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Celebration Barn Inspections: The Rest of the Story



The following is a statement issued by Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows.

We (the Celebration and show management) are mandated under federal law (see below) to allow access to all areas of our show grounds. We were aware on Aug. 4, 2008, at our meeting in Washington D.C. with Dr. Chester Gipson and Dr. Rachel Cezar that the USDA would have more presence in the barn and trailer parking/unloading areas of the Celebration. We told the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Board of Directors and representatives of the National Horse Show Commission about this in a meeting on Aug. 14, 2008.

We did not initiate this inspection process but as per the law had to allow this extension of the inspection process. We knew about it, communicated it and it happened.
 
Below is a copy of the law referenced in Dr. Meadows above statement:

TITLE 9--ANIMALS AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS
 
CHAPTER I--ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
 
PART 11_HORSE PROTECTION REGULATIONS--Table of Contents
 
Sec. 11.5 Access to premises and records.

Requirements regarding access to premises for inspection of horses
and records are as follows:

[[Page 131]]

(a) Management. (1) The management of any horse show, horse
exhibition, or horse sale or auction shall, without fee, charge,
assessment, or other compensation, provide APHIS representatives with
unlimited access to the grandstands, sale ring, barns, stables, grounds,
offices, and all other areas of any horse show, horse exhibition, or
horse sale or auction, including any adjacent areas under their
direction, control, or supervision for the purpose of inspecting any
horses, or any records required to be kept by regulation or otherwise
maintained.
(2) The management of any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse
sale or auction shall, without fee, charge, assessment, or other
compensation, provide APHIS representatives with an adequate, safe, and
accessible area for the visual inspection and observation of horses
while such horses are competitively or otherwise performing at any horse
show or horse exhibition, or while such horses are being sold or
auctioned or offered for sale or auction at any horse sale or horse
auction.
(b) Exhibitors. (1) Each horse owner, exhibitor, or other person
having custody of or responsibility for any horse at any horse show,
horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction shall, without fee, charge,
assessment, or other compensation, admit any APHIS representative or
Designated Qualified Person appointed by management, to all areas of
barns, compounds, horse vans, horse trailers, stables, stalls, paddocks,
or other show, exhibition, or sale or auction grounds or related areas
at any horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction, for the
purpose of inspecting any such horse at any and all reasonable times.
(2) Each owner, trainer, exhibitor, or other person having custody
of or responsibility for, any horse at any horse show, horse exhibition,
or horse sale or auction shall promptly present his horse for inspection
upon notification, orally or in writing, by any APHIS representative or
Designated Qualified Person appointed by management, that said horse has
been selected for examination for the purpose of determining whether
such horse is in compliance with the Act and regulations.

[44 FR 25179, Apr. 27, 1979, as amended at 56 FR 13750, Apr. 4, 1991]

The Walking Horse Report asked Dr. Meadows questions regarding the enhanced inspection processes used at the Celebration:

WHR – What happened in regards to the stopping of the trailers as they entered the show grounds?

DM – Upon learning of the unloading of a trailer at the entrance to the show grounds, I immediately called Dr. Rachel Cezar and expressed my concerns to her and it was stopped immediately.

WHR – Did you support the barn inspection activity?

DM – Obviously by the aforementioned federal law, I made our grounds available to them (USDA). My biggest concern that I shared with USDA officials was their lack of respect for the enormous pressure our trainers are under trying to get their horses through inspection and show. The Celebration is such a significant event to the trainers that I didn’t want the government affecting their livelihood right at show time. I support all of the trainers that are trying to do a great job presenting a great horse.

WHR – Did you feel the trainers tried to do this at this year’s Celebration?

DM – Yes. It is important for the trainers to know that I support them 100 percent, but I do not support those things that are illegal under the law. Remember the USDA officials and VMOs are not our guests, they are government officials charged with enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.



 

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