Skip to content

Humane Society Attacks Walking Horse in Fundraising Letter



Copyright Walking Horse Report 2007

Editor’s Note: One of our subscribers received the following fundraising letter from the Humane Society of the United States and forwarded it to us at our request. It contains a slanderous attack on the Tennessee Walking Horse breed in an effort to raise money and is signed by the President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Pacelle.

THE HUMANE SOCIETY

OF THE UNITED STATES

As an animal lover, I felt sure you would want to know about the hidden cruelties that so many horses are forced to quietly suffer, and what you can do to help us make a real difference.

I now that your time is precious, but please take a moment and read this urgent letter, and return the petition. We need to know that the animals can count on your support!

Dear Friend of Animals,

As a young child, my friends and I were fascinated with the great old Western films featuring magnificent bison and the herds of wild horses roaming America’s wild and vast plains.

The relationships that the heroes in these old movies had with their horses really spoke to me as a young man.

The Lone Ranger and Silver, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Gene Autry and Champion…all shared a special bond of trust. They relied upon each other, and these men treated their horses with compassion, dignity and respect.

In these movies, men and horses—working together—were able to bring safety and security to families in the American West. Men and horses—working together—defined America’s can-do, against-all-odds spirit.

Unfortunately, America’s relationship with its horses is no longer one of trust, reliance and responsibility.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of horses are crying out for our help. As animal lovers, you and I must answer this call.

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a unique and magnificent breed of horse, known for its smooth gait and high step. It is one of the most calm, dignified, and eager-to-please breeds of equines.

Cruel and unscrupulous trainers and owners, in the pursuit of financial gain, have sentenced hundreds of thousands of Tennessee Walkers to a lifetime of abuse and misery.

To win shows in the Tennessee Walker industry, owners and trainers intentionally make the horse lame or “sore” to encourage him to step higher for this audience, many of whom are ignorant of why the horses are prancing so proudly.

These unscrupulous trainers and owners use caustic chemicals that burn the horses, or mechanical devices such as screws in their hooves, or a painful method of trimming the hoof called “pressure shoeing.”

Many of these proud animals are fitted with “stacks.” This device is essentially a pair of high heels attached to their hooves. The horses are forced to endure these painful stilts for months or even years at a time while in training for shows.

Horses on “stacks” cannot be turned out to play or to exercise, and are forced to live out their days in their stalls. These majestic creatures can pass months at a time, in agony, never getting the opportunity to run, or even feel the sun on their backs.

These abuses are standards that leaders in the Tennessee Walker show community are actively fighting to preserve!

You and I must act immediately to stop this abuse. My conscience will not allow me to let animal abuse and suffering like this continue.

We are dealing with an industry that sees nothing wrong with torturing a horse with chemicals, chains or other devices to force him to perform in an unnatural, but profitable way.

This abuse is not hidden, or secreted, or frowned upon by industry leaders. It is part of the culture and fabric of Tennessee Walker competition – it must be stopped.

Last year, the USDA made a commitment to enforce the “Horse Protection Act,” a law passed over 30 years ago by the United States Congress. They notified industry leaders and made it clear that this animal abuse would not be tolerated any longer.

The industry’s reaction was disgusting. They are boasting that they have spent $1 million to try to change and weaken the law. They have hired a Washington insider, previously an official with the USDA, to try to weaken the existing regulations.

We must give the USDA the support it needs to aggressively enforce the laws that protect these suffering animals!

To do this, I desperately need your help to put an end to these barbaric practices and save these majestic horses from a lifetime of abuse.

Please sign the enclosed petition addressed to the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Mr. Mike Johanns, and return it to me along with your most generous gift to save these creatures from vicious cruelty.

Your gift of $10, $15, $25 or even $50 will help defend and protect these desperate horses. And with your new membership gift of $10 or more today, we will send you a handy, practical HSUS Tote Bag. I know it will come in handy when you need to run errands.

Caring friends like you have made all of The Human Society of the United States’ past successes and victories for the welfare of horses and other animals possible.

Most recently, I am thankful for all of our friends whose efforts and financial support temporarily helped secure a federal court order that put an end to the slaughter of over 100,000 horses each year.

