September 9, 2014
Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Re: Enforcement of the Horse Protection Act
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
Thank you for requiring your employees and public servants APHIS Administrators Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM to provide an accurate and meaningful “Horse Protection Activity Report” for the 2014 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. (August 21-30, 2014)
Without your personal interest and intervention backed by Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) letter from the 59 members of the U. S. Congress, the data would not have been provided.
Why, do I say this?
I say it because in the past, APHIS Administrators Shea and Gipson have not provided it.
Why have they not?
That, sir, is a question for you to please take up internally with Mr. Shea and Dr. Gipson.
In the interest of full disclosure and satisfying the need to know by the American taxpayers and their elected officials, I respectfully request you to please direct APHIS Administrators Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, DVM to please provide “USDA Horse Protection Activity Reports” for the 2012 and 2013 Celebrations categorized in the same manner as the 2014 Report.
The “USDA Horse Protection Activity Reports” provided by APHIS for 2012 and 2013 did not reveal the extent of the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. In particular, Mr. Shea and Dr. Gipson failed to report to the public the number of horses actually inspected by the USDA vets, and the number of HPA violations found and horses turned down. As a result, it was not possible for the American public nor their elected representatives to properly evaluate or compare the numbers of HPA violations found by the USDA vets with those found by Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO DQPs inspectors.
The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has “claimed” 95%+ HPA compliance rates. This was a bogus claim for 2014, and it most likely will be conclusively proven to be a bogus number once the requested inspection information is made available. The USDA 2014 report shows about 84% compliance – almost 2 horses in 10 are sore.
The AAWHA now urgently requests you to please require APHIS to provide as soon as possible to members of Congress and the American public “USDA Horse Protection Activity Reports” for the 2012 and 2013 Celebrations in the same format and categories as presented for 2014 so people can be fully informed.
Thank you for what you have done to protect “The Horses” in requiring APHIS provide accurate inspection numbers for 2014, and for please honoring this request to do the same for 2012 and 2013 Celebrations.
Clant M. Seay, Spokesperson, All American Walking Horse Alliance
SEPTEMBER 5, 2013
BILLY GO BOY CALLS ON KEVIN SHEA & DR. CHESTER GIPSON WITH USDA TO RELEASE THE NUMBER OF HORSES INSPECTED BY USDA VMOs AT THE 2013 CELEBRATION SO THE PUBLIC WILL KNOW THE TRUTH
Posted on September 5, 2013
Riverdale, MD ““ At the 2013 Celebration, the SHOW HIO DQPs did not do their jobs in enforcing the Horse Protection Act. SHOW inspected 1,952* Horses and found a ridiculously low 30 HPA violations.
The USDA VMOs found 70 HPA violations.
That ratio alone is proof that SHOW HIO didn’t adequately protect the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse.
Here’s more documentation:
FRIDAY NIGHT, AUGUST 30, 2013
On Friday, August 30, 2013, SHOW DQPs found 0 HPA violations of 138 horses inspected.
That is 100% HPA compliance, and it was a lie.
On Friday, August 30, 2013, the USDA VMOs found 11 HPA violations. There were 15 classes, and the VMOs check 2nd and 3rd place horses. That’s 30 horses ““ so be generous and add another 30 to that number ““ 60 horses and VMOs found 11 HPA violations ““ that would be 82% HPA compliance ““ or about 1 in every 5 horses were sore.
SHOW HIO started spinning the 98.4% range HPA compliance baloney before the Celebration was over. Center ring announcer Bobby Sands proudly told the crowd how “Harvard Like” the 98.4% compliance was after Purple Strategies handed it to him to read.
Overall for the Celebration, the USDA VMOs found 2.33 HPA violations for every 1 HPA violation that SHOW HIO did.
Dr. Chester Gipson, will you please go ahead and tell the public how many horses the VMOs inspected so the public will know. Yours and Kevin Shea’s salaries are paid by the taxpayers, and you owe them the truth in this matter.
Surely, you and your boss Kevin Shea do not want to be looked upon as covering up for SHOW HIO, which by the way, you sent a Notice of Revocation Letter on August 1, 2012.
The simple question is ““ how many horses did USDA VMOs inspect?
It is not a complicated question.
The USDA has that information, and so far, the USDA has not provided it.
The public has a “right to know” because, as stated, SHOW HIO is “spinning” a false 98.4% HPA compliance rate.
The USDA should provide the information now.
Here is what the USDA released to the public on Sunday, September 1, 2013.
OFFICIAL FINAL USDA NUMBERS
AUG. 22 ““ AUG. 31*
TOTAL INSPECTED 1,952*
HPA VIOLATIONS 110
HORSES DISQUALIFIED 100
* VMO 70
* DQP 30
The reason that SHOW DQPs didn’t do their jobs writing tickets was due to the effect that the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties” would have on the Trainers, Horses and Owners. SHOW waited until the last minute to adopt the MP on August 19, 2013.
One esteemed colleague has comments and give the USDA the benefit of the doubt:
“For the TWH on September 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm said:
I doubt they’re stonewalling. They have a lot of data to gather, and they usually release the report as a compilation of all of the shows they’ve been to. Plus I’m sure they’re writing warning letters and taking care of suspensions and such.”
My answer to my colleague is, I believe they are stonewalling. Why, because they do have the information and so far, have not provided it.
Here is what they came out with after the 2012 Celebration. In this report, the USDA blended its numbers with in with SHOW and no one could tell who inspected what.
