Those involved in the Big Lick segment of the Tennessee walking horse industry are desperate to prevent any crackdown on their illegal, inhumane training practices. That was made clear by comments made at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s listening session in Lexington on a proposed rule to end soring.
The rule proposed last month is consistent with recommendations of an audit released by the USDA’s inspector general in 2010 and with key elements of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. USDA is now correcting weaknesses in its own regulations that prevent the Horse Protection Act from ending soring as Congress intended 46 years ago.
The Big Lick industry has had decades to clean up its act, but they haven’t. They’ve just gotten more sophisticated at inflicting pain on their horses, covering up the abuse and working the political process to obstruct any progress. By demanding an extension to the public comment period, the handful of legislators in Congress who do the bidding of horse sorers have also deployed a stall tactic to derail the rule.
The majority of the Tennessee walking horse world supports these reforms to deal with morally repugnant behavior that gives the industry a major black eye.
Senior advisor on equine protection
The Humane Society of the United States