PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – Sixteen citizens representing the over 80,000 persons who have signed Change.Org Petitions protesting “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty (from the North Carolina State Fair to the Gulf of Mexico (PCB, Fl), and all “The Horses” who cannot speak for themselves, appeared before the PCB/Bay County TDC (Tourism Development Council today, and asked the TDC to withdraw the $25,000.00 it approved to fund the “Big Lick” Gulf Coast Charity Trainers Show.
CITIZENS AGAINST BIG LICK ANIMAL CRUELTY
The TDC Vice Chair Mr. Andy Phillips acknowledged receiving hundreds of emails, but attempted to justify the Board’s action because no one showed up to “Tell Them” all of this on January 12, 2016.
Clant M. Seay responding to Mr. Phillips saying, “Ms. Martha “Sister” Blackmon-Milligan should be blamed for not disclosing these material facts at the January 12, 2016, meeting. Mr. Seay said TDC President Mr. Dan Rowe was put on notice on January 29, 2016 of the Change.Org Petition and the Citizens objections to PCB hosting the Horse Show. Seay asked for a conference call to voice their objections, and there was no response to the request by the TDC. Seay pointed out that the TDC Board had a regular meeting on Feb. 9, 2016, and the matter could have been taken up at that time. He said he had no knowledge of the $25,000.00 deal until Feb. 12 which was the day after he arrived in PCB and appeared before the City Council on Feb. 11, 2016.”
Board Member Mr. Gary Walsingham expressed regret at not having all the facts on January 12, 2016, but said “We can’t undo something which has been done”.
Mr. Seay said, “You don’t want to own this. Cancel the $25,000.00 – call her in (Ms. Milligan) and explain it to her. This is going to hurt you. You can’t go into business with these people on this Trainer’s Show, for God’s sake. Right is right and wrong is wrong. There is no middle ground on it. The PAST ACT – 18 of 27 Florida Congressmen – the whole country is lined up against this.”
“You are spending $25,000 to get $1 million dollars worth of bad publicity.” Clant M. Seay, Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty
Citizens provided the TDC Board with the USDA Horse Inspection Report for the 2015 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration which showed 35% of “Big Lick” horses were disqualified by USDA vet inspectors, and “Soring Data” Sheet provided by FOSH ( Friends of Sound Horses).
Ironically, a large portion of the TDC meeting was spent listening to a presentation of how social media could help their tourism based economy.
Here is a Facebook Video which started running at 10:30 p.m. on March 5, 2016.
So far, it has reached over 100,000 persons and been viewed 22,000 times:
“Bay County’s tourism board took no action Tuesday on a request from animal welfare advocates to withdraw $25,000 it has committed in funding for an upcoming horse show.
TDC hears animal welfare concerns, takes no action on horse show
News Herald ReporterFollow
Posted Mar. 8, 2016 at 3:06 PM
Updated at 4:26 PM
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Bay County’s tourism board took no action Tuesday on a request from animal welfare advocates to withdraw $25,000 it has committed in funding for an upcoming horse show.
Mississippi resident Clant Seay has been leading the movement to convince officials to cancel the proposed Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show at Frank Brown Park scheduled from April 21 through April 23.
The Tourist Development Council (TDC) listened to animal welfare advocates argue that weights and chemicals trainers use to make the horses flip their legs in a high gait, known as the “big lick,” amounts to animal cruelty. The chemicals in some cases create sores on the horse’s legs, and the USDA has a pending case against “Sister” Martha-Blackmon Milligan, a participant and organizer of the event, for showing an allegedly sore horse in 2013.
Several TDC members questioned Seay and others as to why they didn’t come before the board and make their case when they voted on funding the $25,000 in January. Several TDC members said they may not have voted for the funding if they knew then what they know now.
Daniel Harmon, who said his wife and daughter has participated in the show for many years, pointed out that the shows have USDA inspectors on hand to check out the horses before they are shown.
“There are sanctions for violating the Horse Protection Act,” he said.
He pointed out the event has raised about $700,000 for charities since 1999.
About a dozen residents showed up the meeting at the Beach Council chambers to show their support for the request to withdraw the funding. Seay said there will be protests at the show.
“We’re not trying to hurt you. We’re trying to make you aware of this,” Seay said. “You are spending $25,000 to get $1 million of bad publicity.”
More in-depth coverage coming including videos.
Reporting from “The Beach”.