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PSHA, SHOW & Industry Seek Investigation of USDA Actions



The Performance Show Horse Association, SHOW HIO, Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and numerous industry owners and trainers recently retained the services of Gray Plant Mooty Law Firm to ask for an investigation into the actions of USDA VMOs.  Veterinarian Medical Officers (VMOs) have repeatedly told industry Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) that new protocols now exist in the determination of scar rule violations, a clear violation of the statute and the Administrative Procedures Act.

Originally Gray Plant Mooty sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on April 2, 2014 asking him to look into the actions of the VMOs.  Upon receiving no response from Secretary Vilsack, Gray Plant Mooty sent a second letter on April 17, 2014 to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and General Counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture.  In this letter the request was made for a full investigation into the actions of the VMOs.

Specifically, the OIG and General Counsel were asked to investigate the retaliatory actions of the VMOs during the 2012 show season; the “announced changes” to the protocol of determining scar rule violations by VMOs to DQPs despite no change to the statute; the VMO statements at the 2014 SHOW DQP training regarding changes to scar rule protocol and the use of thermography to determine scar rule violations; and the threats made to intimidate the DQPs with Letters of Warning if they don’t find scar rule violations in agreement with VMOs.  The letter also seeks an investigation into the use of the iris scan technology that is allowing VMOs to target horses that have received previous violations by USDA, even though those violations may have never resulted in any official charge by USDA.

Click here to view the letter to Secretary Vilsack.

Click here to view the letter to Office of Inspector General and General Counsel of USDA.

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