Skip to content

HSUS Comments on USDA Swabs



In contrast to the two foreign substance violations reported by the Tennessee walking horse industry at the 2012 National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn., the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s testing revealed that 145 horses out of 190 tested, or 76 percent, were found positive.
 
The Humane Society of the United States has requested that Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr. open an investigation into the veracity of public statements made by officials connected to the Walking Horse Trainers Association Enforcement Initiative, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization about their initiative to detect unlawful horse soring at the 2012 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
 
The HSUS maintains that this discrepancy raises a serious concern that participants and spectators at the Celebration were falsely assured that horses entered were compliant with the federal Horse Protection Act, when evidence of cruelty and cheating may have been concealed by the organizers of the event. The foreign substance testing is used to detect the presence of painful caustic chemicals that trainers apply to horses’ legs. Other cruel training methods – collectively referred to as “soring” – are used to obtain the prized high-stepping gait of the walking horse.
 
Before the event, both the TWHNC and the TWSHO issued press releases assuring the public that every horse entered at the Celebration would be swabbed and tested for illegal foreign substances used to sore horses or to conceal that a horse was sore. They also promised to release test results promptly during the event and to immediately and severely punish any violators. However, it appears that the industry groups did not swab and test every horse, nor did they release the complete results of the testing, adding to suspicions that some positive test results may have been suppressed to protect the perpetrators.
 
Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS, said: “The show organizations involved with the Celebration’s swabbing program failed to deliver on promises about protecting the welfare of horses and compliance with the law. We are urging Attorney General Cooper to fully investigate the industry’s deception.”
 
The HSUS’ ongoing effort to protect Tennessee walking horses from abuse includes urging Gov. Bill Haslam to veto the dangerous anti-whistleblower bill, SB 1248, now on his desk. If SB 1248 is passed, it would outlaw the types of investigations that have exposed horse soring and ban one of the few ways animal abuse in stables and on farms is discovered.
 
The HSUS also urges AG Cooper to open an investigation into whether all horses were in fact swabbed and tested for foreign substances at the 2012 Celebration, why the industry’s findings were at such variance with USDA’s testing, and whether any positive tests for foreign substances may have been ignored or concealed by the industry.

To read the full letter from HSUS click here

More Stories

  • Obituary - Robert R. Swayne

    Robert R. Swayne, 75, of Manheim passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at Lancaster General Hospital... Read More
  • Donations being accepted re: Peebles fire

    A fire at Dick Peebles' residence on Holt Avenue was reported shortly before noon Friday. Bedford County Fire Department reports the blaze's cause is undetermined at this time. The fire itself damaged the utility room and kitchen with smoke damage throughout the rest of the home, according to the BCSD... Read More
  • Strides Against Cancer adds class

    The Strides Against Cancer, scheduled for April 28, has added a class to their original class schedule. Class 21a will be Spotted Trail Pleasure.  Read More
  • Tennessee Walking Horse museum honored for 2017 achievements

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum in Wartrace received two awards March 21 from the Tennessee Association of Museums. The Wartrace museum was honored with an Award of Excellence for superlative achievement for "Traveling Exhibit-Juvenile Riders" and an Award of Commendation in recognition... Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Hot Silk

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of world champion Hot Silk on April 16. Affectionately known as “Silk,” the beautiful mare was owned and loved by Lisa Teel... Read More
  • Obituary - Kenneth Joseph Wulff

    Kenneth Joseph Wulff, 66, died Thursday, April 12, 2018 at his home. Born October 2, 1951 in Jefferson City, Missouri he was the son of the late Victor J. and Coletta (Werdenhause) Wulff. Ken graduated from the University of Missouri and worked as a loan officer for Movement Mortgage locally. Read More
  • WHT Auxiliary Scholarship

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Auxiliary has released their 2018 Scholarship information. Read More
  • Obituary - Joseph Martin Finch

    Joseph Martin Finch of Shelbyville, Tennessee passed away Tuesday April 3, 2018, surrounded by his family. Joe is survived by his wife Gail, his three daughters, Kim Withrow, Suzie Finch and Lisa McMahan, his three grandchildren, Joseph, Brooks and Max Withrow and his brother Bill Finch. In lieu of a funeral service, a Celebration of Life will be held for family and friends at the Blue-Ribbon Circle Club on the Celebration Show Grounds April 22nd from 1-4pm. All friends and family are invited. Read More
  • Latest Issue April 16 18

    Read More
  • Celebration selects Fun Show judges

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has selected its judging panel for the 48th Annual Spring Fun Show to be held in Calsonic Arena May 24-26.  The judging panel of Jamie Hankins, David Sisk and Johnny Puckett is a blend of experience with a new face to Celebration judging. Read More