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Keith Dane Speaks to TWHBEA Executive Committee


Copyright WHR 2007

Editor’s Note: Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States spoke as a special guest to the TWHBEA Executive Committee on Monday, January 22. Dane has provided a copy of his comments to the Walking Horse Report related to the current TWH industry issues. Dane also presented a power point presentation highlighting the reasons the HSUS opposes the slaughter of horses, asking TWHBEA to consider supporting the Act currently before Congress to prevent the slaughter of horses, and offered to show a video of horses being slaughtered. The committee declined to see the video.

I come to you today as a member of TWHBEA, but also as a representative of The Humane Society of the United States.  The HSUS is the largest animal protection organization in the country, with nearly 10 million members and constituents.

I want to let you know that The HSUS and the animal welfare community have been following the press coverage of the past year on the Walking horse industry, and we continue to monitor developments in the industry.

We have commented to the USDA on their enforcement efforts at the 2006 Celebration, and on the proposed legislation to amend the Horse Protection Act, proposed by the NHP Society through Sens. Frist and Chambliss.

We are aware that the Society’s representative has been on the Hill this year talking with the House Agriculture Committee suggesting ways to attach HPA amendment language to the Farm Bill.

We will be following this situation, and will be commenting to the Ag Committee ourselves.

We will be submitting comments to the USDA regarding the proposed Operating Plan which is currently being contemplated.

I also want you to know that The HSUS has taken note of the positive leadership steps that TWHBEA has made by way of its HIO Sanctioning Plan to try to ensure that industry shows have proper inspections and that all horses shown are in compliance with the law.

We see the Horse Protection Commission’s signing on to the Plan as a positive step, and feels these developments send a strong message that TWHBEA is serious about HPA compliance and sound horses.

We have also taken note of some of the efforts of other industry organizations that might suggest a reluctance or resistance to positive change in the direction of HPA compliance.  Supporting attempts to gut the Act indicate that there is no need, desire or willingness to comply with the current Act as written.

We note recent statements by industry leaders, and see some rays of light and some continuing clouds.  I submit to you that what is needed - the message that must be heard from industry leaders in all corners – is “we all need to stop soring – period.”  There should be no reason to doubt whether a horse will get through inspection, when a horse is loaded on the trailer, when he’s being worked at home, or when he goes to the DQP stand.  If everyone trained sound – with no chemicals, no Go Jo, no pressure shoeing - nothing, then everyone could be proud of their horse, be free of the worry of violating federal law and the ensuing penalties, and know that the USDA, the media and the public would have no complaint or reason to view this industry with a suspicious eye. 

Anything short of this is unacceptable, and will result in ongoing negative pressure from the media, the public and the government. 

I urge this Association to stay the course in providing leadership and communication to the industry with regard to moving the DQP programs toward full compliance with the HPA, and the necessity of not only the sound presentation but also the sound training of our horse.



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