Roy Exum: The Best Money Can Buy
On the Federal level, animal abuse is still a misdemeanor – as Mr. Exum points out at the end of this excellent article which names name of politicians who support the Big Lick horse soring crowd. We all need to keep the pressure up to get the PAST Act made into law. Without this, at least at the Federal level, horse abuse is still a slap on the wrist crime. ~ HfH
From: The Chattanoogan
By: Roy Exum
A pointed editorial in Sunday’s editions of the Nashville Tennessean left little doubt that two pending bills currently in Congress are quite different. The headline itself told the whole story: “Rep. Ed Whitfield’s walking horse legislation would end soring; Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s would enable it.”
But whether the well-documented column will cause Tenn. Senator Lamar Alexander to reconsider introducing a companion bill to Rep. Blackburn’s disappointing legislation is a hot topic as Washington’s work-week begins tomorrow. On Friday several sources revealed Alexander was planning to make a push in the Senate this week with an alternate bill tailored to Blackburn’s bill in Congress. If so, it would be in marked defiance of the very popular PAST Act (HB 1518/S1406) that has now been endorsed by 47 Senators and 266 members of Congress to finally stop the flagrant and repugnant soring of horses.
The PAST Act, sponsored by congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky) and senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), has been endorsed by the leading equine groups in the country, including the huge American Veterinary Medical Association and the renowned American Association of Equine Practitioners. But Blackburn’s bill – a “Trojan Horse” as the Tennessean editors call it – represents “the best that the horse-abuser’s money could buy, in the form of tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to her campaign, in order to continue torturing and maiming horses.”
The editorial called out both Alexander and Tennessee’s other senator, Bob Corker, chiding them for their “silence” in the matter after it has become common knowledge in horse circles that Tennessee is the epicenter for horse abuse in the entire world. Walking Horses in Tennessee and surrounding states have endured a half-century of shameless soring and abuse. Soring is where caustic chemicals and harmful devices such as nails and screws are used to achieve an unnatural, high-kicking gait called the “Big Lick” and America has clearly had enough.
The vast majority of Walking Horse trainers and riders across the nation deplore the shameful practice but a seedy inner-core group headquartered in Shelbyville has lobbied hard in recent months to keep the pads, or stacks, and the shady judging, and the committees that are rife with Horse Protection Act violators from being affected by the PAST Act. They will stop at nothing to see the bill doesn’t pass.
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Habitat for Horses is always on the lookout for a few great people at our ranches. The work is unique, the animals are special and we want folks who both know and understand the special connection our animals need.