Skip to content

Chairman Rogers Disappointed In APHIS

Agency Continues to Ignore Directives In Appropriations Bill

By Jeffrey Howard

Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, recently wrote a letter to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Administrator Kevin Shea expressing his disappointment in APHIS’ lack of constructive communication with the industry.  The letter pointed out that the last five appropriations bill enacted by Congress contained directives for APHIS to meaningfully engage with the industry.

As Rogers’ letter points out, APHIS has not abided by the directives in good faith and in fact has been accused of using intimidation policies and actions that have created a “completely adversarial regulator-regulated environment”.  Chairman Rogers’ letter requested that APHIS produce documented evidence of all physical threats in the last five years against APHIS personnel, provide the number of APHIS personnel that attended each Tennessee Walking Horse event in 2015 and thus far in 2016, including armed or unarmed security and provide the total amount APHIS obligated during fiscal year 2015 on security for APHIS personnel attending Tennessee Walking Horse events.

In addition, Chairman Rogers asked Shea to provide the total amount APHIS obligated in fiscal year 2015 and thus far in 2016 for all contractors and non-government entities or personnel providing services for APHIS that are a part of Tennessee Walking Horse events.

The letter also speaks to the current proposed rule by APHIS that would enact the PAST Act or portions of it through rulemaking.  Rogers points out that the proposed rule was developed without any interaction or engagement with the industry, despite “clear direction from Congress to the contrary.”  In conclusion, Rogers asked Shea to certify to him that APHIS has not consulted with or engaged with any non-governmental entity in any aspect of developing, drafting or commenting on the proposed rule prior to its publication in the Federal Register.

During the Ethics Investigation into Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, documents released confirmed that the staff of Whitfield, along with the HSUS wrote the PAST Act.  The documents released included emails from Sara Amundson with the HSUS identifying Rachel Cezar, Horse Protection Coordinator with USDA-APHIS, as the HSUS “insider contact” at the USDA.

Rogers asked Shea to reply to him with the information by June 15, 2016.

More Stories

  • Cantrell: We do ‘it’ because we believe in our horse

    In celebrating our 50th Walking Horse Trainers Association Anniversary, this is a salute to all the dedicated professional trainers that have passed through these “gates” . . . and the ones yet to come... Read More
  • Trainers revamp Horse of the Year awards

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) will revamp the Horse of the Year awards program in 2018. Previously, the Horse of the Year was determined by a vote of the licensed members of the WHTA. The program has seen a decline in interest from voting members in recent years and the board of directors decided a change was needed. Read More
  • Latest Issue March 19 18

    Read More
  • Throwback Thursday

    Check out this week's Throwback on ReporTV featuring Oh My Darlin' and Counti Green in the Youth 11 & Under class from the 2012 Tunica Fall Classic... Read More
  • SHOW to measure both ponies and 15.2 & Under horses

    The SHOW HIO will begin to measure horses in post-show inspections for compliance with class requirements in pony and 15.2 & under divisions. In previous years, show management could require horses to measure pre-show, however no post-show measurements were completed. Read More
  • Objective post show violations to carry increased penalty

    The SHOW HIO will retain its policy of reporting to show management its findings for disqualification on pre-show violations with no further penalty issued by SHOW. However, on clear, objective post-show violations that result in notices of disqualification, SHOW will issue a two-week suspension to the person responsible for the violation. Read More
  • Celebration adds Amateur Four & Under Park Performance

    The 80th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will add a world championship class for the Amateur Four & Under Park Performance division. Previously, the Celebration had an amateur park performance division but did not designate the four and under in the amateur division Read More
  • Winding Creek Stable to host clinic

    Winding Creek Stables and Terry Dotson will host an open clinic on April 4 in Kingston, Tennessee, at their facility. Dotson, chairman of the Performance Show Horse Association initiated the clinic as part of an ongoing effort to help inform all segments of the industry... Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Jose's Centerfold

    On Thursday, March 15, Jose’s Centerfold was humanely laid to rest following complications from colic... Read More
  • Obituary - Roger Nichols

    Mr. Roger Lewis Nichols, 82, of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, passed away Tuesday, March 13 on his 63rd wedding anniversary at the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson. He was born in Surry County on Aug. 25, 1935 to the late Roger Nathan and Nell Gentry Nichols... Read More