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Cortner Statement on S-1406



On behalf of the Performance Show Horse Association and the 20,000 men and women who make up the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, I want say how extremely disappointed we were with the Senate Commerce Committee’s passage of S. 1406 – the Ayotte – Humane Society Anti-Walking Horse legislation.

This bill, passed with no discussion or debate, will have a devastating impact on so many communities across the country and I think it is telling that the only Senators supporting this legislation are ones who aren’t affected, who won’t have to look constituents in the eye and tell them they voted to destroy their livelihoods.

Our industry is working hard to institute real reforms and eliminate those who would abuse our horses and give our industry a bad name. We want to thank Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul and Senator Johnny Isakson for working with our industry, with veterinarians and other experts in order to craft a good common-sense solution that will help us achieve these goals. This legislation, S. 2193, was introduced last week and, as the Senate version of the House legislation introduced by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, we are looking forward to continuing this fight and presenting our common-sense solution, one that has been endorsed by the American Farm Bureau, that will protect our horses and save this proud industry.

I must say that I am most disappointed in the fact that the Ayotte – Humane Society bill is being presented in such a deceptive and deceitful fashion. This legislation is presented one way but the real impacts are quite different. This Humane Society-authored legislation eliminates the vast majority of the walking horse industry, it will cost taxpayers millions of dollars because the bill results in a significant increase in the bureaucracy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Justice and the bill opens the door for federal agencies to come on to a farmer’s property and inspect their barns and operations and trumps state laws and, additionally, it eliminates the funding that hundreds of charities such as Lions Club International receive from our shows. That’s what the bill does.

While disappointed, I know the thousands of men and women associated with this industry are fighting every day for the horses that they love and we’ll continue to fight the Humane Society’s agenda and the elimination of our industry. We hope that members of the House and Senate will join our efforts to fight for this industry to save jobs and a way of life for our rural communities.


Sincerely,

Jim Cortner

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