Skip to content

Rep. DesJarlais Introduces Bill to Amend HPA



Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4) introduced a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) that would eliminate the current inconsistent and subjective inspection methods and replace them with objective, science-based inspections.  The new protocols for inspection would be based upon expert veterinarian input and be administered by a single industry enforcement entity, Horse Industry Organizations under the HPA.  Currently the HPA is enforced by multiple HIOs that all have different rules and enforcement guidelines.

“The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is a vital part of our nation’s agricultural sector. However, recent abuses on behalf of APHIS have threatened the proliferation and success of this Tennessee tradition. The Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2015 provides real reforms ensuring objective, science-based methods of inspection and testing. We cannot punish the industry as a whole for the behavior of a few bad actors. I am dedicated to preserving this important piece of Tennessee history and will continue to fight for clearer, more consistent policies across the industry,” said DesJarlais.

The bill introduced by DesJarlais, H.R. 4105, is the same legislation introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) in the previous Congress and Rep. Blackburn is a co-sponsor of the legislation in this Congress.  All of the other Tennessee Republicans also are co-sponsors, including Phil Roe (R-TN-1), Jimmy Duncan (R-TN-2), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-3), Diane Black (R-TN-6) and Stephen Fincher (R-TN-8).  House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) and Andy Barr (R-KY-6) are original co-sponsors from Kentucky.

The inconsistency in inspections, conducted by both the USDA Veterinary Medical Officers and industry Designated Qualified Persons, has severely damaged the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.  In a recent opinion against the rulemaking efforts of the USDA, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out this fact calling inspections, “more art than science,” and acknowledging that current inspection protocols lead to many false positives.

The new bill would enact protocols that are “conducted using only inspection methods based on science-based protocols (including swabbing or blood testing protocols) that – 
(A) have been the subject of testing and are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results;
(B) have been subjected to peer review; and
(C) have received acceptance in the veterinary or other applicable scientific community.”

The HIO formed by the legislation will issue policies requiring any person licensed with the HIO or an immediate family member of such person to be free from conflicts of interest or any association with the industry.  The HIO would be governed initially by a board consisting of the following:
(A) Two individuals each appointed by the Commissioners of Agriculture of Tennessee and Kentucky
(B) Two individuals representing the industry by the above four persons in consultation with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association
(C) Not more than three individuals shall be appointed by the six individuals above
       
The need for DesJarlais’ legislation was further evidenced by inspections conducted at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.  The horses disqualified from competition by USDA VMOs that passed inspection by industry DQPs at this year’s Celebration had previously passed inspection 750 times in 2015 prior to The Celebration.  Those same horses that were disqualified have shown and passed inspection with both industry DQPs and USDA VMOs present 102 times since the completion of The Celebration just over two months ago.
 

More Stories

  • Walking Horse Report’s Daily Papers and Office Hours

    The Celebration is the busiest time of year for Walking Horse Report. We strive to provide the best possible coverage of the industry’s world championship horse show. We will continue to post live results and judges’ cards. Read More
  • FAST kicks off 3rd annual 50/50 raffle

    All proceeds from the Celebration FAST Cash 50/50 Raffle will be used to promote all aspects of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse and Tennessee Walking Horse Shows... Read More
  • WHTA Auxiliary Meeting scheduled

    The WHTA Auxiliary will have their Celebration meeting on the bleachers of Champions arena at 11:30 on Sunday, August 26th at 11:30 am... Read More
  • WHTA Auxiliary announces Money Tree Fall Classic

    The WHTA Auxiliary is excited to hold The Money Tree Fall Classic again this year. The event will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Bedford County Ag Center in Shelbyville, Tenn... Read More
  • Tennessee Valley Classic announces judging panel

    Show Manager Mervin “Doc” Tackett invites everyone to attend the Tennessee Valley Classic Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 16, 17 and 18, at the Smoky Mountain Expo Center in White Pine, Tennessee. Jennifer Lambert, Mack Dekle, Jamie Tucker-Wiley will judge the event. Read More
  • Celebration bows are back!

    Celebration time is right around the corner...get your Celebration Bows Now! The tri-colored bows proudly displayed on your front door, barn, etc., is a now a tradition of showing your support. Read More
  • Brownsville, KY Sunday Show Time Change

    The Walking Horse Owners' Association would like to announce the show to be held Sunday, August 19 in Brownsville, Kentucky will start at 12 noon. The judge for the show is Dean Crawford of Shelbyville, TN... Read More
  • Celebration announces Maverick Arena

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and Keith and Lorraine Rosbury are pleased to announce a three-year naming rights agreement for the Celebration’s outdoor arena. The new name, Maverick Arena, will be displayed at this year’s 80th Anniversary Celebration and will honor the 2017 World Grand Champion Gen’s Black Maverick, owned by Keith and Lorraine Rosbury. Read More
  • Celebration releases class splits

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration announced class splits Friday afternoon for its 80th annual event, which kicks off later this month. Twelve classes have been divided, with the two-year-old stallion division once again having three splits. Read More
  • Florence Charity rescheduled

    The Florence Charity Horse Show, originally scheduled for September 22, 2018, has been moved to November 10, 2018. This will also be a Riders' Cup show. Read More