SHELBYVILLE, TN – With the USDA destroying the sore Big Lick “Myth” of 95%  HPA compliance at the 2014 Celebration,    Ex-Celebration Chairman David L. Howard  and his Licker Followers are deathly afraid of the  objective scientific inspection methods  of “Thermography” and “Iris Scanning”.

Just like Count Dracula was of the SILVER CROSS.


The Lickers apparently cornered USDA Vet Dr. Jeff Baker at the recent S.H.O.W. HIO DQP training in Shelbyville, Tennessee over  “Iris Scanning” which they call “EYE SCANNING”.



Here is an excerpt from Mr. Howard’s The Walking Horse Report:


“During the training, Baker did inform SHOW that the “Eye Scanning” to identify the proper identity of the horse would be moved to the end of the inspection rather than at the beginning which has been the protocol.  Many industry representatives and Members of Congress have questioned the targeting of certain horses and exhibitors by USDA personnel from use of the eye scanning prior to the inspection of the horse.  Baker also confirmed that custodians of horses in inspection will be allowed to videotape those inspections.”


Re:The Past Act – Past and Future
The agreement to do eye scan after an inspection is something in teh right direction….but after which inspection? If the horse is checked and passed by the DQP then eye scanned the USDA has all the information needed….just as before to grab that horse coming out. There have been more “after competition” scar rule tickets written IMO than preshow of course excluding the celebration. Eye scan should ONLY be used if after ALL inspections there is a violation that is being written and then just to verify that it is in fact the right horse. Not kicking whats done but we need to get it in its proper place
Re:The Past Act – Past and Future
Eye scan should never be done until a conviction in the court is obtained that the animal is permanently scarred per the letter if the law ( think 1970)……the government needs no records of compliant horses or people

April, 2013

USDA Horse Protection Program Utilizing Iris Scan Technology for Equine Identification

Questions and Answers

APHIS’ Horse Protection program has a new technological tool that will allow its inspectors to better identify horses before they enter the inspection area. Beginning in March 2013, APHIS will be using iris scanners as part of the agency’s continued efforts to put an end to horse soring through its enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

The Horse Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits sored horses from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions or auctions. The Act also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. Soring is a cruel and inhumane practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait; it may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals or mechanical devices. Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but in order to be successful in competition; their natural gait is often exaggerated. The exaggerated gait can be achieved with proper training and considerable time. However, some exhibitors, owners and trainers have chosen to use improper training methods to shorten the time it would take to produce a higher gait in their horses.

APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against soring and to ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.

APHIS’ ultimate goal is to end this inhumane practice completely.

Question: Why is APHIS using iris scans when there are already other means in place to identify horses?

Answer: Scanning a horse’s iris is a pain-free, non-invasive alternative to branding, tattooing and other identification methods. It limits undue stress to the animal.

Q: What are the benefits to this particular method of identifying horses?

A: These scanners will allow APHIS to establish a definitive identity of a horse because no two irises are alike. Iris scans are more accurate than even a human fingerprint. Plus, an iris scan is a totally non-invasive means of identifying a horse ““ unlike micro- chipping or tattooing.

Iris scans also tell APHIS whether or not a particular horse has ever been sored before because the scanners maintain an information database that includes any previous Horse Protection Act violations. This provides a much better tracking system for APHIS ““ and the industry ““ than what is currently in place.

Q: How does the scanner work?

A: These scanners will produce a digital photograph of the iris of a horse’s eye. The photographs, along with other information about each horse, are stored electronically in the scanner’s processor.

Q: What is the benefit to breeders, trainers, owners and exhibitors and the walking horse industry as a whole?

A: This will be a very good thing for all individuals who are not soring their horses. For example, using iris scans will allow a potential buyer to learn if a particular horse has ever been sored when that animal’s history comes up on the scanner. This will help an owner sell his/her horse with proof that the horse has not been sored.

Iris scans will also aid the industry because this method of horse identification will decrease the number of sored horses that are being shown or sold. Scanning will identify which horses are sored and which are clean ““ and keep a record of it.

Iris scans will also show how particular regions of the country are adhering to the Horse Protection Act by showing where soring is more prevalent. For instance, if a number of sored horses are coming out of a particular county, the industry can focus its education efforts in that county to show the trainers there that they don’t need to sore their horses in order to get successful results. This will keep the focus on humane methods of training horses.

Q: How will using iris scans decrease horse soring?

A: A person who has been cited for soring his horse during a competition will have very little incentive for entering a horse into another class during that same competition because the scanner will identify the infraction to APHIS the next time that horse’s irises are scanned.

Q: Was there anything in particular that prompted APHIS to begin using iris scanners at this time?

