Unfortunately my recent letter to the Tennessean is causing a lot of angst and inappropriate criticism directed at TWSHO. The sentence at the heart of the problem is set forth below:

“Last week, the Humane Society of the United States announced a reward for any trainer found to be violating the Horse Protection Act.  We applaud this effort and, if the organization is willing, we will work by their side to rid the sport of those who break the rules, as we will with any organization or individual who shares the same goal.”

I apologize if my statement was misunderstood. I do not in any way condone baseless punishment of anyone who is doing right by the Walking Horse or the sport. I do however feel strongly that this industry needs to be on the forefront of reform and we should be willing to work with anyone or any organization, from AAEP to USDA, that can help in that effort. If we do not, we will not have an industry.  Sensational news stories and overzealous regulators are intent on going well beyond eliminating the few bad actors in the industry, to eliminating the entire Industry. 

I stand by my belief that we need to be all inclusive in our efforts to protect the wellbeing of the horse.  But let me make one thing very clear.  The Humane Society of the United States has been unscrupulous in their tactics and done a great disservice to the Walking Horse Industry by spreading misinformation to the point at which I question their true motives beyond creating a fundraising mechanism for their organization.  If they truly wanted to rid the system of bad actors, they would work with us to do so, as abuse occurs, not wait to create fancy videos that will garner their organization attention.

Again, I apologize if my choice of words appeared to support in any way the HSUS's tactics.