It’s showtime in Shelbyville again, a line you’ll likely hear announcer Mark Farrar shout during the Tennessee Walking Horse’s national celebration set to crown its 83rd Grand World Champion (WGC) on Saturday night. The 2021 Grand World Championship will likely be won by one of the two contenders who won the preliminary world championships last Saturday – Rodney Dick and “Really Coach” or Tyler Baucom and “Minor Ordeal”.

But unfortunately, many coaches participating in the event have a long history of violation of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) which was designed to eradicate the painful practice of the wound – the intentional infliction of pain in the feet and legs of horses by applying caustic chemicals such as kerosene, mustard oil or other caustic substances or by inserting sharp objects into horses’ hooves to induce an artificial high step known as “Big Lick”.

Marty Irby (Animal Welfare Action)

The Big Lick looks quite different from that of the first great world champion, Strolling Jim, crowned in 1939, who wore nothing more than a pair of horseshoes on his front legs, and exhibited a healthy, gentle gait. and natural. which made the walking horse famous. But for decades every great world champion has been allowed to show off and compete with big-stacked shoes as high as 8-10 inches on their feet and metal anklets around their pasterns – devices used to exacerbate the pain caused by body aches.

And 2021 would have been the last celebration in history where big stack shoes and ankle chains were worn without the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) whose leaders intentionally torpedoed an effort. to adopt anti-soring legislation because the compromise did not reflect all the provisions of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) law. This bill has not won support for nine consecutive years, and there is no way that will change anytime soon.

The compromise – hard-fought, with Walking Horse industry leaders finally agreeing to change their ways – would eliminate horse ankle chains and require a dramatic reduction in the size of the stacked shoes that give Walking Horse shows a medieval feel. . The measure also makes doggedness a federal crime, ends a self-control program, and bans the use of tail splints that hold the horse’s tail in a U-shaped position after the ligaments are severed – the all for a certain look.

Animal Wellness Action executives have been working to enact the PAST Act since 2012, when it was first introduced in the United States House. We like its provisions, but the bill cannot be passed in its present form. You legislate not on the basis of your hopes, but by counting the votes and understanding where the legislative obstacles lie.

It’s time for the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Tennessee, but efforts to enact legislation banning anti-cruelty techniques like the plague have been torpedoed by leaders of the Human Society of the United States.

The PASSED act only crossed the Chamber in July 2019 following the name change of the bill to US Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act to honor the late Senator who drafted the HPA and died in 2018. This was a strategy we developed with the Tydings family and the Citizen Campaign Against Animal Cruelty Big Lick – not HSUS or HSLF. The measure – led by the two Congressional vets at the time – Reps Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., And Ted Yoho, R-Fla. – emptied the house by 333 votes to 96, but with opposition from senators from Tennessee and Kentucky and 96 House Republicans opposing it, the bill was dead when it arrived in the upper house. In light of this circumstance we have gathered representatives always involved in the breed to form the revisions to the PAST law that would have allowed the bill to become law. If it had been promulgated at the end of 2020, it would have entered into force in November.

The House and Senate have the votes to pass the PAST law, but almost all animal bills need Senate consensus to pass, and we don’t have that on the PAST law. In light of this political reality, at Animal Wellness Action, we sat down with the industry and worked to achieve a compromise that would finally end the horse plague in America. The Horse Protection Act of 1970, which was a monumental achievement over half a century ago, has proven too weak to stop the pain. That is why we need a fortification of the law that can be enacted, so that we can finally end the pain.

The compromise effort garnered support from Monty Roberts, “the man who listens to horses”; Mark Miller, frontman of the band Sawyer Brown who owned walking horses; the family of former Joseph Tydings, who was the author of the Horse Protection Act in 1970; SPCA International; and dozens of equine and animal protection groups. And the effort was gaining momentum until the HSUS and HSLF decided to act as obstructionists and allow the current inhumane practices to escalate.

While the old PAST law was reintroduced this year by the Senses. Mike Crapo, R-Ida., And Mark Warner, D-Va., It’s just a messaging bill at this point in the game, blocked by a handful of senators from the region where the sores occur most, and there is no end in sight.

The sabotage of solid compromise legislation in 2020 is unfortunate, but we hope that stakeholders will come together and work on the differences to make changes that will allow the bill to pass the Senate and become law. The Humane Society’s opposition to the compromise only ensured one thing: horses will continue to be injured indefinitely.

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