NASHVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Chairman David L. Howard attacked The Tennessean newspaper and its reporter Brian Wilson for a September 11, 2014 story appearing on the front page of The Tennessean newspaper with the headline:
“SORING REPORTS NEARLY DOUBLE”
Reporter Brian Wilson’s story –“WALKING HORSE CELEBRATION’S VIOLATIONS DOUBLE LAST YEAR’S” – apparently struck a nerve with Celebration Chairman David L. Howard. In his story, Mr. Wilson provided a straight forward recap and analysis of the 2014 “USDA HORSE PROTECTION ACTIVITY REPORT”.
The USDA report established conclusively that the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO’s 98% Horse Protection Act compliance rate is apparently patently bogus. The USDA vet inspectors found approximately 2 in 10 horses at the 2014 Celebration to be sore.
America is now waiting on the USDA to provide the “USDA HORSE PROTECTION ACTIVITY REPORTS” for 2013 and 2012. The 2012 and 2013 Reports could possibly show pattern, premeditation and intent with regard to the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO inspection program’s alleged 94%+ HPA compliance claims. S.H.O.W. HIO is presently being decertified by the USDA for its failing to properly enforce the Horse Protection Act.
CELEBRATION CHAIRMAN DAVID L. HOWARD’S COMMENTARY – TENNESSEAN
CELEBRATION CHAIRMAN DAVID L . HOWARD
David L. Howard · COMMENT – Top Commenter ·University of Tennessee (Memphis)
“The Tennessean just made another staff cut, including Paul Barton, and are seriously understaffed on the editorial side. They dumped this “beat” on Brian Wilson and he doesn’t have a clue about the Tennessee Walking Horse. So what does he do, he simply repeats the Humane Society’s talking points without questioning them, as a professional reporter would. Don’t get upset with him, he is merely following orders and hoping to keep a job. He can’t help it if he is more familiar with manure than with facts.The Tennessean is an embarrassment to journalism ethics and ruining people and this breed is considered sport. And they shake their head and wonder why people no longer subscribe….”
Sound Horse advocate Sara Mattice replied to Mr. Howard’s statement:
Sara Mattice · Top Commenter
“Mr. Howard seems to be rather confused about the content of this article, which addresses the number of violations and the statistics released by the USDA in relation to the HPA during this year’s Sorabration. He falls back on the usual blame game this Industry is constantly playing, making the HSUS the target for all their woes. He also seemingly fails to recognize that 98% of the posts here are in praise of The Tennessean for their forthrightness in putting out the truth about his industry. One wonders why, since he obviously dismisses this publication as insignificant, he bothered to write such a lengthy and strong protest addressed to them in regard to their coverage of his industry.”
Then Celebration Chairman Howard went “ONE QUESTION” too far and asked:
David L. Howard · Top Commenter ·University of Tennessee (Memphis)
“Linda and Sara – have you ever attended the Celebration and if so when.”
Sara Mattice answered Mr. Howard’s question:
Sara Mattice · Top Commenter
“David L. Howard I have been to your Celebration several times, the last being in 2009. In 2006, I attended with a friend who was showing there and who had a very well known juvenile niece who rode padded horses and excelled in Equitation. I went with my friend to a padded barn that week to look at an18 month old colt by Pusher’s Bustin Loose. Colt was already on pads and absolutely terrified of humans. Took 3 men wrestling him in the back of this stall to catch him and bring him out for her and her trainer to inspect. Wonder why? She bought the colt, and months later when I inquired as to how he was doing, she informed me that his hoof had been almost torn off. She had also assured me that her trainer didn’t sore, but guess what? He was later written up at the Southern Championship in Perry, Georgia for soring, not the scar rule. In 2009, I sat at your Celebration in a box seat and listened to the people behind me singing the blues because the USDA had ticketed them for soring and they wouldn’t be able to show the rest of the Celebration. The citation was for soring, not the scar rule. The trainer in the box beside me was bragging to one of his buddies about “how deep he had that sucker going back at the barn, he was walking a hole in the ground!” They either didn’t think I knew or didn’t care that I knew what they were talking about. In 1996, I held an office in the Indiana Walking Horse Association, along side Joe Dietz. Want me to go on? I can go back to the late eighties, if you’d like. I am not, as you and your peers like to believe, another uneducated HSUS follower who has no background in the Tennessee Walking Horse show world. My background is the reason I fight for the sound horse and why I only now trail ride.”
Sound Horse advocate Linda Bassel replied to Mr. Howard’s statement:
Linda Pierson Bassel · Top Commenter ·Owner at Bassel Medical Transcription
David L. Howard this article points out some facts that are clearly not complimentary to the Celebration. Nonetheless, they are facts. To attack the reporter is small minded and petty. Methinks he doth protest too much. The “embarrassment” here is that the Celebration and the big lick segment of the walking horse show world keep putting forth these ridiculous, rosy glow tales of the “compliant” (sored but able to get through inspection) horses that are blatantly untrue.
Nephew Eugene says America awaits the USDA publishing the 2012 and 2013 “USDA HORSE PROTECTION ACTIVITY REPORTS” which, hopefully, will establish that the USDA did its job in enforcing the Horse Protection Act for those respective years.
Nephew Eugene also says that Celebration Chairman David L. Howard has good reason to be anxious about the USDA preparing and releasing those reports.