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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.



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.


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.


Mr. Mike Johanns


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.


Signature ___________________________

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