The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration starts in 13 days.
The only answer is for the USDA to crack down at this Celebration and go with a zero tolerance policy on soring.
Long time USDA observers report the Licker political pressure has worked in the past. Often the USDA will do a good job the first few days of the 11 day show, then appears to buckle under “political pressure” and then ends up ‘going through the motions’ during the second week of the Celebration.
On July 29, U.S.District Court Judge hammered the “Big Lick” Celebration SHOW HIO in a Summary Judgment in Texas federal court. Means’ decision upheld the USDA federal regulations known as Mandatory “Minimum Penalties”. These penalties which the Walking Horse Racket fought so hard to beat, crack down on the people who sore horses.
The decision came after the Dehaven, Benefield, Bippen & Lane group spent an hour with U. S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and then subsequently met with APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea and Deputy Administrator Chester Gipson, DVM.
HERE ARE THE KEY USDA OFFICIALS:
KEVIN SHEA – HEAD OF APHIS
CHESTER GIPSON, DVM – ANIMAL WELFARE
RACHEL CEZAR, DVM – NATIONAL HORSE PROTECTION COORDINATOR
For the 2013 Celebration, the ultimate questions for Dr. Chester Gipson, and his boss APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea, are:
* Are you in the ‘entertainment’ business or are you in the law enforcement business to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse?
* Are you in business to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse Racket?
It’s expected that the “Big Lickers” will send a delegation up to Washington in the next few days. They will put on a dog and pony show about what a great job they are doing to fight soring. They will pretend that the Lickers sueing the USDA to stop the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties” never happened. They will ‘po mouth’ about the Tennessee economy being hurt. They try to blame everybody, but themselves, for the mess they have made out of the Tennessee Walking Horse. They give lip service to stopping soreing, but then do not accept the Mandatory “Minimum Penalties”, and instead sue the USDA in an ill fated effort to stop them from going into effect.
In 2013, it’s past time for the rubber to meet the road regarding the USDA enforcing the HPA with a zero tolerance policy.
The USDA needs to get tough and stay tough on soring from day -1- to day -11- of the 2013 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
The Tennessee Walking Horse and the public deserve no less.
Will Dr. Chester Gipson get the job done?