Posted October 9, 2000

Copyright 2000

Walking Horse Report has obtained a copy of a letter that was sent to Dr. Ron DeHaven, USDA deputy administrator for animal care, by Craig Evans. Evans is on the board of directors for the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC). He has acted as primary negotiator with the USDA regarding operating plans for inspection of horses at shows and sales for the past several years.

A meeting was held on July 18 among the USDA and representatives from horse industry organizations. All parties agreed that an operating plan need to be in place for the coming season before January 1, 2001, in order to avoid the negative impacts resulting from the fact that a plan was not signed by all HIOs until Aug. 1, 2000. However, no meetings have been held to discuss an operating plan for the coming year and no proposal has been offered by the USDA.

In an effort to move things forward expeditiously, Evans has drafted a proposed plan that the NHSC would like to see take effect for the coming season and be enforced for the next five years. The plan is largely the same as the 1999 operating plan as it was written, interpreted and implemented in '99, with minor revisions.

Evans letter follows.

October 4, 2000

W. Ron DeHaven, D.V.M.
Deputy Administrator, Animal Care

Dear Dr. DeHaven:
At our July 2000 USDA-HIO meeting with Secretary Michael Dunn, Dr. Craig Reed and other USDA representatives, an aggressive schedule for negotiating a 2001 multi-year operating plan for the Tennessee Walking Horse industry was suggested. All parties agreed that it was impearative to have a plan fully negotiated and executed long before January 1, 2001, in order to preclude a repeat of 2000 when the plan was not executed until August 1st. At our September 25th meetings, the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) Board of Directors and the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association's (TWHBEA) Executive Committee expressed to me, as I am a member of both bodies, their concerns over the perceived pausity of effort on our part.

As a result of the seemingly overwhelming number of issues that you are directly responsible for, and the frenzied schedule that only you, through your dedication and diligence, are somehow able to maintain, it is now October 3rd and we have not been able to schedule a planning or negotiating meeting. Thus, even though I have great faith in your ability to resolve issues expeditiously, I too have become quite concerned about the timing. It is critical to the success of the Walking and Racking Horse industries that any USDA-industry issues are resolved and a plan adopted in sufficient time for owners, trainers and exhibitors to prepare for the 2001 show season which commences in January.

Consequently, to be of aid to the USDA and to continue in its effort of cooperation, the NHSC, on behalf of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association, the Walking Horse Owners' Association, the Walking Horse Trainers' Association, and the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America, proposes that the 1999 Operating Plan, as written, interpreted, and implemented in 1999, and in part briefly in 2000, be adopted as the 2001-5 Operating Plan. (The NHSC has previously provided you with a copy of your written statements of interpretations and implementation policies as embodied in letters in response to my letters, as well as in other documents, both in 1999 and 2000, those together with several verbal pronouncements are those to which we now refer.)

However, if it is deemed more appropriate, the NHSC would certainly support including those interpretations and implementation policies in the body of the 2001-5 Operating Plan to avoid any future potential confusion or disagreement. Because of the time constraints, and in my continuing effort to aid and cooperate with USDA on behalf of the Walking and Racking Horse industries, I have taken the liberty of inserting those interpretations and implementing policies into the 1999 Operating Plan, designated it the 2001-5 Operating Plan, and enclosed it herewith. The insertions are constituted by your written responses to my letters, USDA's written policies, USDA's change in personnel titles, and several verbal agreements, each directed to the 1999 and 2000 use of the Operating Plan. I am sure that I made a few grammatical changes and attempted to render the Plan easier to read and comprehend, but I do not believe that the changes were material. Two additional items were included, however, both of which have been discussed, but not yet completely agreed upon: (i) a follow the horse - follow the trainer scar rule penalty procedure; and (ii) a fine and correction allowance for certain technical violations. The NHSC would like for both to be included in the plan, but would not slow or hinder the process for either if the USDA is prepared to accept the 2001-5 Operating Plan otherwise.

In conclusion, the NHSC is prepared to execute a multi-year 2001-5 Operating Plan that is as the 1999 Operating Plan was written, interpreted, and implemented in 1999, and in part briefly in 2000; or a multi-year 2001-5 Operating Plan that is as the 1999 Operating Plan was written with the interpretations and implementation policies included in the body of the plan, and hopefully the additional two (2) points.

R. Craig Evans