SHELBYVILLE, TN – The Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) alternative Bill to the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act is dead on arrival. It is the sore Big Lick’s last gasp attempt to position itself to try to effect a compromise where the PAST Act is concerned. There will be no compromise on the reduced size of the pads package or the elimination of the chains (action device) or the elimination of the corrupt HIO system.
By Blackburn introducing HR 4098, the sore Big Lick hoped to reach a compromise on the size of the package and an ersatz action device. It also wants a specified weight for weighted show for the flat shod/pleasure classes. That is possible.
Seasoned observers believe the soring went on for too long and it will not now be possible at this point for the Lickers to be able to force any type of compromise. They have no credibility and Representative Blackburn does not provide the gravitas necessary to provide it.
The American Horse Council representing all the breeds has been clear about what will be acceptable. The AHC is backed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Equine Practitioners Association.
The American people demand real change.
The United States is behind the PAST ACT.
46 U.S. Senators
264 U. S. Representatives
Representative Blackburn was especially combative with James J. Hickey, President of the American Horse Council at the November 13, 2013 Congressional Hearing. By all accounts, Hickey got the best of the exchange and at the end of it, Representative Blackburn came across as shrill and testy.
Since the November hearing, many of Blackburn’s Tennessee constituents have let her know that they favor the PAST ACT as being in the best interest of the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.
One is legendary W. W. “Bill” Harlin of Franklin, Tennessee, who favors the PAST ACT. “Tennessee is getting a reputation as a horse abuse state”. Harlin said, “Self-regulation will never work, It hasn’t for over 40 years. There needs to be a super enforcement agency, independent and out of the hands of breeders, exhibitors and trainers, where money can change hands.”
Harlin supports PAST ACT, a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act, “to save our breed”.
Blackburn’s bill favors one HIO with political appointments and consultation with the WHTA officials who had indicted Larry Joe Wheelon as its Ethics Chairman.(innocent until proven guilty). David L. Howard favors the ONE HIO because it will allow him to retain control and influence which helps him keep his Cash Cow well fed.
THE USDA – APHIS ADMINISTRATORS
Under Blackburn’s bill the USDA would continue its “regulating soring” role. Under the PAST ACT, the USDA would be charged with “eliminating soring” So far, under APHIS Administrators Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM, the USDA has maintained a herky jerky “compromised” “meandering” mediocre approach at best in cracking down on the sore Big Lick to eliminate the soring and abuse. . APHIS Administrators Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM have apparently become comfortable “regulating” the soring – not taking the measures to eliminate it.
Blackburn Amendment HR 4098:
“Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) has introduced H.R. 4098 that will amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The legislation, named the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013, will focus on the elimination of the current Horse Industry Organization (HIO) system and create a single, independent HIO to enforce the HPA across the entire Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse industries.
The Horse Protection Amendments Act will also create objective, science-based inspection protocols to replace the current subjective protocols being used. The protocols will be “conducted using only inspection methods based on science-based protocols (including swabbing or blood testing protocols) that ““
(A) have been the subject of testing and are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results;
(B) have been subjected to peer review; and
(C) have received acceptance in the veterinary or other applicable scientific community.”
Within 180 days of enactment of the legislation, the “Secretary shall prescribe by regulation the establishment of a single horse industry organization (HIO).” The HIO shall be governed initially by a board consisting of the following:
(A) Two individuals each appointed by the Commissioners of Agriculture of Tennessee and Kentucky
(B) Two individuals representing the industry by the above four persons in consultation with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association
(C) Not more than three individuals shall be appointed by the six individuals above
The HIO will issue policies requiring any person licensed with the HIO or an immediate member of such person to be free from conflicts of interest or any association with the industry. Within 90 days of formation of the HIO, the Secretary shall revoke the certifications of the existing HIOs previously certified.
Although a final list of co-sponsors will be available soon, H.R. 4098 will have all of Congresswoman Blackburn’s fellow Tennessee Republicans as co-sponsors, Phil Roe (1st District), John J. Duncan (2nd District), Chuck Fleischmann (3rd District), Scott DesJarlais (4th District), Dianne Black (6th District) and Stephen Fincher (8th District). Also, sources have confirmed Congressmen Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) and Andy Barr (R-KY-6) from Kentucky were also co-sponsors. Rogers serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Also, Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV-3) signed on as a co-sponsor.
The Tennessee Republicans have been hiding under their desks for months while the nation has rallied behind the PAST ACT with 46 U. S. Senators and 264 U. S. Representatives co-sponsoring. the PAST ACT
Most of the Tennessee Congressmen have future political aspirations and they are under pressure from U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander Campaign Finance Chairman Steve Smith to fall in line. Several of them are co-sponsoring Blackburn’s amendment because they are concerned about having access to future campaign finance funds in advancing their political careers.
Two Republicans, Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Andy Barr(R-KY), are also co-sponsoring. So is a West Virginia Representative Nick Rahall (R-WV) who is the beneficiary of large coal interests. Big Lick lobbyist Jeff Speaks is a former Aide to Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY) who in the past has attempted to intimidate USDA funding in order to exert influence on enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
As House Appropriations Chair, Rogers has always worked to limit the Horse Protection Budget funds used to implement the HPA. In 2013, the Senate proposed $1 million, and Rogers got it cut to $700,000.00. In previous years, Roger has used his position as Appropriations Chairman to intimidate Secretaries of Agriculture to go “light” on enforcing the Horse Protection Act, or their much larger appropriations might be cut.
The original sore Big Lick plan was to get TWHBEA to agree to support Blackburn’s Bill in September 2013, but the Poll of the TWHBEA members on the PAST ACT put that plan in freeze frame. In October 2013, the TWHBEA members voted landslide 63% “YES” for passage of the PAST ACT. Until the sore Big Lick crowd led by HPA citation violation offender Steve Smith took over TWHBEA in early December 2013, and attempt to falsely claim that TWHBEA members opposed the PAST ACT.
It’s too late now.
The train has left the station.
The Sound Horse supporters are now going to rally for a final push to victory.