NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessean reporter Heidi Hall interviewed Steve Smith for a November 29, 2013 article.
Heidi Hall reported: “Smith said he may have gotten that ticket “” it has been 26 years, and he doesn’t remember “” but he was never charged with any Horse Protection Act violations.”
who testified before Congress supporting the passage of the HR 1518, PAST Act, took issue with Smith’s saying he had never been charged with a Horse Protection Act violation. Benefield apparently recalled in 1996 that Steve Smith had denied he was charged with a Horse Protection Act violation. Benefield immediately contacted Rachel Cezar, DVM National Horse Protection Program Coordinator/USDA for clarification:
Here is the e-mail exchange between Donna Benefield and Dr.Cezar:
Dr. Cezar confirmed that a HIO/DQP ticket is a Horse Protection Act Violation.
U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s position regarding HR 1518/S.1406 PAST Act becomes more and more pressurized and conflicted every day with Alexander’s $ 3 million dollar Campaign Chairman Steve Smith being labeled by the USDA as having received a Horse Protection Act violation notice, and Smith having denied it on the questionnaire then to a member of the press.
Steve Smith appeared to speak for Senator Alexander when he said, “I don’t know why Lamar doesn’t support it, but if you listen to the hearing that was had on the Whitfield bill, it would wreck the industry as we have it today,” Smith said. “We’re 98.5 percent in full compliance at our largest show, where every horse is checked by the federal government, so (lawmakers) probably need to worry about something else more than that.”
Hall reported that “Alexander’s spokesman issued a statement Wednesday that sidestepped the issue of Smith and said the senator is reviewing the committee testimony.”
The Tennessean newspaper on November 20, 2013 lambasted Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) for “embarrassing” Tennessee by “remaining silent” on HR 1518/S.1406, and called it a “sad statement”. Meanwhile the rest of America and the world calls for an end to the soring Big Lick and the humane treatment of horses – in the show ring and at the barn.
The Big Lick response is like the tail attempting to wag the dog on this issue. A Change.org Petition Opposing HR 1518/S1406 has been going a week and has stalled out at only 1,130 signatures. Senators Alexander and Corker are looking at a Mason – Dixon Poll where by a 5 – 1 margin Tennesseans want the horse soring to stop.
The national and international scrutiny continues to grow.
Smith’s game plan appears to be coronated as TWHBEA President on December 7, 2013 in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Then on December 10, 2013, he and a bunch of good ole Licker boys will head up to Washington, DC and tell lawmakers that:
- TWHBEA opposes HR 1518/S.1406,
- Falsely claim a 98.5% compliance
- Try to snooker some folks into believing stopping soring will hurt Tennessee’s economy when all that is necessary for Tennessee’s economy to prosper is to free the breed from the stigma of soring and embrace this as the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.
Smith is also faced with the fact that on October 15, 2013, TWHBEA members voted an overwhelming 63% in favor of passage of HR 1518 with an outstanding 26% of the membership participating in a poll of 6,945 voting eligible members.
In the old days, Smith would bring a Big Lick entourage and arrive in politician’s offices and they would bow and scrape to him expecting a campaign contribution. This time, TWHBEA President Steve Smith along with Senator Lamar Alexander can be prepared to face the national, international and Tennessee press which will have some pointed questions for him and the Senator.
Informed observers believe Steve Smith would be doing Senator Lamar Alexander a considerable favor to either step down as Alexander’s Campaign Chairman or else not run for President of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breed registry. People who know him say It’s hard to believe that Senator Lamar Alexander will allow himself to be “bitted” to go to work for the sore Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse.
This controversy promises to only grow larger and larger with each passing day.