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TWHBEA Release Simply Not True

The Walking Horse Report has learned that the recent news release authorized by the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association to “Industry Accusations” regarding their official response to the petition filed with the USDA by humane interests is simply not true.

Newspaper articles began appearing in early August across the country about a number of humane groups petitioning the USDA for new rulemaking under the Horse Protection Act.  The petition alleged the USDA had failed to enforce the Act and requested a number of immediate regulatory changes.  The leading industry HIO, SHOW, was singled out for particular criticism and a number of industry individuals called for the TWHBEA and other groups to issue a response.

The TWHBEA was contacted by The Horse Magazine on August 4th and asked for “on the record” comments about the petition.  Executive Director Stan Butt told the magazine they would be getting a statement from TWHBEA later.  Butt was fully aware that The Horse magazine was asking for the TWHBEA’s official position on the petition and contacted President David Pruett.

On Thursday, August 5, in an article entitled “GROUPS SEEK STIFFER ANTI-SORING RUES” Butt released the following TWHBEA statement regarding the petition.

“As the International breed registry for the Tennessee Walking Horse , we are always concerned about the care and well being of our horses, support any and all HIO’s that work to make thing better for all show horses.”

The TWHBEA statement in The Horse article became widely circulated in the industry and was roundly criticized for endorsing the petition and undermining SHOW.  It was reported that a number of Executive Committee members had requested a conference call to address the petition earlier but were turned down by President David Pruett.

Demands for a retraction were made by prominent owners and trainers and a lengthy conference call of the TWHBEA Executive Committee was held on Sunday night, August 15.

Below is the news release issued on behalf of the Executive Committee on Monday, August 16th.


In light of questions from some in our industry regarding a recent “quotation “attributed to Executive Director Stan Butt, in print, elaboration is in order.

As it always does in occasions requesting quotations, TWHBEA expressed its support of those in the industry who obey existing federal law regulating the inspection of show horses, whether they are flat shod or performance horses, and TWHBEA continues to support the expansion of all disciplines within our breed.

It should e noted to our members that TWHBEA has since learned of the recent private petition to the USDA urging, among other things, more stringent inspection of show horses.  In fact, the petition came to light, as far as TWHBEA was concerned, only after the “quotation” was offered, and the “quotation” therefore is misapplied as a reference to the petition.

TWHBEA has the petition under review and expects to participate side by side with the leading Tennessee Walking Horse industry groups uniting to respond to the petition.  TWHBEA has appointed its Vice President of By Laws and Georgia director, Lloyd Hall Black, Jr. to serve as its liaison to the industry groups.

The Report has learned that Stan Butt, President David Pruett and maybe others were fully aware that The Horse magazine was requesting a quote regarding the petition.  Pruett and Butt discussed the response and Butt released it to The Horse Magazine.

This is in direct contradiction to the news release issued by the Executive Committee on August 16th stating “It should be noted to our members that TWHBEA has since learned of the recent private petition to the USDA urging, among other things, more stringent inspection of show horses.  In fact, the petition came to light, as far as TWHBEA was concerned, only after the “quotation” was offered, and the “quotation” therefore is misapplied as a reference to the petition.”

The TWHBEA was well aware of the petition no later than August 4th when contacted by The Horse magazine and Butt replied via e mail indicating he would have a “statement for the record before morning.”  The Horse magazine received the official statement via e mail on August 5th at 10:14AM.

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