SHELBYVILLE, TN -On the eve of the three night 46th National Trainers Show, it appears that Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and the sore Big Lick supporters of the Blackburn Bill To Enable Soring are about to get exactly what they yearned for: an “objective, science based testing and inspection process”. IF the USDA Administrators Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM are true to their word, stay the course that they have charted, and protect The Horses.
The ultimate question – Will the USDA enforce the Horse Protection Act to Protect the Horses and eliminate soring or play games with S.H.O.W. HIO and continue to just “regulate soring”?
For sure, their credibility will be on the line and they will be judged accordingly.
An Interesting Set Of Developments Has Taken Place:
- On January 7, 2014, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea filed a Complaint to decertify the rogue S.H.O.W. HIO for repeated violations of the Horse Protection Act.
- Last weekend, the USDA sent a VMO to sanction the S.H.O.W. HIO DQP training session at the Celebration’s Calsonic Arena.
- At the training session, the USDA VMO instructed the S. H. O. W. HIO DQPs the standards by which they are to inspect Horses, and how the “scar rule” violations will be determined during the 2014 show season,
- Science based objective technology will be used to detect scars, and fine wrinkles will be considered scars. The “fine wrinkles” are not present on the pasterns of flat shod horses.
- Following the weekend session, S.H.O.W. HIO DQP Coordinator Mitchell Butler told the Trainer BOYZ that the 2014 inspections were to be based on scientific based objective inspection by use of thermography, in addition to normal methods, to detect scar rule violations on horses’s pastern areas.
- On Monday, the Trainer BOYZ revolted and threatened to vote to cancel the Trainers Show and the 2014 Show Season because they could not live with the science based objective inspection process regarding determining scar rule violations.
THE OLD WAY – SCAR RULE VIOLATIONS
In the past when Horses were inspected, the DQPs picked up the horses feet and manually palpated the pastern and leg area. The DQPs checked for scars. If a thickening of the skin was found on the pastern areas of both feet, and the thickened skin could be pressed flat, it was not considered a scar, and no ticket was written. If a horse was found to have scars on the pastern area of both feet which could not be pressed flat, they were considered a violation of the “scar rule”, and the Horse was considered Sore, and an HIO DQP ticket was written. If a DQP refused to write a ticket, then the USDA VMO could make a record of it, and then the USDA could send a letter to the affiliating HIO requesting that they issue a Letter of Warning to the DQP. As of late, the S.H.O.W. HIO has refused to comply with the USDA requests. So in essence, nothing has been done to the DQPs for their refusal to enforce the law. After three letters of warning the DQP could lose his license. Often times, the HIO would play games in issuing letters of warning.
THE 2014 INSPECTION PROTOCOL
- Lead Horse to inspection.
- Swab horse
- The USDA Thermographs the Horse (Thermography can detect scars and fine scars/wrinkles)
- If the Horses does not pass the Thermograph test, and scars/fine wrinkles are detected on both front feet, the Horse does not show and the DQP writes a ticket.
- The Horse proceeds to the next step of inspection.
- The Horse is tested for locomotion including traversing a figure eight set of cones.
- The Horse is then digitally palpated to see if there is a pain response and also visually checked for foreign substances and other violations. if violations are found, then they will be added to the DQP scar rule ticket, and the “minimum penalties” will increase.
The Federal Mandatory “Minimum Penalties”
In the old days, if a scar rule violation was noted, it usually meant no more than a two week suspension. The Federal Regulation known as mandated “minimum penalties” were adopted in June 2012. The Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO sued the USDA trying to stop implementation of the “minimum penalties” which the Federal Judge upheld in July 2013. S.H.O.W.HIO agreed in writing before the 2014 Celebration to assess and enforce the mandated “minimum penalties”. The “minimum penalties” for scar rule offenses are:
- 1st violation – 60 days suspension
- 2nd violation – 6 months suspension
- 3rd violation – 1 year suspension
The “minimum penalties” apply to the Trainer, Horse, Owner and Exhibitor. (There are reports now the S.H.O.W. HIO is taking the position that only the Trainer will be punished, and the Owner and Exhibitor excluded.)
So there are real consequences and teeth associated with the “minimum penalties”.
The Trainer BOYZ were going to “strike” at the Trainer’s Show because they KNOW that the Horses are trained SORE and they do have SCARS which result from the use of chains and chemicals on the pasterns. The Trainer BOYZ know that if the USDA is going to enforce the Horse Protection Act, and protect the Horses, that they are out of business.
In the past, they have gone to David L. Howard who makes his money off of advertising
revenue which results from Horses showing. Howard and his sore Big Lick gang would then apply political pressure on the USDA to force it into allowing the lax enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
The USDA got used to and comfortable with that relationship.
The USDA has stood by while David L. Howard’s Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO has even claimed a partnership with USDA. This is a strange posture for a Federal Agency charged with enforcing the Horse Protection Act. And even stranger considering S.H.O.W. HIO sued the USDA, and then the USDA had to decertify the rogue HIO.
The bottom line is that the “on again and off again” approach of the USDA has resulted in an atmosphere of ENABLING SORING.
Mr. Shea and Dr. Gipson and Dr. Cezar, the American people are expecting YOU to show up for THREE days of consistent uniform enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, and for you to protect The Horses. Please give them the sore Big Lick what they asked for – an “objective, science based testing and inspection process”
If that means the 46th National Trainers Show cancels after one or two nights of the legalized Animal Cruelty known as the sore Big Lick racket, so be it.
Your jobs are not to worry about the “gate receipts” at Calsonic Arena.
Your only jobs are to protect the horses.
If you do your jobs, we’ll back you.
If you don’t do your jobs, please rest assured, we’ll come after you.
WIth us, it’s all about ….The Horses … nothing else matters.