Posted February 27, 2002
Editor’s Note: This a follow up to a letter to the editor sent by Linda Ramsbottom concerning VMO Dr. Michael Guedron. Mrs. Ramsbottom wrote Senator Fred Thompson concerning Dr. Guedron and this is his response.
Dear Mr. Howard:

Craig Evans and Niels Holch are to be commended for their resolution to the USDA with regard to Dr. Guedron.

I’ve sent numerous letters to my congressman and senator in regard to his behavior toward, and disregard and disrespect for people who own, show, or train horses.

I encountered him in South Carolina in 1999, at a racking horse show and all details set forth in this resolution are absolutely true and perhaps even more. he was overheard at that time saying his main goal was to shut down every horse show he could and he has succeeded in doing this numerous times.

I said in 1999 and since then, I will not allow any horse of mine to be subjected to him.

Keep up the good work.
Barbarah Hassett

Dear Mrs. Ramsbottom:

The United States Department of Agriculture has responded to the inquiry Senator Thompson directed to them on your behalf. I am enclosing a copy of their reply.

If our office can be of any other assistance to you in the future, please contact me at 800 Market Street, Suite 112, Knoxville, TN 37902.

Michael Bruce
Constituent Services
Sen. Fred Thompson, TN
United States Senate

Dear Senator Thompson:

Thank you for your letter of October 26,2001, on behalf of Mrs. Linda Ramsbottom regarding our Agency’s enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

I recognize that Mrs. Ramsbottom has concerns about the number of entries and the presence of our veterinary medical officer (VMO), Dr. Michael Guedron, at the East Tennessee Fall Classic Horse Show, which was held on October 19 and 20, 2001, in White Pine, Tennessee. We regret that Mrs. Ramsbottom’s daughter and her friends did not participate in the show and can understand their disappointment. However, we would like to assure Mrs. Ramsbottom and her daughter that Dr. Guedron and the other Agency veterinarian who attended the White Pine, Tennessee show did not prevent their horses or any other horses from being entered in the show. Only horses that are entered and found to be sore in violation of the HPA during the inspection process are prohibited from being exhibited. Most of the horses that entered the show were able to be exhibited.

The HPA does not give our Agency the authority to close horse shows, nor are we seeking to prevent shows from taking place. Rather, our Agency is working hard under the HPA to eliminate the cruel practice of soring horses. As you may know, a sore horse often experiences pain in its feet and will reactively accentuate its gait when it is shown. The veterinarians who enforce the HPW are a team of professionals who are working with the horse industry to eliminate the soring of horses and prevent sore horses from being shown. They use their background in veterinary medicine, knowledge of the HPA and regulations, and guidance provided in the Horse Protection Operating Plan to ensure that each horse entered into competition is examined thoroughly for any signs indicative of soring. We believe Dr. Guedron and all of our VMOs are inspecting horses appropriately to determine if they are sore. We have been working with the nine certified horse industry organizations (HIOs) to ensure that their designated qualified persons are also inspecting horses appropriately for signs of soring.

For the past few years, we have encouraged the HIOs and their show managers to communicate concerns about any of our VMOs to our Agency. The majority of the feedback we have received has been positive. We have also received feedback about our VMOs from individuals like Mrs. Ramsbottom who are involved in the walking horse industry. When substantiated negative feedback is received, we examine these claims. Following a complaint about Dr. Guedron’s performance, we conducted an unannounced examination of his work in the fall of 2000. The examination showed that his work was exemplary and that he has a thorough knowledge of the HPA and enforces the law appropriately. Dr. Guedron was also witnessed to be conducting himself professionally and diligently sharing information with HIO inspectors and horse owners and trainers.

I am enclosing some information about the HPA that you may wish to share with Mrs. Ramsbottom and her daughter. If they would like additional information about our HPA enforcement efforts, we encourage them to contact our Animal Care program. The address is Animal Car, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Unit 84, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, Maryland 20737. The telephone number is 301-734-4980.

William R. DeHaven
for Bobby R. Acord