CHATTANOOGA, TN – Brother Roy Exum has done reared back and chunked an aspirin tablet sized sizzling fast ball right down the middle that would have made St. Louis Cardinal Gashouse Gang pitcher Jay Hannah “Dizzy” Dean awfully proud.
Roy Exum: Horse Vote ‘Inevitable’
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky), the primary sponsor of a broad bill that will greatly hamper those who abuse and torture Tennessee Walking Horses, has told a reporter for the Gannett News Service he believes the pending legislation now has “unstoppable momentum” and that a vote seems “inevitable.” Whitfield said support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act now has 297 cosponsors in the House and 57 in the Senate.
“Despite intense opposition from Tennessee pro-soring groups, I am confident this legislation will come to vote. It is difficult for even well-funded opposition to deny the House of Representatives the opportunity to vote on a bill that has 68 percent of the House as cosponsors, and overwhelming support from veterinary groups and horse organizations in every state,” he told reporter Paul Barton.
The bill, which has been well received in every state except Tennessee and Kentucky, was recently brought into question as allegations over the influence of campaign donations are being mentioned. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and seven members of the House, all of whom have endorsed an alternate proposal that will allow the high stacked pads, the action chains and pressure shoes to remain, are allegedly trying to block the PAST Act
Reps. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Ooltewah) and Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) are among those who oppose the PAST Act in favor alternative legislation and there are many who feel the evil segment of the walking horse industry, called the “Big Lick” and headquartered in Shelbyville, is calling in its “markers” after donating hundreds of thousands to Republican politicians in Tennessee and Kentucky.
It is well-known that Alexander’s state campaign chairman is Steven B. Smith, who is the head of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Registry, but Barton quoted Smith as saying, “I haven’t been to Washington lobbying anyone.” It is also known that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Franklin), who is sponsoring the watered-down bill in the House, was allegedly given $70,000 for her campaign after being feted at the National Celebration last August.
A Blackburn spokesman, Mike Reynard, said Blackburn was “trying to save a Tennessee industry” and, “unfortunately, those on the other side (57 senators, 297 Representatives) have refused to come together and work with us in finding a solution that would eliminate the bad actors. Instead, their focus has been to simply eliminate the walking horse industry altogether.”
Reynard did not say in exactly what way thousands of horses, their owners, their trainers and their riders would exactly be “eliminated” but sound-horse advocates, who show flat-shod horses and boast no citations for horse abuse, say they are showing Tennessee Walking Horses in healthy numbers across America this summer. In contrast, public perception of the “Big Lick” is at an all-time low.
Teresa Bippen, who represents the thriving Friends of Sound Horses, has been a voice against horse abuse for years and called Alexander’s Smith “an obstructionist” in her comments in the story. Smith has a known violation of the federal Horse Protection Act on file with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Larry Joe Wheelon, who along with three others has been charged with aggravated cruelty to livestock, will go to trial on July 23, it has been announced in Blount County, Tn. Wheelon, two of his helpers and a farrier were charged with 13 felonies and five misdemeanors last April when his barn was raided.
Wheelon was the head of the Ethics Committee for the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers Association. The Trainer’s Association building has since entered foreclosure and was put up for sale this week in Shelbyville. If found guilty, Wheelon and the other three could be the first horse abusers jailed since the state of Tennessee made livestock abuse a felony instead of a misdemeanor, punishable by no less than one or no more than five years in state prison.
COMMENTARY – JULY 6, 2014
The pressure is now on Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Press Secretary/Agriculture Aide Marty Irby (former TWHBEA President) to “deliver” and bring the passage of the PAST ACT to fruition.
30 legislative days remain in 2014.
It is key to have the bill go to the Senate floor within the next 14 days. There are presently 57 Senators on the Bill, and one of those 57 is Johnny Izakson (R-GA) who is also on the Bill sponsored by Steve Smith puppet U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). So basically, there are only 56 Senators on the Bill – not 57 you can count upon.
The ultimate question is do the Senate supporters of the PAST ACT have the fire in the belly and the clout to get it done. Although the “WALK ON WASHINGTON” was a roaring success, it was noticeable that there were no U.S. Senators present speaking for the PAST ACT. Strangely, Sponsor Mark Warner (D-VA) has displayed no sense of urgency regarding the bill during the entire process. And again, Sponsor Senator Ayotte did not appear to speak.
The reality of the situation is Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), is a rookie Senator (30 months). Two elder statesman of her Party are sponsoring opposing legislation in the Senate. One is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who will be Majority Leader if the Republicans retake control of the U. S. Senate in November. The other is Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Senator McConnell has been “bought and paid for” by Steve Smith and the sore Big Lick crowd since 1988. Smith also owns Senator Alexander, lock, stock and barrel. Senator Kelly Ayotte simply cannot afford to get on the wrong side of McConnell where the possible plum committee appointments are concerned.
So we are looking at a “Profile In Courage” moment for Senator Kelly Ayotte.
So what can or will she do?
Who can step forward in the Senate and get this done. Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is a make or break part of the equation, and so is Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Nephew Eugene thinks it is about a 50/50 deal at best in the U. S. Senate.
He is not at all happy with what he is seeing. Some folks are going to have to rise to the occasion, and do it right now, if the PAST ACT is going to have a chance of becoming law.
And that’s the bottom line.