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Celebration Plans Receive Support From USDA



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® has received high marks regarding the overall plan designed to protect the animals at the world championship show, the integrity of the event, and the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

The Celebration consulted with virtually every major group within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and outside organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) before putting together the plan. The five major areas of emphasis of the plan are Drug Screening, Improper Shoeing, Event Integrity, Inspection Security, and HPA Enforcement.

“Since September 3rd of last year, we’ve probably had 200 different meetings with one group or another,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “While parts of it will be a little different from what some exhibitors are used to, we’re very proud of many positive comments we received from inside and outside of the industry.”

Some of the strongest support for The Celebration® and its commitment to putting clean, sound, and exciting show horses in the ring has been the United States Department of Agriculture.

“USDA supports the actions initiated by The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration to ensure compliance with the Horse Protection Act, said Dr. Chester A. Gipson, USDA Deputy Administrator. “Using a drug screening program to detect the use of prohibited substances, placing emphasis on improper shoeing, conducting random inspections of the barn area and ensuring enforcement of the Tennessee Anti-Soring ordinance, are all measures that will protect the horses, as well as the integrity of the show.”

Gipson went on to explain that the initiatives put forth by The Celebration® this year could be the model other shows work from in the future.

“We commend the Celebration’s show management for their consultative and collaborative approach and commitment to having sound, clean horses in the show ring. We hope that the standard set at this year’s Celebration will be adopted by other show managers.”

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