burros being butchered for human consumption persists because “kill-buyers” can legally purchase horses at auctions or from unsuspecting owners in order to transport them to slaughterhouses across US borders.

Horse slaughter being a predatory business, various regulatory agency ID documentation systems for slaughterbound horses, including “passports” showing a horse’s origin and medical history, have all miserably failed.

The problem of tens of thousands of American horses being shipped to slaughter across our borders has persisted for far too long, despite overwhelming public opposition to this practice.

The negative food safety and animal welfare concerns associated with the horse slaughter industry are simply too great to continue to ignore.

The US has a moral obligation to outlaw the slaughter of horses for human consumption and prevent unsafe horse meat from entering the human food chain.

Horse Soring — S.1007 (PAST Act)

Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books banning this cruel practice for decades.

S.1007 will strengthen and improve current regulations by allowing the USDA to step in since self-policing has flat out not worked over the last 20 years.

It’s companion bill passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 333-96.

The PAST Act is an easy, bipartisan solution that every Member of Congress should be able to get behind.

The PAST Act is supported by the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and the veterinary medical associations from all 50 States.

Not Crazy About Phoning?

Don’t want to phone? You don’t need to. POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your lawmakers. Guaranteed! No kidding.

No worries. We’ve got you covered. Or should we say, POPVOX does. POPVOX connects advocacy groups and the public to Congress.

POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your lawmakers. Guaranteed. All you need is to sign up with an email and password, and you can immediately start weighing in on legislation important to you. No need to keep finding your legislators. You will have that information always at your fingertips with POPVOX.

What you have to say not only goes on record with your legislators but can also be viewed by others interested in the same bills you support or oppose. POPVOX helps you keep track of the bills you are for and against. You can follow your bills’ progress, and get updates.

We contacted POPVOX co-founder, Rachna Choudry, asking for her input too.

POPVOX co-founder Rachna Choudry.
POPVOX co-founder Rachna Choudry.

When advocates ask me about what’s the most effective way to communicate with your lawmakers, I say in-person is the best, and then a call or POPVOX. The key is sharing a personal story about why the issue is important to you or your community. It’s easy to do that in-person, of course, but sometimes it’s more challenging on the phone.

Unlike a petition site, POPVOX allows you to write a personal letter to your lawmaker about a specific issue — but enables you to share that letter with others to inspire further action. It’s a record of your engagement on the issue, and you can then link to it with your friends or on social media.

POPVOX is also integrated with the House Democrats’ intranet system, DemCom, so not only does your letter get delivered to the appropriate Congressional office, but it is also available for staffers to read in their intranet system. (We don’t have that integration with the House Republicans because they don’t have a similar system.)

How about that?

So don’t delay. Contact your Representative to cosponsor H.R.961, the SAFE Act, and both your Senators to cosponsor (1) S.2006, the SAFE Act plus (2) S.1007, the PAST Act. Get on your phone and call or weigh in on these urgent horse protection bills via POPVOX.

And yes you can call about both bills in a single call. You don’t need to make individual phone calls for them.

If you are looking for talking points, check out The Horse Fund’s Stakeholders’ page at https://www.popvox.com/stakeholders/horsefund.

Thank you everyone.

RESOURCES

•  Calling Congress. Learn how to make phone calls to your legislators that get results, The Horse Fund.

Find out who represents you at Gov.Track.US.

Go to POPVOX.COM and sign up for their unique constituency services.
Go to POPVOX.COM and sign up for their unique constituency services.