Roy Exum: The ‘Lickers’ Are Desperate
The Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA), desperately trying to cling to the now-seedy image that has resulted in a half-century of abuse to Tennessee Walking Horses, accused U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) of “misleading and inaccurate testimony” on Thursday when, in fact, the Shelbyville-based organization is today considered a haven of false propaganda.
PSHA is the latest acronym of a club that those responsible for the Walking Horse Celebration has just launched to hide the tarnished reputations of other groups that revere the “Big Lick,” an unnatural gait that many believe can only be achieved by torturing and soring the magnificent animals. Whitfield had sponsored an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have instead helped cripple those who apply caustic chemicals and agents to the horse’s forelegs so they’ll pick their painful legs up higher.
The Farm Bill was defeated for the second straight year in Congress yesterday, 234-to-195, and while it is unknown what Congress will do next, there is no doubt the horse welfare advocates will swat away any attempts by the PSHA to sell itself as a legitimate entity after years on consistent and rampant horse abuse in what is laughingly now called the “performance” animal.
In a poorly-advised press release, PSHA charged that “Whitfield failed to tell his former members of Congress that:
CLAIM: “The amendment eliminates a total division of the equine breed, impacting more than 10,000 horses that would be deemed no longer fit for their intended purpose.”
FACT: Horse shows wouldn’t skip a beat. “Dirty Lickers” might lose their jobs but if a massive effort to remove the cheaters from the game is successful, it only stands to reason that more people would show because the playing field is level. Believe this, the cheaters are well-known.
CLAIM: “Take from hard-working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and income without cause or any scientific evidence”
FACT: In just the last year, five men have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from horse abuse and two trainers – convicted Jackie McConnell and just-caught Larry Wheelon – still face state charges. If Wheelon is found guilty on all 19 horses that were “scientifically” found to be abused, he could technically die in jail. We have more “cause” than the war in Iraq!
CLAIM: “Eliminate … self-regulation … which is far superior to federal government.”
FACT: Over half of the top horse show judges in the group SHOW have past violations of the Horse Protection Act and a recent check of the Trainer’s Association showed its members were rife with violations. (Wheelon headed its ethic committee) Trainers president Mickey McCormick has over a dozen suspensions – all by the US Dept. of Agriculture. “Self-regulation” in Shelbyville would outlaw mirrors.
FACT: If mankind is ever going to do away with the “Dirty Lickers,” honest USDA veterinarians and inspectors are the only answer. How many USDA inspectors to you see at a dog show or county fair? The sleazy side of the Walking Horse industry has smeared the reputation of 95 percent of owners who are clean, sound and honest. Horse abuse for cheap ribbons must stop. America has clearly had enough.
CLAIM: “Creates a Federal bureaucracy at a huge cost to taxpayers ….”
FACT: You want to see a bureaucracy? Go to Shelbyville, TN and just follow the money. The Breeder’s Association just fired its president, allegedly so his boss could win a ribbon. The same Breeder’s Association is floundering in a stinking sea of public perception and there is, in fact, “so much smoke that anyone can tell the Dirty Lick is ablaze in troubles.” The National Celebration has turned into a fiasco with heavy financial losses.
Yet the press release from PSHA claims the Whitfield Amendment, if it stays on the next effort to get the Farm Bill through Congress, will ruin the walking horse industry. If ever there was a press release written by Pinocchio, Thursday’s missive from the so-called PSHA was surely it.
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