RALEIGH, NC – The sore Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse came under further fire late Thursday, when The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh reported that the All American Walking Horse Alliance called for a boycott and cancellation of the 20 Big Lick (Performance) classes at the N.C. State Fair this Friday and Saturday nights.
North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler received a Petition with over 5,700 signatures calling for cancellation of the Big Lick (Performance Classes). The signatures were gathered in three weeks by Sound Horse Advocate Michelle Disney of Raleigh who started the Change.org Petition. The Chief Deputy Agriculture Commissioner N. David Smith told AAWHA that before 2015, “the issue would be reviewed” which is a change in policy from one of “neutrality” in the past. Presently, the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horses are banned at venues throughout the United States including state fairs in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Florida. The ban also includes the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Germantown Charity Horse Show in Memphis Tennessee.
AAWHA Organizer Jeannie McGuire complimented the N.&O newspaper saying, “We are pleased to see the mainstream media reporting on the institutionalized animal cruelty presented as family entertainment. What they do in training and showing these horses is wrong. It should never be on display in front of children, much less enabled by the State of North Carolina”. “The PAST ACT cannot be passed soon enough”, said McGuire as she called on Senator Richard Burr (R-TN) to co-sponsor the amendment to the Horse Protection Act which will eliminate the pads and chains necessary for the Big Lick, make horse soring a felony, and take inspection duties away from organizations which have failed to protect the horses.
AAWHA Media Representative Clant M. Seay said, “The sore crowd has been in charge long enough at the N.C. State Fair. It’s time for that to change”. Seay said “Eight of the 10 members of the Horse Show Advisory Committee have HPA Violation Citations including John Callicutt, the owner of 2012 World Grand Champion “Walk Time Charlie”, and his trainer Chad Baucom. The same goes for Judge Mack Dekle officiating the N.C. State Fair, and the HAWHA (Heart of America Walking Horse Association) inspecting the N.C. Horse Show is presently being decertified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for violating the Horse Protection Act.”
Seay called for the North Carolina Horse Council “to stop looking the other way and get behind running that bunch of HPA Violation Citation folks off the North Carolina State Fairgrounds”. Seay said, “For the Manager of the N.C. State Fair Horse Show not to know that the HAWA – Horse Inspection program it hired to ‘protect’ the horses is being charged with violating the Horse Protection Act is an unacceptable failure in performing the required due diligence to ensure that the horses are protected.”