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An Editorial



by David L. Howard
I appreciate the calls and letters thanking me for the editorial in last week's paper. Believe me, I take no joy in criticizing anyone, including Dr. Mike Guedron, but enough is enough.

One caller made a very good point. It really doesn't matter whether Guedron is a good Veterinary Medical Officer or a bad one - the reality is owners, trainers and exhibitors are not going to take their horses in front of him. Whether his reputation is deserved or not, sending him to a horse show is a deathblow for that show.

Surely with the many thousands of competent employees in the USDA, they have plenty of choices when it comes to assigning VMOs.

One of the more distressing facts that has come to light from the people who have called is their fear of retaliation if they complain publicly about their treatment by this man. A half dozen people have recounted their unpleasant experiences with Dr. Guedron but only one of these six have complained in writing to his superiors.

When asked why, all of them basically said that they were afraid they would have to take horses in front of this man again and were fearful of what he would do.

Now that's a sad state of affairs in this day and age in the United States of America - fear of government employees who are paid by us...the taxpayers.

David Bradshaw, whose case with the USDA was reported several weeks ago in The Report, told us the reason he challenged the department was because he was no longer in the horse business and there was nothing they could do to him. By the way, David called to report that the USDA has decided not to appeal the decision in his case.

The other major point raised in a number of the calls was that the person responsible for Dr. Guedron's behavior was Dr. Ron DeHaven, the man in charge of the Horse Protection Act for the USDA. While I agree he has the authority and responsibility to deal with this man and his conduct, if our officials and the people mistreated do not complain officially, there is little he can act on.

I encourage trainers, exhibitors, show managers and others who have been mistreated by this man to voice their complaints to his superiors. Otherwise he will continue his vendetta against the Tennessee Walking Horse.

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