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USDA posts video about inspections




The United States Department of Agriculture has posted a “how to” video on inspecting Tennessee Walking Horses who perform in the show ring. The intent of the video is to accomplish uniformity among anyone authorized to inspect the horses.

Last year, Bernadette Juarez, the deputy administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), spear-headed an effort to renew focus on what’s known as the Scar Rule — and making sure anyone authorized to inspect horses received the same training in exactly how inspections should be performed.

Inspectors from the USDA are referred to as veterinary medical officers, or VMOs. When the USDA officers are not present at shows, other inspectors, called designated qualified persons, or DQPs, are able to act on behalf of the USDA and perform inspections.

In particular, the Scar Rule has been an area of contention within the industry as it lends itself to subjectivity in the inspection process. Rather than specific scientific testing, inspectors can issue a Scar Rule violation based on their own evaluation of a horse’s pastern area after examining and palpating it. Last year, Juarez ensured both VMOs and DQPs received the same training on how to perform these inspections to help eliminate subjectivity and develop. The video demonstrates some of that training.

Juarez’s role with APHIS began in 2016, with her primary mission being to lead the program’s many employees in protecting and ensuring welfare of millions of animals nationwide that are covered under the Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

Click here to see the video.

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