WASHINGTON, DC – Does U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack need to “shakeup” the Horse Protection end of his operation, starting with APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea and all those working under him?
USDA ORGANIZATIONAL CHART – CHAIN OF COMMAND
THE PEOPLE AT USDA
TOM VILSACK, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
KRYSTA HARDEN, DEPUTY SECRETARY
KEVIN SHEA, APHIS ADMINSTRATOR
CHESTER GIPSON, DVM, DEPUTY APHIS ADMINISTRATOR
RACHEL CEZAR, HORSE PROTECTION COORDINATOR
QUESTIONS – APHIS ADMIN. KEVIN SHEA ON CELEBRATION’S S.H.O.W HIO
- Why do you allow David L. Howard and the sore Big Lick Celebration owned S.H.O.W. HIO to get away with “Bloody Murder” when it comes to your enforcing the Horse Protection Act?
REPRESENTING CELEBRATION OWNED S.H.O.W. HIO
- Why do you stand by while SHOW HIO claims a “partnership” with USDA and a strong “working relationship” with USDA when its conduct is so bad you have to decertify it?
- Why do you discriminate against the other compliant HIOS which have uploaded the Minimum Penalties into the USDA HPA database?
- Why aren’t you publicly criticizing S.H.O.W. HIO for not uploading the 139 HPA violations subject to the mandated Minimum Penalties to the USDA HPA Database?
- Or better yet, just pick up the telephone and call David L. Howard and John T. Bobo and tell them to do it or else.
- How can anyone take seriously your upholding the public trust to protect the horses when you appear to be playing games by not making the Complaint to decertify S.H.O.W. HIO public the day it was filed, rather than forcing people to FOIA you for it?
- And wonder if a deal has been cut to allow the sore Big Lick to continue “business as usual” under another name?
- Why haven’t you made public the sore Big Lick application to certify Independent Inspection Services, LLC HIO instead of forcing people to FOIA you for it?
- Is your standard to enforce the Horse Protection Act to just “regulate soring” or is it to “eliminate the cruel and inhumane practice of soring” to which Dr. Gipson gave lip service in his May 2009 letter to Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows, SHOW HIO?
Mr. Shea, how can you possibly expect the public to have any confidence in what you are doing when it learns that now in February 2014, Mr. Howard’s Celebration S.H.O.W. HIO has not and contumaciously refuses to upload the 139 HPA violations from July 2012 to September 2013 to the USDA HPA Database?
Instead, apparently S.H.O.W. HIO just delivers a bunch of papers to your office in Washington, DC and basically plops them down on your floor and essentially says “Here, you want them entered? You load the dang papers. We’re SHOW HIO and we don’t have to do it.”
Mr. Shea, what are you going to do about it?
Why haven’t they been entered?
When will they be entered?
Or are they just going to sit there on the floor?
How are you going to enforce the Minimum Penalties which ARE federal law when there is no record in the USDA HPA database showing that these 139 HPA violations and the attendant Minimum Penalties exist?
What is going to happen to those HPA violators with Minimum Penalties if S.H.O.W HIO is decertified?
What kind of deterrent and example is your conduct to those people who think they are above the law and can hurt horses with impunity?
This is YOUR responsibility.
You ARE APHIS Administrator.
It is going on under your watch???
Mr. Shea, isn’t it time for you to stop waffling and, instead of acting like a Washington DC pointy headed bureaucrat, to please step up and fulfill the public trust placed in you?
The public lost a lot of confidence in you when it learned that following the Celebration, a conference call apparently took place with Mr. Howard’s Celebration/PSHA gang and one of your Deputy Administrators allegedly suggested to the sore Big Lick cast of characters that they could get around S.H.O.W HIO being decertified, by just applying for certification under a different name.
And Mr. Shea, isn’t that exactly what they did under the name of Independent Inspection Services, LLC HIO?
Why won’t you make the application public, and confirm that the key person on the application was former Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows on whose watch part of the 139 HPA Violations for which S.H.O.W. HIO occurred.
Or do you just hope to sweep it under the rug.
THAT application has been FOIAed.
Are you telling that FOIA folks that some “state secret” is involved and not to release it?
Mr. Shea, is it no wonder that you have no credibility about being serious about enforcing the Horse Protection Act based on everything I have asked you here.
But I am not through.
QUESTIONS FOR APHIS ADMIN. KEVIN SHEA ON HEART OF AMERICA HIO
Why haven’t you decertified Heart of America HIO?
Has it refused to accept the mandated Minimum Penalties for the past two years?
Why did you approve The USDA last week setting a DQP Training session for Heart of America HIO DQPs in Bolivar, Missouri for March 1, 2014 to be supervised by USDA VMO (Veterinary Medical Officer)?
Are you going to allow and approve Heart of America HIO to inspect Tennessee Walking Horses for the THIRD straight year while it blatantly thumbs its nose at the USDA enforcing the Horse Protection Act?
How can you expect the USDA to have any credibility for enforcing the Horse Protection Act when you don’t file a Complaint to decertify Heart of America HIO?
Mr. Shea, I am sure that my questions irritate you.
Frankly sir, I don’t give a darn.
I want them to irritate you until you do your job, or else have your superiors or United States Congressmen and United States Senators ask you why you are not doing your job.
Please let me share with you a Press Release issued on behalf of the sore Big Lick which irritated me.
THE CELEBRATION -S.H.O.W.HIO PRESS STATEMENT BY PURPLE STRATEGIES
Chris Mather, 703-548-7877
SHOW HIO COMMENTS ON USDA INSPECTION NUMBERS FOR 75TH TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBERATION
Shelbyville, TN ““ Today the SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO) commented on recently posted inspections results by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the 75th Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. Last week, SHOW released the industry’s inspection results from the event, the details of which are below.
