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Industry Stands Strong In Opposition to USDA Rule

The first of five USDA Public Hearings on the proposed rule that would ban the pad, action device and band, as well as eliminate industry regulation through Horse Industry Organizations was held in Murfreesboro today.  The industry showed up in large numbers with a crowd in excess of 250 people in attendance.  Of the attendees, at least 90% opposed the proposed rule by USDA-APHIS.

Moderating the meeting was Mike Tuck of the USDA and USDA Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez was also in attendance.  Speaking on behalf of the industry and opposing the rule were Stefan Maupin with the Tennessee Farm Bureau, Mike Inman of The Celebration, David Williams of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association as well as multiple members of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and Dr. Jim Baum of the veterinarian community.  The WHTA had a particularly strong attendance from their members. 

Other speakers opposing the rule were board members of the Racking Horse Association and the Spotted Saddle Horse Association.  In addition, multiple owners and breeders spoke about the substantial investment they have in the Tennessee Walking Horse and how the rule would devastate the industry financially.  Vendors, including feed stores, also spoke of the substantial loss the rule would result in for their business.

A coordinated effort by the Humane Society of the United States and others resulted in less than 20 people in attendance supporting the rule.  Most of the information read by these parties supporting the rule, especially from a staged appearance from Miss Tennessee International Jurnee Carr, was straight from HSUS propaganda that was given to the speakers.  Of particular interest was multiple speakers that were for the rule agreed that the pad and action device do not cause any harm or soring.

Industry proponents spoke at length and on multiple occasions of the need for objective, science-based testing to determine violations and that the current subjective inspection methods produce inconsistent and false results.  The Auburn Study was cited on many occasions as the only current science to examine the pad and action device and the study clearly states that pads and action devices weighing six ounces or less do not harm or cause soring.

The second listening session will be held in Lexington, Ky. tomorrow, Wednesday August 10, 2016 at the Clarion Hotel on Newtown Pike.

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