RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA NEWSPAPER REPORTS PROTESTS OF HORSE SORING ABUSE AT N.C. STATE FAIR – OVER 5,800 PERSONS HAVE SIGNED PETITION TO CANCEL BIG LICK (PERFORMANCE) CLASSES AT N.C. STATE FAIR

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.

"WOW" FOUNDER JEANNIE MCGUIRE AND HORSE PROTECTION ACT FATHER FORMER SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS (D-MD) SPEAK TO USA TODAY AND THE CHICAGO HERALD TRIBUNE

“WOW” FOUNDER JEANNIE MCGUIRE AND HORSE PROTECTION ACT FATHER FORMER SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS (D-MD) SPEAK TO USA TODAY AND THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

FORMER SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS (D-MD) AND CLANT M. SEAY, SPOKESPERSON, ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE AT HISTORIC WALK ON WASHINGTON

FORMER SENATOR JOSEPH TYDINGS (D-MD) AND CLANT M. SEAY, SPOKESPERSON, ALL AMERICAN WALKING HORSE ALLIANCE AT HISTORIC WALK ON WASHINGTON

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.”

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http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/16/4239304/groups-protest-tennessee-walking.html

Groups protest Tennessee Walking Horse shows at NC State Fair

kbettis@newsobserver.comOctober 16, 2014  Updated 8 minutes ago

 “” State Fair officials have assured people that they’ll be safe at this year’s fair, but some animal advocates believe that some show horses are still in harm’s way.

For 30 years, people have crowded the stands at the fair to see the proud yet dainty march of the  Tennessee Walking Horse, a breed of gaited show horse known for its high, quick steps.

In the ring, the horses are split into two main categories, “flatshod” and “performance.” The latter group uses heavy “stacked” shoes in the ring that exaggerate their front steps.

Advocates claim that these horses suffer during the events, nicknamed “The Big Lick,” in part due to an illegal practice called “soring.”

They say some trainers use chemicals such as diesel fuel and mustard oil to cause blisters on a horse’s ankles and that chains attached to the  shoes rub against the sores to scare the horse into more dramatic prancing. To produce an even higher gait, they say, trainers might stick nails or tacks between the horses’ hooves to increase the pain.

National and local horse advocates, including the All-American Walking Horse Alliance and the Humane Society of the United States, are calling for cancellation of the performances, and in some cases, even a boycott of the State Fair during show days.

Michelle Disney of Raleigh started a Change.org petition addressed to state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and fair manager Wesley Wyatt that has received more than 5,700 signatures.

“A good alternative would be to replace the performance class with a show where humanely trained Tennessee Walking Horses display their natural gait,” Disney said.

Competing horses are checked for soring by hired inspectors, and those found with any marks are disqualified.

The State Fair hired the Heart of America Walking Horse Association to do the inspections, but according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the association is currently being decertified as a qualified inspector.

Sheri Bridges, who is managing the Walking Horse show this year, said she was unaware of the decertification process. She said she checked with the USDA website and with the association to ensure compliance.

The performance class makes up about a third of the Walking Horse events, which will take place Friday and Saturday evenings in the Hunt Horse Complex starting at 6 p.m.

The State Fair says that the 66 horses entered this year will be thoroughly inspected before the competition. Often, the USDA makes unannounced inspections of its own during the fair. Class winners are inspected again.

Wyatt, the fair manager, responded to Disney’s petition with an email that affirmed the fair’s compliance with USDA guidelines.

Sue Gray, executive director for the N.C. Horse Council, says the council “abhors soring” but supports the fair’s decision to keep the event, since it is following guidelines and monitoring the show well.

Six other states have banned “Big Lick” Tennessee Walking Horses at their fairs. State Agriculture Chief Deputy Commissioner N. David Smith told an advocacy group Monday that North Carolina “will review the matter of Performance Tennessee Walking Horses appearing at the 2015 State Fair.”

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