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USDA shares “how to video” on horse inspections



The United States Department of Agriculture posted a “how to” video on inspecting Tennessee Walking Horses who perform in the show ring. The intent of the video is to bring about uniformity among anyone authorized to inspect horses, whether it be an inspector with the USDA (known as a veterinary medical officer (VMO) or a designated qualified person (DQP).

Bernadette Juarez, the deputy administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been the driving force behind an effort to renew focus on what’s known as the Scar Rule — and making sure all inspectors receive the same training on how horse inspections should be performed. This effort began at training held earlier this year.

DQPs inspect horses at every show — before they show, with winners also being inspected post-show. In the instance where the USDA is present at a show, VMOs (in addition to DQPs) often inspect a subset of horses pre-show and some post-show.

The accuracy and consistency of the entire inspection process — and in particular how it relates to the Scar Rule — has been an area of contention within the industry as it lends itself to subjectivity. Rather than specific scientific testing, inspectors can issue a Scar Rule (or sensitivity) violation based on their own evaluation of a horse’s pastern area after examining and palpating it. The video demonstrates some of the training, from earlier this year, VMOs and DQPs received on how to perform inspections to eliminate some of that subjectivity.

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 and the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

Click here to see the video.

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