THETA, TN – Fran Jurga is welcome at Theta anytime. There was a lot of thunder and lightning passing over North Maury County on Monday, and when it was all said and done, a savy country girl named Joy Smith from Dumas, Missisippi thunder clapped the loudest in a square off of PRO PAST ACT and ANTI PAST ACT factions. Ms Smith mounted a determined campaign opposing the PAST ACT which ironically featured a sored Horse, “Cash For Keeps”, [1998 NHSC HPA citation, before winning the Big Stake in 2000. See Fran Jurga’s article excerpt below.
When Joy Smith isn’t doing Thunder Clapping, she manages the Memphis. Tennessee Law Firm of Deal, Cooper & Holton:
Something tells me this isn’t the last one will hear of the Thunder Clappers.
Thunderclap has been around for a while. It is a social media tool that makes some people run the other way, just as it attracts others like moths to a flame.
Anyone with a cause, a campaign or even just something to publicize can sign up for a Thunderclap social-blitz. The idea is to encourage your advocates to pledge to your cause, and on a given day at a given time, Thunderclap issues a flood of Tweets and Facebook updates to all the followers of all those who signed up.
By joining a Thunderclap for a cause you support, you allow Thunderclap to take over your social media accounts and issue messages on your behalf.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) decided that today was a ripe moment for a Thunderclap to hit US social media. The goal: motivate people to contact their Congressional delegations and push for HR 1518, the so-called PAST Act, or Whitfield-Cohen amendment, to stiffen up the administration of the American Horse Protection Act.
Among the items specified in the PAST Act is the outlawing of stacks of pads and “action devices” on Tennessee Walking horses.
No sooner had HSUS launched its appeal for people to sign up to support today’s Thunderclap than supporters of the rival legislation,Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s HR 4098 (“Scientific Methods to Protect Our Horses”) launched a counter-clap.
By the time the Thunderclaps were to go live this afternoon, HSUS had gathered commitment from 464 supporters, representing 170,600 followers who would receive messages encouraging them to support the PAST Act.
Not to be outdone, Blackburn’s grassroots Walking horse faithful numbered 519 with a total following of 288,164 recipients.
Of interest is that the Walking horse supporters did not urge support for Blackburn’s legislation; they chose instead to smear the PAST Act with the suggestion that the reality of enforcing that law would require horses to compete without horseshoes.
The language of what shoes would be allowed is vaguely stated in the PAST Act, in spite of a letter from Representative Whitfield in the fall, which did little to clarify how the law would be interpreted. Specifics of legal shoes would be determined after the fact by the US Department of Agriculture when and if the legislation passes. Read more about the horseshoe section of the PAST Act here.
Blackburn’s supporters also spent the weekend contacting farrier and hoof-related organizations, intimating the coming ban on horseshoes if the PAST Act becomes law.
Does Thunderclap work? The website documents eight causes in the horse world that have used the tool to broadcast their messages. Wild horses, horse slaughter, New York carriage horses, and now soring legislation have been put forward to over 1.6 million people using the tool.
This weekend’s Tennessee walking horse grassroots campaign has been, by far, the most successful horse-related campaign on Thunderclap, followed by the New York carriage horses.
– See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/blogs/the-jurga-report#sthash.h0FyXr9u.dpuf
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014
Tennessee Congresswoman Blackburn Files Alternative Legislation in Congress to Amend Horse Protection Act, Inspect Walking Horses at Shows
The Hoof Blog has learned that Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R) has filed House Bill 4098 in the US House of Representatives; the legislation aims to reform the jurisdiction over and inspection of the way that Tennessee Walking horses are shod for show. This new legislation is an alternative to much stricter legislation already before Congress, known as the PAST Act, which was filed by Kentucky Representative Ed Whitfield in April 2013.
While the text of the legislation is not yet available for reading, Hoofcare and Lameness has been able to confirm through the Library of Congress that a bill by that number and filed by Blackburn has indeed been filed and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Congresswoman Blackburn is the Vice Chairman of that committee.
According to press releases issued by the Walking Horse Report, Blackburn’s legislation will provide a “scientific method” for inspecting Walking horse hooves and pasterns at shows, which would be overseen by a regionally-administered governing board.
The US Department of Agriculture is currently charged with enforcement of the Horse Protection Act by having jurisdiction over inspections at horse shows.
From the Walking Horse Report‘s interpretation, it appears that this legislation would empower state government agriculture agencies to govern the issue of Walking horse show soring.
According to the press release, provisions of Blackburn’s bill are:
- Objective inspections
- Using science based protocols, that are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results
- Create a single independent inspection HIO
- Governed by an independent board appointed by the heads of State Agriculture agencies from Tennessee and Kentucky, which in concert with the industry representatives will select 3 additional independent members
- The independent HIO will only license qualified, conflict-free inspectors.
In an article on the website of the Tennessean newspaper, journalist Heidi Hall states that the Blackburn legislation would allow the continued use of pad stacks and pastern chains, although that was not mentioned in the Walking Horse Report news release. The PAST Act would end the use of pad stacks and pastern chains.
Blackburn’s H.R. 4098 has nine co-sponsors on its first day. Eight are Republicans, one is a Democrat. Six co-sponsors are from Tennessee, two are from Kentucky and one is from West Virginia.