Recently Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) felt compelled to provide an opinion about the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry and several elected representatives. As usual he, like the HSUS, continues to misstate or misrepresent information about this Industry. Of course what would you expect of a Humane Society who raises millions of dollars each year using inflammatory and heart wrenching pictures of abused animals but then only gives less that 1% to support those very same abused animals. Wayne Pacelle, Keith Dane and the top executives receive more money as their salary and put more money into their own pension plan than they give to all the abused animals that are shown on TV or in ads. If the HSUS wanted to do what is right and moral and what is in the best interest of the animals wouldn’t it give more than 1% to actually help feed, shelter, pay for veterinarian services and all those other services that are needed that local animal shelter actually perform? But if they did that they couldn’t afford the huge legal, lobbying and public relations machine they feed to undermine the foundation of this country – the farmer.

Where to begin? The HSUS, Dane and Pacelle are focused on advancing one agenda – the elimination of all agriculture farm animals. In order to advance that agenda they must disregard the truth, manipulate the facts and distort common sense. If you want to know the truth about HSUS go to As far as the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry is concerned it has become a pariah because the HSUS has spent millions of dollars misrepresenting the Industry to the media, Congress and others and the Industry lacks the financial ability to get the truth out to these same people. There have been abuses – admitted. But to state that all Tennessee Walking Horses are sored is a total misrepresentation. To claim that the “big lick” can only be achieved by soring is a total misrepresentation. To claim that the pad and action device causes soring is a total misrepresentation. To claim that there is “rampant” abuse within the horse Industry is a total misrepresentation. But the HSUS, Dane and Pacelle have found 1 or 2 people who will say that and then they repeat it often enough that they expect everyone to believe it. Remember this is the same organization that once it was paid $50,000 totally changed its position and said that Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” This is also the same organization that is still in trouble with Ringling Brothers and the Court for paying a witness to testify against the circus. 

The facts are that somewhere between 96.7% and 99% of all Tennessee Walking horses are not sored, are not cruelly treated and are in compliance with the law. Those facts come from the USDA’s own findings and from FOSH, an Industry group that has the most complete database of alleged HPA violations on record. The fact is that pads and action devices do not cause soring as factually proven by the USDA through the 7 year Auburn study. The fact is that the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) are on record agreeing that the pads and action devices do not cause soring. 

So why are the HSUS, Dane and Pacelle so willing to disregard the facts and continue to spread their misrepresentations? The same reason they continue to publish ads about dogs and cats that are abused – to raise money to advance their anti-agriculture animal agenda. So why are they pushing so hard to get an amendment to the Horse Protection Act (HPA) for a problem that doesn’t exist? Using the same typical HSUS sleight of hand and fancy legal wording they have added language to the HPA that will allow the USDA to supersede all state animal cruelty laws for all equine breeds and make it a criminal act if an owner or trainer at his personal barn or house uses a “practice” that causes a horse to “suffer or reasonably expected to suffer physical pain or distress…”. And if a horse suffers distress then the owner or trainer, if convicted, could be sentenced to not more than 3 years in jail and $5000, for each violation. And this amendment will apply to all horse breeds. 

From a common sense standpoint this is a brilliant strategy by the HSUS, Dane and Pacelle. Unfortunately these are some of the same underhanded tactics that got them in trouble in the Ringling Brothers case and may do so again. Instead of trying to get laws passed in each state that criminalizes animal cruelty for a “practice that could cause harm or distress”  they convince several politicians and others that the Tennessee Walking Horse is a “pariah”, use inflammatory statements by a few individuals, disregard the facts and slip in a few words in an amendment to the HPA that will allow them to “allege” abuse or a “practice that causes distress” and then they don’t need undercover operations where animals are allowed to suffer for months while they get their 9 minute video to raise more money to feed their machine. They don’t have to take on the Thoroughbred racing Industry head on. They don’t have to take on all the other horse breeds that wouldn’t put up with their lies and misrepresentations. They just manipulate some of the legal wording in the Amendment so they can eventually go after every Thoroughbred, American Sadddlebred, Morgan, Hackney, Friesian, Arabian, Quarter horse, and others horses in the future after they eliminate the Tennessee Walking Horse.  

And they have convinced certain politicians and others that an amendment is needed. They were able to get the amendment out of the Senate Commerce Committee because they told them “it’s not controversial” – another HSUS misrepresentation. And of course they have used the money unsuspecting citizens gave them for abused animals to pay lobbyists like Constance Harrimam–Whitfield (you guessed it Congressman Whitfield’s wife who is a paid lobbyist/employee of the HSUS ), the AVMA, Jay Hickey at the American Horse Council and others (currently numbering some 17 lobbyists and more than $1 million to date, which shows why this is so crucial to their real anti-agriculture agenda) to use their lobbying efforts and influence to push this amendment and therefore advance their anti-agriculture agenda. And then they have the audacity to attack those elected representatives that see through their misrepresentation and misstatements who propose a law that would give oversight of the Industry to an Independent Board using objective science based technology to eliminate the few remaining issues within the Industry. But it doesn’t give the HSUS their Federal Animal Cruelty Law for any practice that causes a horse distress. And it doesn’t advance their agenda and strategic goal of “the abolition of all animal agriculture." according to J.P. Goodwin, Director of Animal Cruelty Policy for HSUS.

Personally we thank the elected representatives that are standing up for the farmer, agriculture and all horse owners, breeders and trainers. We only wish that other politicians would take the time to read and understand their proposed amendment and not buy in to the misrepresentations the HSUS keeps repeating.