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Walking Horse Industry Expresses Disappointment in Yoho’s Advocacy of Humane Society Legislation



Leaders of the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry expressed disappointment in Florida Congressman Ted Yoho’s filing of legislation authored by the Humane Society of the United States that would effectively eliminate 85% of the show horses performing today and cost taxpayers millions of dollars through increased federal inspectors and Department of Justice attorneys.
 
“I’ve heard Ted Yoho give speeches in Washington criticizing the very things that his bill for the Humane Society will result in,” said Terry Dotson, Chairman of the Performance Show Horse Association.  “I am still very surprised that someone like Cong. Yoho, knowing the importance of agriculture in his district, would become the sponsor of legislation that is the Humane Society of the United States’ #1 legislative priority.”

H.R. 3268, introduced by Yoho last week, would eliminate pads and action devices that have been utilized by the Walking Horse Industry for years.  Additionally, the legislation meets another primary objective of the Humane Society by eliminating weighted shoes which would effectively end all competition in all breeds if applied across the board.  Finally, the bill eliminates the industry-based inspection and penalties and turns those functions over to new government inspectors and new Department of Justice Attorneys.

“We are disappointed that Rep. Yoho chose to ignore science and sound veterinarian practices and succumbed to the pressure of the liberal Humane Society of the United States to introduce their flawed piece of legislation.  HSUS continues to do anything it can to end the showing of horses and for any veterinarian to join their team is alarming,” said National Celebration CEO Mike Inman.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Industry supports almost 20,000 jobs in Tennessee, Kentucky and other states across the southeast.  It’s economic impact of approximately $3 billion dollars is second only to the thoroughbred racing industry in impact and its’ importance to rural communities across these states is reflected in the long-standing shows such as the Tennessee Walking Horse  National Celebration that have been occurring for 77 years and for the industry’s support of charities such as Lions Club International.

The Humane Society of the United States began this legislative assault on the industry 3 years ago and the industry, through strong Congressional support from the Tennessee and Kentucky delegations, were able to fight back this attack on agriculture and, simultaneously, put forth legislation that would continue the industry’s commitment to reform and modernized objective testing and inspections that it has been implementing.  “This legislation impacts Tennessee and Kentucky agriculture families more than anyone else and I think it is telling that the only support that the Humane Society and Cong. Yoho can generate from those states are the liberal Democrats from big cities.  People like Cong. Hal Rogers and Cong. Marsha Blackburn understand the liberal anti-agriculture agenda of the Humane Society and what this bill will do to our farming communities and they have stood by us and worked with us to help put common-sense reforms in to place for our industry in order to protect our horses.” said Dotson.  

Another key member of the Walking Horse industry stated that “The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association fully supports objective, science-based inspection protocols that produce a predictable pre-show inspection.  The welfare of all Tennessee Walking Horses, in any discipline, is a primary concern of TWHBEA and we thank Senator Lamar Alexander for the introduction of common-sense legislation that ensure the welfare of those horses competing,” said TWHBEA Deputy Executive Director Rory Williams.

“This bill was written by the Humane Society and it’s their Number One Legislative Priority in their anti-farm agenda and, unfortunately, Cong. Yoho has decided that supporting them and their agenda is more important than protecting farm families across the rural United States.” said Dotson.  “Again, we’re very disappointed that he’s taken this action but we will be working hard to defeat this legislation and making sure that common-sense reforms and protections for our horses are put in to place.”

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