MURFREESBORO, TN – The MTSU Sidlines online student newspaper and The Murfreesboro Pulse both reported today on the Big Lick Animal Cruelty issue which has come to rest on the MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) campus, and a decision facing MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. McPhee.
The impetus was Gen’s Ice Glimmer who was tortured on the MTSU campus at the 2013 “MTSU WALKING FOR EDUCATION HORSE SHOW” held on the MTSU main campus. The logo of the Show Program is that of MTSU.
University Petitioned by Horse Rights Activists for MTSU Walking for Education
- BY SARAH GRACE TAYLOR | NEWS EDITOR • AUGUST 26, 2015
The All American Walking Horse Alliance (AAWHA) is petitioning MTSU’s association with “big-lick” walking horses and asking President McPhee and other involved faculty to “sever ties” with this “cruelty.”
AAWHA spokesman Clant Seay purchased a horse from an auction in July. The horse, Glimmer, was badly scarred on both feet from “soring” during his days as a big-lick show horse. Soring is a training method in which a horse is either burnt with chemicals on each of its front feet or pulled with chains to make it kick up its front legs in what is known as the “big-lick.” If a horse either has one active sore or burn, or two feet scarred from prior soring, it is disqualified from the competition and its trainer/owner can face citations and other disciplinary action because of regulations set in the Horse Protection Act of 1970.
(PHOTO OF GLIMMER’S SCARRED FEET TAKEN IN JULY 2015/SUBMITTED)
In 2013, Glimmer was registered to walk at the MTSU Walking for Education Horse Show held on campus. Glimmer had been sored and not allowed to participate at the show. While Glimmer was not allowed to participate on MTSU grounds, Seay believes that by hosting these events MTSU is supporting the sport and therefore perpetuating the cruelty involved.
MTSU Vice President of Marketing and Communication, Andrew Oppmann, says the event was not “organized or sanctioned by the school.”
“We asked the outside group who staged the event to remove any reference to the university in their materials. The Tennessee Livestock Center and the Tennessee Miller Coliseum are among several facilities at MTSU that are available for rental by outside groups or organizations. Events staged by renters of these facilities are not university events and any activities held within those spaces are the sole responsibility of the outside groups or organizations,” Opmann wrote. “However, it is the responsibility of outside groups and organizations to ensure that any events staged in leased facilities comply with state and federal laws, including those concerning the health and well-being of any animals exhibited or housed at MTSU facilities. MTSU does not condone the illegal or unethical treatment of any animal. As home to the state’s largest Equine Science program, the university is a strong supporter of our state’s horse industry. We also recognize that the overwhelming majority of people associated with the industry maintain the highest standards of ethical care for their animals.”
Seay still pleads for people to sign the petition, which has recieved 8,984 supporters since its launch date of Aug. 19.
Among the supporters are several who claim to be MTSU alumni “sickened” by the university’s involvement in the big-lick cruelty.
One supporter from Mulberry, Tennessee, wrote “I’ve always been proud to have attended MTSU’s incredible Horse Science Program. But for having such an incredible program, this is an absolute shame. It’s time to show that MTSU wants nothing to do with Big Lick. Let’s honor our amazing Tennessee Walking Horses by stopping this abuse!”
Another supporter from Chattanooga, Tennessee, wrote, “I’m an alumnus of MTSU, and I am ashamed that my alma mater is associated with the systematic abuse of TN Walking Horses. As a lifelong horse owner, I know walking horses have suffered this abuse for over 50 years. Please immediately sever all university ties with any person or organization that supports Big Lick walking horses.”
Seay and the AAWHA will host a protest at the Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville on Thursday. Anyone who shows up to the event to protest is promised a free T-shirt.
THE MURFREESBORO PULSE:
“The Murfreesboro Pulse”, the leading news source of Tennessee’s fast growing city, reports on MTSU and Glimmer and the Decision facing MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. McPhee to follow the lead of Flagship Universities – Tennessee and Ole Miss – in severing ties with Big Lick Animal Cruelty.
A group of citizens concerned about animal cruelty will stage a protest tomorrow in Shelbyville as the annual Celebration kicks off at the Calsonic Arena.
Beginning at 4 p.m., the protesters will ask people to boycott the Celebration.
Clant Seay, one of the protest organizers, bought a horse named Glimmer last month at auction. Glimmer is the “smoking gun” he says, evidence of the abuse that some trainers inflicts on their animals to force them to adopt the “big lick” walking horse gait.
GEN’S ICE Glimmer is currently at an “undisclosed location,” but is getting lots of media attention this week, and now has his own Facebook page:
Seay says this saga has some strong MTSU connections; the university has hosted walking horse events in the past where the animals were found to be abused. Protesters are asking MTSU to cut all ties to the big lick walking horse industry.
Nephew Eugene says hopefully that Dr. Sidney A. McPhee will become a “Profile In Courage” and choose to place MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) on the right side of history where the Big Lick Animal Cruelty issue is concerned.
And if Dr. McPhee does so, the over 9,000 people from all over America and over 82 foreign countries around the world will applaud him.
The University of Tennessee and The University of Mississippi have led the way.
Will MTSU follow?