WASHINGTON, DC  ““ FOSH President  Teresa Bippen, one of the invited witnesses to testify before the House Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee,  writes APHIS Administrator  Kevin Shea  citing reasons that David L. Howard’s Celebration  sore crowd should not be allowed have its own HIO.   Bippen urges Shea to not permit the Celebration owned S.H.O.W. HIO to reemerge as Independent Inspections Services, LLC HIO headed by former Celebration CEO Doyle Meadows, minion of David L. Howard.

Dear Mr. Shea,
I am writing because of recent news in a PSHA press release that Independent Inspection Services  will possibly be approved by the USDA to operate a certified DQP program and I have heard that Doyle Meadows will be involved.    FOSH strongly objects to Mr. Meadows having any role in an HIO due to his previous failure in operating SHOW.    Mr. Meadows may not have an HPA violation; however, he is one of the least capable individuals who should oversee management of an HIO.    The purpose of the HIO is to enforce the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and as you will see below, SHOW was an utter failure in this regard.
Mr. Meadows’ Operation and Management of a HIO (SHOW)
·                  Under Dr. Meadows’ tenure, SHOW refused to sign onto the mandatory penalties.    With SHOW’s weak and even nonexistent penalties (back to the trailer), hundreds of individuals repeatedly violated the HPA and exhibited sored horses week after week.
·                  Under Dr. Meadows’ leadership, SHOW issued public statements during the 2012 Celebration stating that outside veterinarians were brought in to refute inspections of USDA VMOs.    These actions severely undermined the USDA’s efforts to enforce the HPA and were highly humiliating to the USDA and other HIOs that have followed USDA requirements for inspections.    The end result damaged USDA enforcement as HPA violators were emboldened to continue soring which is still occurring.
·                  Also during the 2012 Celebration, Dr. Meadows publicly announced a swabbing initiative wherein he announced that every horse would be swabbed.    This statement deliberately misled the USDA, exhibitors and the public into believing that every swab would be tested.    In reality, only two swabs per class were tested, and the results did not match the USDA results as SHOW only found two positive foreign substance cases while the USDA found over 170!    Such blatant misrepresentation of the facts and the failure to accurately report the swabbing results speaks volumes about Dr. Meadows’ inability to operate an HIO that meets legal requirements.
·                  With Dr. Meadows at the helm of SHOW, SHOW failed to input HPA violations into the USDA database.    This created a huge burden upon the USDA with backlogged SHOW suspensions while all compliant HIOs timely input their violations into the database so that suspensions could be served, and the public informed.    All other HIOs were unaware of SHOW violations and suspensions as they were unavailable to other HIOs in a timely manner.    For the HPA to be effective, there MUST be transparency regarding violations and suspensions issued by an HIO.
·                  SHOW inspections were weak to nonexistent.    This becomes apparent when the violation rate is 500% – 1000% greater when the USDA is in attendance at SHOW inspections.    Dr. Meadows was directly responsible for ensuring that inspections were undertaken according to USDA and HPA requirements so why did his HIO have the worst inspection record in the industry?    Did he not understand inspection protocol or the purpose of inspections?    Why did he not make any effort to improve his HIO’s inspections when they were not undertaken according to USDA requirements?    He allowed this disparity to exist during his entire tenure.
·                  Who will be licensed as Independent Inspection Services  DQPs?    Will it be the  same  individuals with the worst inspection records in the industry who were managed by Doyle Meadows previously?


 Lee McGartland
It was also reported that Lee McGartland would be involved in the new HIO.    FOSH strongly objects to Ms. McGartland’s involvement in any HIO due to her HPA violation record and that of her immediate family.    Not only that, Ms. McGartland received a USDA issued 7060, Letter of Warning, which the USDA has assured us is a strong penalty and enforcement tool.    The USDA should honor its own enforcement system and not allow any individual with a 7060 to be involved in an HIO.    An individual with a 7060 has a serious conflict of interest, and the USDA OIG report focused heavily on the industry’s conflicts of interest and how they have led to failure of the HIO system.
PSHA Principal
HPA Violations (
Letters of Warning
Lee McGartland
Mike McGartland (Lee’s husband)
Lee Wall (maiden name)
Rosser Wall (father of Lee)
Before closing, I will add that FOSH appreciates the USDA’s due diligence before approving any HIO for operating a DQP inspection program.    FOSH also believes it is not the responsibility of the USDA to prop up the performance horse industry by assuring them that they can have their “own” HIO.    There are two HIOs available to inspect performance horses””International Walking Horse Association and DQP Services.    Adding another HIO which has such major conflicts of interest will not save the industry and will only prolong the soring tragedy of the Tennessee Walking Horse which is now national news in the equine industry.
I have also attached a link to a published interview with Bill Harlin, an icon in the Walking Horse industry wherein he discusses the demise of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.    He does not condemn inspections, the HPA or the USDA–he condemns soring.    As long as enforcement is weak, soring will continue and the Walking Horse demise will continue.
Teresa Bippen
President, FOSH
Billy Go Boy Note:
Another option available to APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse and to  ELIMINATE soring, rather than REGULATE soring as he is doing now, was reported this week in the “Shelbyville NOW” publication.
“PAST Act: Not Required for Removal of Pads and Action Devices

February 11, 2014
Shelbyville Now has been taking a close look at the PAST Act (HR 1518 & S 1406) and the HPA over the last few weeks and has stumbled upon some very interesting information contained in the Federal Register Vol. 44, No. 83.

In 1979, rules and regulations were placed into the Federal Register that allow APHIS (Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service) to eliminate pads, wedges and action Devices if it so chooses.   The Summary attached to the document says it this way:

“….if the horse industry makes no effort to establish a workable self-regulatory program for the elimination of sore horses, or if such program is established but does not succeed in eliminating the sore horse problem within a reasonable length of time the Department will give serious consideration to the prohibition of all action devices and pads…..

How can this be done?
The Horse Protection Act that was signed into law in 1970 contains the wording as follows:

1828. Rules and Regulations

    The Secretary is authorized to issue such rules and regulations as he deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
The regulations are under full authority of the Secretary of Agriculture. If he deems it necessary to make a change for better enforcement,   there is a process that allows for public hearings and the adoption of new regulations as he sees fit.”

There is nothing to stop that from happening today.

So, it appears the PAST Act, (HR1581 & S1406) doesn’t have to be passed for the action devices or performance package to be removed.   It could happen with the stroke of a pen by the Secretary of Agriculture.”

When David L. Howard’s “chain necklace” troupe of Jeffrey Howard (PSHA Spokesperson and WHR Editor),  Trainer Boyz President Mickey McCormick and “Bahgdad Bob” MIke Inman gets back to Shelbyville from Washington, DC,  they might check out what Dave Thomas has published in Shelbyville NOW and take heed.