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VAC Hosts Educational Symposium

The Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) hosted trainers, owners and veterinarians for an educational symposium on the drug and medication guidelines for the upcoming Celebration.  VAC spokesperson Tom Blankenship opened the symposium with an overview of the purpose and handed out the mission statement of the VAC.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, chairman of the VAC along with Dr. John O'Brien, the show veterinarian at the upcoming Celebration answered questions regarding the new protocols and took notes on concerns raised during the meeting.  Approximately 50 industry participants attended the meeting and asked very detailed questions regarding the care of their horses.

To view the new protocols visit the VAC web site at  The following handout was distributed at the meeting:



In 2014 the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration requested the formation of a group of totally independent, non-conflicted, highly qualified and renowned equine veterinarian experts, to be established for the purpose of elevating and enhancing the welfare of all horses competing at the 2014 Walking Horse National Celebration.  Upon identification of qualified veterinarians, a Committee was established, known as the Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC), to independently establish objective testing procedures and other recommendations utilizing generally accepted veterinarian medical principles which could exceed any requirement of the Horse Protection Act or its regulations which in the VAC’s sole discretion would enhance the welfare of the horse.

As a result, the Veterinary Advisory Committee was formed and has as its sole mission to develop and implement objective testing protocols, monitoring procedures, stabling requirements, drug and medication guidelines, in a totally independent, fair, equitable and objective manner, avoiding all conflicts of interest.  As a condition of serving, the VAC members require absolute and total independence.  

The VAC is not involved and does not participate in any HIO or USDA inspection procedures, but separately and independently performs additional objective tests, including but not limited to, drug and medication testing and digital x-rays which in the Veterinary Advisory Committee’s sole discretion will  enhance the welfare of the horse.

It is also the mission of the VAC that a new HIO be established pursuant to the USDA guidelines with the purpose of utilizing highly skilled, non-conflicted decision makers being advised by highly trained and knowledgeable equine veterinarian professionals to enact programs and procedures which are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act and its Regulations and such additional standards and practices which place the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse as a priority.  Further, the mission of this HIO is to eliminate uncertainty of pre-show inspection by utilizing professional, non-conflicted, trained individuals, blood testing and other objective testing rules and standards adopted which are consistent with generally accepted veterinarian principals which exceed the requirements of the Horse Protection Act and enhance the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse in shows, sales and exhibitions.

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