FRANKLIN, TN – PAST ACT supporter Donna Benefield and Congressional Candidate Dan Cramer appeared this morning on Home Town radio program on WAKM broadcasting live from the Columbia State Community College campus in Franklin, Tennessee.
A resident of Sumner County, Benefield provided her Walking Horse credentials, and criticized Senator Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn for introducing “Trojan Horse” legislation that was “bought and paid for” by monied interests profiting from the sore Big Lick. She said “It will protect the perpetrators of animal abuse”.
Having recently appeared on behalf of the PAST ACT with former U. S. Senator Joseph Tydings (D-MD) before The Tennessean Editorial Board, Benefield said, “Today’s society is not going to support this type of activity, and the sore side of the Walking Horse business is melting to the ground right now.” She said the Tennessee Walking Horse breed is excluded from the equine community by other horse breeds that did not want the stigma of abuse associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse.
Benefield said one of the main differences in the PAST ACT and the Alexander/Blackburn bills that enable horse soring is the PAST ACT would remove the built up pads and chains which are the “trademarks” of horse soring.
Benefield explained that, according to a recent USDA study, a large part of the money spent on Big Lick horses was “advertising” and that the Chairman of the Celebration David L. Howard, who owns The Walking Horse Report, benefits greatly from the sore Big Lick. The interviewer had a copy of the newspaper and noted chains on practically every horses’s feet.
Benefield noted that Senator Alexander said he “wanted to preserve the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition in Tennessee”.
She said, “The Tennessee Walking Horse tradition in Tennessee has been Soring“.
When asked of 10 horses being inspected, how many were abused, she said “it depends on which inspection program you use”. She said the inspection program owned by the Celebration in Shelbyville was being decertified by the USDA “due to corruption inside that program”.
Benefield provided a “stack” which are pads and a shoe placed on the horse’s front foot. The interviewer seemed “shocked” at the device, especially its weight, and asked, “What is this device that looks like a big wedge?” Benefield said due to the “stack”, the “hoof appears grotesque”, and it causes the horse “to move strangely”.
The interviewer recalled going to Walking Horse shows as a child and asking his parents about the chains on the horses’s front feet. He was told that “the chain makes them walk taller – they are trying to step out of it – it creates a bigger lick – not really hurting the horse.”
Benefield explained about the scars which result from horses being trained with chains. She said they are detected during inspection procedures due to advanced technology.
She explained that the PAST ACT was being supported by the veterinary groups, the AVMA, AAEP, United States Equestrian Foundation and the American Horse Council, and other horse breeds.
Benefield detailed the “political influence peddling” that started in 1988, and that Steve Smith of Brentwood had contributed to Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander and Representative Marsha Blackburn over the years. When asked, Benefield said she was neither conservative or liberal, rather she voted for the person, not the party.
Democrat Congressional candidate Dan Cramer who accompanied Benefield said Representative Blackburn supported “torturing animals for profit”. He described the Blackburn bill as a “bought and paid for piece of legislation”.
A U. S. Army veteran, Cramer said the difference between him and Representative Blackburn is he would accept campaign contributions, but he would not lend himself to doing what Representative Blackburn did which was to sponsor a Bill To Enable Horse Soring for an alleged $70,000.00 campaign contribution.
The interviewer said he expected Senator Alexander to be interviewed on the program in the future, and that he wouldn’t be surprised to get a telephone call from Steve Smith on this.
He thanked Congressional candidate Dan Cramer for bringing Donna Benefield to the program who he described as “a very interesting lady – on a crusade – bringing powerful evidence – and being the voice of the non-soring community”.