“Working with the USDA (THEY ARE NOT EVEN UPLOADING THE 139 HPA VIOLATIONS IN THE USDA DATABASE) we are making incredible progress in ensuring that the walking horse is protected and the integrity of the sport (WHAT INTEGRITY OF WHAT SPORT????) maintained,” said SHOW HIO Head Designated Qualified Person (DQP) Mitchell Butler.
2013 Celebration USDA Inspection Numbers
Horses Inspected Pre and Post-Show ““ 1,952
Total Violations ““ 110 (70 ON USDA???? AND 30 ON SHOW???? – AND USDA WON’T TELL HOW MANY IT ACTUALLY INSPECTED SO YOU CAN GET TRUE NUMERS? IF THE USDA WAS WORTH A DARN IT WOULD TELL HOW MANY PADDED HORSES WERE INSPECTED AND HOW MANY OF THE VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THOSE)
Compliance Rate ““ 94%
There was a 33% drop in violations from 2012 when the USDA found 166 violations for a 9% violation rate. In 2011, the USDA found 203 violations for a 9.5% violation rate.
2013 Celebration Industry Inspection Results.
Horses Inspected Pre and Post-Show ““ 2,087 (USDA COULD TELL HOW MANY FLAT AND HOW MANY PADDED)
Total Violations ““ 31 (30 horses, 6 non-Horse Protection Act violations)
Compliance Rate ““ 98.4%
There was a 46% drop in disqualifications this year compared to 2012 in which 56 horses were disqualified at The Celebration.
Walking Horse Inspections Background
The following is some background on the inspection process:
“¢ Every horse at The Celebration is inspected by SHOW HIO’s Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs). The USDA can and does inspect horses that the department feels need to be inspected. (SO WHY DOESN’T USDA TELL HOW MANY IT INSPECTED??? IS IT AFRAID OF BEING HARD ON THE DEAR DEAR SORE HORSE MUNCHKINS OR GOD FORBID MAKING SOMEBODY MAD?)
“¢ Horses can be disqualified for equipment that is the wrong size, existence of a scar or callous, evidence of a foreign substance, among other things. There are many violations that a horse can get that are not indicative of soring.
“¢ DQPs are trained and regulated by the USDA.
“¢ DQPs can issue a violation, which keeps the horse from showing. Violations can also carry penalties.
“¢ No other breed in the equine industry is inspected as thoroughly as the Tennessee walking horse and no other breed has a compliance rate as high as the walking horse.
“¢ Walking horses are one of the healthiest equine breeds showing longer than most breeds, living longer and also less injuries in the ring.
SHOW is the HIO that manages inspections at The Celebration, in partnership with the USDA. (WHY DOES USDA LEND ITSELF TO THAT PARTNERSHIP CRAP??? ARE THEY “PARTNERS” WITH TYSON FOODS WHEN THEY INSPECT CHICKENS OR ARMOUR MEATS WHEN THEY INSPECT CATTLE? DO TYSON AND ARMOUR PUT OUT PRESS RELEASES TALKING ABOUT “PARTNERSHIPS”? YOUR CELEBRATION SHOW HIO PARTNER DOESN’T EVEN GIVE YOU THE COURTESY TO UPLOAD THE HPA VIOLATIONS TO YOUR HPA DATABASE – WHAT DO THE REST OF THE HIOS DO???)) SHOW HIO has the strictest inspections in the walking horse industry, and the harshest penalties, even tougher than the USDA. Last year, reformers in the industry set out to get as many shows as possible inspected by one HIO and this year, which SHOW did for more than 85% of the walking horse shows were.
Mr. Shea, I understand that you and Dr. Gipson make excuses that one of the problems in your getting things done is that Office of General Counsel Attorney Frank Martin, Jr. doesn’t have the fire in his belly to do his job.
What is this about?
Mr. Shea, the way things work in the “real world” is you pick up the telephone and call Mr. Martin and say, “Hey Frank, This is Kevin, and I need you to draw up a Complaint to decertify Heart of America HIO, and I need it on my desk for my signature on Friday, February 14, 2014.”
And if Frank doesn’t get you what you need, you call up his boss, the General Counsel Ramona Romero, Esq., and tell her that Frank isn’t getting the job done, and that you would appreciate it if she would see if she can motivate him or assign an attorney to you who will keep you from looking like you are in somebody’s hip pocket for not taking action against folks are are violating the Horse Protection Act Congress mandated that you enforce.
Mr. Shea, have you done any of this?
It’s going on three years and Heart of America is just happily thumbing its nose at you.
I learned last week that you are going to validate its misconduct by your scheduling DQP straining for them on March 1, 2014 with a USDA vet supervising it.
So they can go on for another year “inspecting” horses with enforcing the Minimum Penalties.
That is absurdly ridiculous!
There is also word that Mr. Martin likes to clear his HPA violation docket backlog by issuing “7060” Letters of Warning which the recipient gets and promptly throws in the waste basket.
A “7060″ is generated when a USDA VMO finds a violation of the Horse Protection Act and takes information regarding it. The information gets turned over and it eventually winds up on Mr. Martin’s desk. A “7060”warning letter is basically worth a cup of warm spit, and the Walking Horse Trainer Boyz use them to line bird cages.
Who is the genius who came up with these “7060” letters of warning?
Mr. Shea, isn’t there a regulation/policy that if an offender gets four “7060” Warning Letters, on the next violation they are supposed to have a Federal Case filed against them?
How many federal cases have been filed under this regulation/policy?
Or are you so busy “passing the buck” that you haven’t even looked into this?
Mr. Shea, it appears somebody at USDA needs to have their butts chewed, salary docked, demoted or perhaps worse.
What are you going to do about getting this mess straightened out and when are you going to do it?