Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2013
Cookeville, TN – Pat Stout, Vice President, Horse Shows Division of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed registry known as TWHBEA, announced that on September 20, 2013, she mailed a Post Card Ballot to all eligible voting TWHBEA members regarding a “POLL ON HR 1518/S.1406″.
Stout said she is asking the members to vote “YES” or “NO” on the following poll question:
“I am FOR passage of HR 1518/S. 1406 ““ “Prevent All Soring Tactics” Act to remove the pads and chains in order to end the public perception of soring and abuse presently associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breed, to eliminate HIOs and to increase penalties for soring”.
In announcing the Poll, Stout said, “I feel like the TWHBEA membership never gets a chance to directly voice their opinion on issues. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this question, and I believe it is important to let each member have their say on this paramount matter facing the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.”
Stout said she was going to “vote YES” on the Poll question, and she urged all members to vote their convictions on this matter.
Stout said, “I felt strongly about this issue, and I personally paid for the deposit required by the Cook and Company CPA firm in Arab, Alabama to count the votes. She said that the cost of mailing the cards was paid for by an annonymous individual. Stout said, “Cook and Company CPA firm will tabulate the “Poll on HR 1518/S. 1406″ ballots the same day that the TWHBEA Directors ballots are counted.” The ballots must be received by the certified public accounting firm of Cook and Company of Arab, Alabama on or before Tuesday, October 15, 2013.
TWHBEA BACKGROUND ON HR 1518/S. 1406
The background leading up to Stout’s decision to poll the membership is that on May 23, 2013, the Executive Committee of TWHBEA voted 7 ““ 4 to endorse HR 1518, Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, which was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on April 11, 2013, by Congressmen Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Steve Cohen (D-TN). Immediately following the Executive Committee meeting on May 25, 2013, a group of Directors unsuccessfully attempted to overrule the Executive Committee.
Following the meeting, on May 27, 2013, TWHBEA President Tracy Boyd issued a public statement explaining his vote to endorse HR 1518. Boyd cited the financial losses of the breed registry and said, “the image conveyed by our (padded) performance horse is no longer accepted in 2013″.
President Boyd said the reason that TWHBEA had suffered such drastic losses in revenue was “It is our reputation. It is soring. It is our image.” Boyd said that “the Tennessee Walking Horse breed had no friends (in the equine world) outside the Tennessee Walking Horse business.” He said “the World Equestrian Games refused our sponsorship and returned it to us”. Boyd concluded his statement by saying ” “¦ when you have lost the public, you have lost it all “¦ and we have clearly lost the public”.
Following the meeting, Tracy Boyd was fired by his employer, Baskin-Irby Construction over his decision to endorse HR 1518, and his public statement explaining his vote. Baskin ““ Irby was partly owned by Roger Baskin, son of Randall Baskin. Randall Baskin has an HPA violation history along with his horse “Mr. Heisman” and his Trainer Brandye Mills. Upon being fired, Tracy Boyd was hired by the TWHBEA Executive Committee on June 24, 2013 to become TWHBEA Executive Director taking the place of Ron Thomas who took early retirement.
The TWHBEA breed registry located in Lewisburg, Tennessee and founded in 1935, has fallen on hard times in recent years. The public has rejected the soring of the Tennessee Walking Horses being exhibited in the show ring, and this has caused the revenue stream to dry up. Breeders have stopped breeding their mares due to the uncertainty in the Tennessee Walking Horse business. TWHBEA’s cash flow depends directly on registration of colts born each year and transfers of ownership of horses.
The organization’s membership has declined from approximately 20,000 members at its peak 16 years ago to approximately 8,000 today. Foals registered each year have dropped from approximately 14,000 to 2,500, an all time low. Many horse shows have been cancelled due lack of public support as a result of the stigma caused by the soring of the horses which has become systemic over a number of years.
The breed organization has 6,945 members eligible to vote as of September 13, 2013. 6,673 are located in the United States, 126 in Canada and 146 scattered throughout the world including Israel and Australia.
In December 2012, a Mason-Dixon Poll of voters showed that 75% of Tennessee voters and 69% of Kentucky voters supported federal legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act, and 62% to 26% in Tennessee, and 45% to 36% in Kentucky, favored making horse soring a felony offense.
Presently, 151 Congressmen now co-sponsor HR 1518, Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. The Bill was referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee, sub committee Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade chaired by Lee Terry (R-NE). A companion bill, S. 1406, was introduced in the U. S. Senate on July 31, 2013. Congressional Hearings are expected to be held soon on the matter. It will take 218 Congressmen to bring the Bill to the House Floor for a vote.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SUPPORTING HR 1518/S. 1406
The following organizations and individuals are among a large number which have endorsed the passage of HR 1518/S.1406:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (83,000 members)
American Association of Equine Practitioners
The American Horse Council
United States Equestrian Federation
The American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals.
The Humane Society of the United States
American Quarter Horse Association
American Saddlebred Horse Association
American Morgan Horse Association
American Paint Horse Association
Appaloosa Horse Club
Former United States Senator Joseph Tydings, Author of HPA in 1970
Marty Irby, Past President of TWHBEA (2010 -2012)
Chuck Cadle, Former Executive Director, TWHBEA
Clay Harlin, Pastor, Former Harlinsdale Farm & TWHBEA Executive
Gary Lane, Gaited Horse Clinician
Teresa Bippen, President, Friends of Sound Horses
Pat Parelli, Natural Horsemanship Training
Monty Roberts, Horse Whisperer