“USDA APHIS “2012 TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBRATION RESULTS”
“Given the interest in the enforcement of the HPA at this year’s Celebration, USDA wanted to post preliminary inspection results now, rather than at the end of the year. This year, USDA and DQPs inspected 1,849 horses and found 166 violations ““ an approximate 9% violation rate. This rate is slightly lower than the 9.5% violation rate from the 2011 Celebration, during which 2,143 horses were inspected and 203 violations were found.”
For the TWH, it would be a travesty for USDA to do that this time because it would allow SHOW to foist off this wonderful trend of its stringent enforcement of the HPA. That would allow SHOW HIO to say we improved to 95% compliance from 91% in 2012.
Dr. Gipson, you of all people know, that since they sued you over the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties” and since they refused to the last minute to put the MP in its rulebook, that SHOW HIO after finding only 30 HPA violations at the 2013 Celebration is playing games enforcing the HPA.
For the USDA to lump everything together with SHOW HIO in 2013 like it did in 2012 is NOT going to hack it.
Dr. Gipson, are you going to sing “Kumbaya” with the folks who can’t find sore horses or are you going to tell it like it is?
It is vitally important that the USDA provide the public with the actual number of Horses the VMOs inspected It’s either do that or end up partnering with SHO HIO instead and lumping everything together which will SHOW to look like it has a 98.4% HPA compliance rate which is pure garbage.
Look at these numbers
2013 100 Violations ““ 1,952 Inspected
2012 166 Violations ““ 2,293 Inspected
2011 203 Violations – 2,143 Inspected
2010 255 Violations ““ 2,574 Inspected
2009 197 Violations ““ 2,618 Inspected
There is nothing the Celebration/SHOW HIO would like better than to have a trend showing how great things are with its enforcing the HPA when nothing could be further than the truth.
Here is the truth.
SHOW HIO DQPs sat on their hands in enforcing the HPA because of the effect of the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties. The following “SHOW VIOLATIONS AT CELEBRATION” proves it:
SHOW VIOLATIONS AT CELEBRATION
Dr. Gipson, my humble job is to speak truth to power.
I ask you and your superior Kevin Shea to please do that right thing, and if you make us wait a week or a report, rather than provide the solid information necessary for the public to know the truth now, at least please be candid in the report and include the facts which demonstrate that SHOW HIO is not enforcing the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties” by simply not writing HPA violation tickets.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2013
WHY ARE KEVIN SHEA, DR. CHESTER GIPSON AND USDA STONEWALLING ON PROVIDING “THE REAL NUMBER” WHICH WOULD TELL THE STORY ON SORING AT THE 2013 CELEBRATiON ““ AND THE GAMES BEING PLAYED BY CELEBRATiON/SHOW HIO????
Posted on September 4, 2013
RIVERDALE, MD ““ The APHIS division of USDA, Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson are sitting on the “real numbers” which would give true insight into whether or not the institutionalized practice of soring is business as usual in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
ARE THESE GUYS WORKING FOR SHOW HIO TRYING TO COVER UP THE SORING?
DR. CHESTER GIPSON, DVM ““ “HERR” HOWARD’S PARTNER
KEVIN SHEA ““ SUPPOSED TO BE HEAD OF APHIS
Sadly, it appears to be so.
SHOW HIO announced that it inspected 1,952 Horses and found 30 HPA violations.
The USDA announced that it inspected ???????? Horses and found 70 HPA violations.
Wait, you say ???????????? Horses and they say they don’t know how many?
That is exactly what I am saying.
Here is the best estimate – the USDA inspected the 2nd and 3rd place horse in each class.There were 182 classes x 2 = that accounts for about 350. Add another 100 horses in there to be spot checked and you have 450 horses. The USDA VMOs found 70 horses violating HPA. That means 17% of the horses were sore. Not the 1.5% SHOW HIO claims. Counting the record number of scratches and the small classes, you can take it to the bank ““ 2 out of every 10 horses were sore.
The USDA knows how many horses its VMOS inspected. They keep detailed notes on each one, but they are playing “Keep Away” with the number.
What is known is that Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson cuddle up with Celebration/SHOW HIO and form a quartet singing “Kumbaya” about working together.
Here’s what “Herr” Howard says: The working relationship between USDA VMO’s and SHOW’s DQP’s has been cooperative, just as it has been all season. Both groups are working diligently to keep sore horses out of the ring.
Here’s what the USDA Chester Gipson says: Working together, USDA and DQPs strive to ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.
Prior to the Celebration, USDA Officials Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson gave assurances that VMOs would crack down on pressure shoeing.
The USDA did not pull any packages to check for pressure shoeing.
For the Trainer Licker boys using the “blue putty” – that means come on down.
And what was done about the two “false bottoms” that were found?
Sadly, in the history of the HPA, there has never been ONE pressure shoeing case prosecuted by the USDA.
So how many horses did the USDA VMOs inspect at the 2013 Celebration?
In the words of United States Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson to the Soviet Ambassador Zorin:
And also in my words to Kevin Shea and Chester Gipson, and yes to U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack:
Tom Vilsack ““ U. S. Secretary of Agriculture
“I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over”.
Secretary Vilsack, thanks to you, Americans didn’t have to wait until September 8, 2014, for the Answer to the 2014 Celebration.
Sir, now it’s time for the Answers to the 2012 and 2013 Celebrations.