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USDA Continues To Contradict Earlier Inspections



By Jeffrey Howard

The United States Department of Agriculture arrived again in their motorcade of black SUVs with over 20 personnel to conduct inspections on 147 entries Saturday night and 134 entries on Sunday evening.  The trend of horses who have passed USDA VMO inspections all year failing VMO inspections at The Celebration continued at a record pace.

On Saturday evening, the USDA disqualified 17 horses that passed SHOW Designated Qualified Person (DQP) inspections.  Those 17 horses had previously passed inspection 69 times in 2015 with USDA VMOs in attendance for 34 of those previous inspections.  In 147 entries on Saturday evening, the USDA VMOs took information on 14 horses for potential scar rule violations.

On Sunday evening, VMOs disqualified 19 horses that passed DQP inspections.  Those 19 horses had passed inspection 88 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 27 of those inspections.  Of the 134 entries, USDA VMOs took information on 12 potential scar rule violations.

That brings the total of horses disqualified by VMOs that have passed DQP inspections to 73.  Those 73 horses have passed inspection 327 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 199 of those inspections.

Previously, Walking Horse Report found that in 2015 USDA VMOs had been present for 4,397 inspections prior to The Celebration and took information on a total of 52 horses for potential scar rule violations.  In four evening performances and 536 entries at The Celebration, USDA VMOs have taken information on 51 potential scar rule violations, a rate 10x that of the entire show season prior to The Celebration.

The motivation for the behavior of the VMOs is unknown but the pressure on the USDA by the Humane Society of the United States appears to be a possible link.  The relationship of HSUS and the USDA has grown stronger under the leadership of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose wife aided in her election campaign in Iowa of $750,000 spent by HSUS to attack Republican candidate Steve King.  

As is common with HSUS, the 8 television stations that took advertisements from HSUS removed those ads later when it was found that they contained false information.  King went on to beat Vilsack in the election.

A more recent link to HSUS’ influence on Secretary Vilsack is Vilsack’s recent appointment of HSUS Chief Veterinarian Officer Dr. Michael Blackwell to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.  Dr. Blackwell was present at the teleconference HSUS conducted on the false and misleading undercover investigation of ThorSport farm last week.  All of the horses Blackwell commented on were found to be in perfect health and showed no signs of soring by an independent equine hospital.
 

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