A: APHIS is responding to the 2010 Office of Inspector General audit of its Horse Protection program. One of the audit’s recommendations was for the agency to prohibit horses that have been disqualified (due to soring violations) from competing in any other classes at a horse show, exhibition or other horse-related event. APHIS has the authority under the Horse Protection Act to prohibit horses from competing in subsequent events after designated qualified persons (DQPs) or APHIS veterinary medical officers detect a violation. To better ensure that sored horses do not compete in later events, the agency wanted a totally reliable way to identify horses. Thus, APHIS decided to use iris scanners to better identify horses.

Q: How much does each scanner cost American taxpayers?

A: The cost is $3,000 per scanner.

Q: Will the use of iris scans result in additional fees for the walking horse industry or to individual competitors?

A: No. There is no cost to horse owners/trainers/owners/riders, and there is no cost passed along to the walking horse industry.

Q: When will APHIS begin using these scanners?

A: APHIS will begin using iris scanners in March ““ the beginning of the 2013 horse show season.

Q: Will DQPs be using iris scanners as well? A: No. Only APHIS will be using these

scanners at this time. But the agency certainly encourages horse industry organizations to utilize this technology as well.

Q: Is the use of iris scanners related to the other federal animal identification/traceability program, in which farmers are being asked to register all of their animals with the government?

A: No. This is simply a method of better identifying horses in the agency’s continue efforts to achieve its goal of eliminating the cruel and inhumane practice of soring horses.


It’s hard to see the logic of the Big Lick objection to the use of  “Iris Scans”.


Law enforcement uses finger prints all the time.  So do banks which require the thumb print of people who endorse and cash checks.  This ensures the prosecutor will have an “air tight” case in the event a person uses false pretenses to obtain money that is not theirs.

Obviously, the thumb print is conclusive proof of who endorsed the check.

The “Iris Scan”  provides the same positive identification regarding a horse.

And it allows a data base to be created showing which horses have been turned down on violation of the “Scar Rule” which is detected by the use of scientific objective testing of “Thermography”.

What the sore Big Lick fears the most is the doctrine handed down by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the 1995  Rowland vs USDA case.

One of the Plaintiffs in the Case was  Ms Denise Rowland who recently was honored “Youth Ambassador” at the December 2014 TWHBEA Annual Awards Banquet.  Ms. Rowland was elected a  TWHBEA Director from Tennessee in October 2014.  She has worked tirelessly for the Big Lick.



Succinctly, the doctrine of Rowland vs the USDA is,

 once a horse born after the effective date of the Horse Protection Act shows evidence of having been sored, that  horse is to be excluded from all future showing.

The corollary to Rowland vs USDA is “A Scarred Horse Is A Sore Horse.”

The Rowland vs USDA decision wasn’t in just any court.

It was in the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals.


The decisions of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals are  THE LAW in the State of Tennessee.

These decision can only be reversed by a decision of The Supreme Court of the United States or by an Act of Congress.




43 F.3d 1112
January 13, 1995


Summary of Opinion

The Rowlands owned and showed a Tennessee Walking Horse named Quarterback Stock. The horse was excluded from participating in a show on the ground it  showed evidence  of having been sored. The Rowlands challenged this determination by the Secretary of U.S.D.A. and the resulting civil fine of $2,000 and exclusion from showing for one year.
The primary basis for the challenge was that the horse showed  evidence of having been sored in the past, but there was  no sign that the horse was sore at the time of the veterinarian examination. The Court of Appeals interpreted a U.S.D.A. rule that  once a horse born after the effective date of the Horse Protection Act shows evidence of having been sored, that  horse is to be excluded from all future showing. Accordingly, the court upheld the decision of the Secretary of U.S.D.A.
 The sore Big Lick is as  deathly  afraid  of the Doctrine of Rowland vs USDA, and these  SILVER CROSSES which could implement the Rowland Doctrine to eliminate soring:
  • “Iris Scanning”
  • “Thermography”

as the Count Dracula was afraid of the “SILVER CROSS”:


The sore Big Lick leaders have loudly proclaimed that they wish to have Sound Objective Scientific Inspections, yet when presented with “Iris Scanning” and “Thermography”,  they rebel.    Washington, DC attorney Russell Gaspar, Esq.  whose clients include the American Horse Protection Association and FOSH (Friends Of Sound Horses),   summed it all up when he wrote a May 6, 2014 letter to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack:

“PSHA’s assertion that using thermography to detect soring is ‘not an objective inspection protocol’ is both plainly wrong and  patently hypocritical.     For years one of the principal big-lick attacks against USDA’s soring and scar rule enforcement has been that the inspection process is ‘subjective’ and not scientific.   Having demanded scientific objectivity,   the members of PSHA are now unhappy they’ve gotten it.”

Nephew Eugene is looking forward to seeing how the sore Big Lick attempts to refute what Mr. Gaspar had to say.