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Excuses Running Out on USDA Actions

The excuses given by the USDA for the increase in horses disqualified at The Celebration each year are being proven erroneous by facts and data readily available on the USDA-APHIS web site.  According to multiple sources, Dr. Gipson has tried throughout the show to say the use of new equipment is the reason for the increase in potential violations.  The problem is, by the USDA’s own admission, there is no new equipment being used at the Celebration.

The equipment in question is thermography, yet thermography has been used by the USDA for years and is not only used at The Celebration but also at many shows throughout the year.  In 2015, the USDA used thermography on 1,151 horses prior to The Celebration at SHOW HIO affiliated shows.  Of those 1,151 horses, the USDA took information on 36 potential scar rule violations or 3%.  

At this year’s Celebration, of the 649 evening performance entries, the USDA has taken information on 72 potential scar rule violations or 11%.  This number is actually much higher as not all 649 entries have been subject to thermography.  Clearly, Dr. Gipson’s excuse for the targeting of the Celebration and increasing the potential violations is not due to new equipment or the use of thermography.

The subjectivity of the inspection protocol has been a problem for years and although objective inspection methods exist, the USDA and Humane Society of the United States continue to fight their implementation so as to use the current subjective inspections to unfairly disqualify horses.  In Monday evening’s performance, 10 two-year-old stallions were disqualified.  Those 10 horses had been inspected previously by the same VMOs with the same equipment at this year’s Celebration and passed seven times.  

On Monday evening the VMOs disqualified 24 horses that passed the inspection given by the DQPs.  Those 24 horses had previously passed inspection 100 times in 2015 with the USDA VMOs present 59 times.  The total of horses disqualified at the Celebration that have passed inspection by the SHOW HIO has risen to 97.  Those 97 horses have passed inspection 427 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 258 of those inspections or 60%.

As the facts continue to validate the USDA’s concerted effort to harm The Celebration, it is not surprising that the USDA continues to fight the videotaping of their actions and even kicked Nashville’s WTVF Channel 5 (local CBS affiliate) out of inspection and refused to allow the videotaping of their actions.  The SHOW HIO had previously welcomed Channel 5 to film the inspections of their DQPs.  Click here to view that report.

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