Through the work of the USUS this past March, a federal court has shut down the last operating horse slaughterhouse in the United States FOR GOOD!

It is friends like you who will help us restore our nation’s proud and passionate relationship with its horses. These animals are truly a “living link to the history of the United States.”

But today, my friend, we are asking you to help us put a stop to the cruelty and abuse against the Tennessee Walking horses. Help us stop the inhumane practice of “soring” horses by chemical, mechanical or other means, all for entertainment and profit!

I’ve also enclosed a handy “To Do List” notepad. I hope when you fill it out, becoming a new HSUS member will become the first priority on your list!

Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats its animals.”

Your desperately needed gift will allow us to continue pushing for more humane treatment of hundreds of thousands of horses and animals in America every year.

Thank you for your support. I know that I can count on you.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle

President and Chief Executive Officer

P.S. The evils of animal abuse and suffering will continue until we all stand together to end them. Make becoming a new HSUS member the first item on your “to Do List.” Sign the enclosed petition to Secretary Johanns so he understands that we will stand up and fight for humane treatment of all living beings.

And don’t forget to send your gift of $10, $15, $25 or even $50 for the animals today if you can. Remember, your new membership gift of $10 or more entitles you to a handy tote bag.

Prepare for disasters. Make sure you have a plan for your pet in the event of a hurricane, tornado, fire or flood.

* PLEASE SIGN AND RETURN IN THE ENCLOSED ENVELOPE. THANK YOU.*

Mr. Mike Johanns

SECRETARY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)

Dear Secretary Johanns:

It is unconscionable that the Tennessee Walking Horse industry is fighting to weaken the Horse Protection Act and to prevent aggressive enforcement to eliminate the soring of horses by chemical, mechanical or other means, all for entertainment and profit.

The Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited horses, needs to commitment of the USDA to enforce existing laws and to protect them from unnatural suffering and pain simply for the sake of profit and entertainment.

Please give the Horse Protection Program the support it needs to fully enforce the Act and ensure that sored horses are not allowed to exhibit. Don’t let the industry negotiate or dictate the terms under which it operates; the law, and the humane treatment of horses, should not be negotiable.

Sincerely,

Signature ___________________________

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Latest Issue 11 2 20

    Read More
  • Incentives added to Fall Classic’s Debut Two-Year-Old class

    The Celebration Fall Classic had added incentives to the winner of the $1000 Debut Two-Year-Old Walking Horses class on the Saturday night show schedule. The new class is for any two-year-old that has not previously shown in 2020. Read More
  • Notice WHTA Members

    The 2020 WHTA Nominating Committee is composed of Brad Beard (Chairman), Jessica Hlebak and Russ Thompson. Anyone wishing his or her name be added as a candidate will need to notify the WHTA office or a member of the Nominating Committee no later than November 9, 2019 his or her intent to run for an officer or directorship... Read More
  • Updated venue for Saturday meeting

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Association's open meeting Saturday at 1:00PM has been moved to the main area of Calsonic Arena. The move is to allow for social distancing and the WHTA strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask at the meeting. Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Lady Topaz

    Gen’s Lady Topaz was humanely laid to rest on October 24th, 2020, just one week shy of her 27th birthday. She was one of only a handful of direct Pride’s Generator mares left. Gen's Lady Topaz was the matriarch of Rushing Creek Walker’s breeding program for many years and the ambassador to any visitors. Read More
  • Walking For The Angels revises class schedule

    The Walking For The Angels Horse Show, scheduled for Saturday, November 14, has added several classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • FAST Showcase revises class schedule

    The FAST Showcase, scheduled for Friday, November 13, has added three classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • WHTA to host open meeting October 31st

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association will host an open meeting on Saturday October 31st at 1:00PM at the Hall of Fame in Calsonic Arena. The meeting will be to present details on the proposed legislative amendments and have questions from industry participants answered.  Read More
  • Obituary – John Peels

    Mr. John Luther Peels, age 84, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, October 25, 2020, at his home under the loving care and comfort of his family and Willow Brook Hospice... Read More