WASHINGTON, DC – HR 1518 blew through the 218 Co-Sponsor ceiling like it wasn’t even there.
There’s now more than enough House Co-Sponsors to get the measure to the House Floor and the supporters are fast approaching the 240 votes necessary to pass it.
Informed sources say that Congressional Hearings on the Bill will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
A tenative line-up of Witnesses speaking for the Bill include:
JAY HICKEY, PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN HORSE COUNCIL
DONNA BENEFIELD, EQUINE EXPERT AND CONSULTANT TO TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBRATION (2010)
“Big Lick” experts expected to oppose HR 1518, Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, include:
JEFFREY HOWARD, PSHA SPOKESPERSON, EDITOR, THE WALKING HORSE REPORT
KATHLEEN SPEARS, PSHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BASED IN LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY
JOHN BENNETT,DVM – SHELBYVILLE VETERINARIAN – TESTIFIED IN LARRY JOE WHEELON PRELIMINARY HEARING
National and international scrutiny of the Congressional Hearings is expected and witnesses testifying for both sides are expected to face tough questioning from Congressmen.
Representative Marsha Blackburnis the leading opponent and is Vice Chairman of the House Energy And Commerce Committee. Blackburn grilled Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius this past week on Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare), and is also expected to give it a go with the Bill
THe Bill’s passage is buoyed by the landslide vote by 63% of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed registry (TWHBEA) members
who participated in an Opinion Poll which endorsed Passage of the HR 1518/S.1406. An outstanding 26% of the TWHBEA membership voted in the Poll. 6,945 postcard ballots were mailed to the TWHBEA members on September 20, 2013. The deadline for the ballots to be returned to Greg Cook, CPA was October 15, 2013. 1,795 of the ballots were counted by Cook and Co and certified poll results were released on October 17, 2013 with 1,132 voting YES and 663 voting NO. The poll results were offered first to TWHBEA, however, the TWHBEA Executive Committee, now controlled by Big Lick interests, refused to publish the Poll Results on the TWHBEA website and Facebook page.
It is expected that, along with the expert testimony to be presented, the 63% landslide TWHBEA poll results regarding passage of HR 1518 will be particularly persuasive to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, on Manufacturing and Trade.
LEADING TENNESSEE NEWSPAPER – CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS – ENDORSED PASSAGE OF HR 1518/S.1406
published Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
Walking horse poll pans use of pads
This Tennessee walking horse is fitted with pads but not chains.
“Some weeks ago, the nation’s largest Tennessee walking horse group locked in an uproar only slightly less acrimonious than the government shutdown after an executive committee member sponsored her own poll to see how 6,945 members feel about the use of padded shoes and ankle chains “” instruments horse advocates say hide evidence of soring.
Soring is the use of chemicals and contraband items to encourage Tennessee walking horses to step higher and farther to exaggerate the breed’s natural gait. The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’s executive committee voted in May to support a federal bill that would ban the much-debated pads and chains, but the association’s full board of directors voted not to ratify that action.
Supporters of the bill say the equipment encourages soring and that banning it will restore public confidence in the industry. Detractors say pads and chains are harmless, and removing them will cause fans to turn away from horse shows.
Pat Stout, of Cookeville, Tenn., the association’s vice president for horse shows, took the poll question into her own hands. She paid to mail out postage-paid polling cards and asked members to mark yes or no to the statement: “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 (organizations with lay inspectors rather than federal inspectors) and to increase penalties for soring.”
The cards were to be returned to a certified public accountant in Arab, Ala., by Oct. 15.
On Thursday, Stout released an Oct. 16 letter from that CPA, who certified tabulation of the poll results: 1,795 people, or 26 percent of the TWHBEA members, voted. A majority 63 percent, or 1,132, said they support the bill to ban pads and chains. Nearly 37 percent, or 663, voted “no.”
On Friday, the Tennessee Walking Horse Report, a magazine and online trade publication owned and operated by the David Howard family, active members in the Tennessee walking horse industry, sent out an email titled “TWHBEA Comments on Recent Membership Mailer.”
“In the coming days, you will most likely see the publication of results of a post card mailer that was previously sent with the TWHBEA logo, which was not authorized by the executive committee nor is it a work product of TWHBEA,” the email states. The unsigned message states, “TWHBEA makes no request or requirement that you answer this mailer or do anything whatsoever with the mailer, and you can certainly throw it away if you want.”
The message indicates the card’s mailing is under investigation and the organization suggests “irregularities” in the card’s distribution.
“The bill … has many parts, and we feel that an adequate survey would have addressed the individual components of the bill, giving our members an opportunity to express their true feelings on the various aspects of the proposed legislation. … Please be aware that any publication of the results is not a TWHBEA product,” the email reads.
Stout and her CPA have documents verifying the mail-out numbers, and a 26 percent response to any poll is considered outstanding.
It would seem the members of the Tennessee Walking Horse group that provides the breed’s birth lines and registry have spoken. They want a cleaner sport, and they believe the way to get it is to outlaw pads and chains and make soring a felony.”
This is a developing story.