The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released its updated inspection results through November 3, 2013.  Upon examining those reports, compliance with the HPA with regards to soring violations is at 96.7%. 

Opponents to the show horse cite the OIG Audit Report that stated the USDA budget allows for VMOs to only attend 6% of the shows.  The OIG Audit covered the years 2006-2008, which is a time period prior to the enactment of the SHOW HIO which began in 2009.  The report is antiquated in its view of the industry and the actions of the USDA.

In 2013, the USDA attended 37 events affiliated with the SHOW HIO or 25.5% of all events affiliated with SHOW.  Although the number of HIOs certified by the USDA is close to 14 and they maintain oversight responsibility for all HIOs, 58% of the 65 events the USDA attended were affiliated with one HIO, the SHOW HIO.

Since the period of the OIG Audit, compliance figures have skyrocketed over the past five years.  USDA reports from 2009 through 2013 show an improved compliance with the Horse Protection Act from 68.8% to 96.7%.  It is important to note that these figures don’t represent the industry HIO compliance figures, these are those findings of the VMOs at the shows they attend each year.

Further if you look at the figures for the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, overall violations are down approximately 75% despite an approximate 280% increase in horses inspected by the USDA.

Celebration 2009 – 348 violations in 696 inspections

Celebration 2010 – 210 violations in 519 inspections

Celebration 2011 – 182 violations in 2143 inspections

Celebration 2012 – 141 violations in 1849 inspections

Celebration 2013 – 89 violations in 1952 inspections

Opponents regularly state that industry enforcement of the HPA doesn’t work and little progress has been made in compliance with the HPA.  The facts simply don’t support this position.  If you compare the Celebration in 2013 to 2012, USDA violations have declined by 36.9%.  Sensationalism gets media attention and helps fundraising, but facts get results.