THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 2015 CELEBRATION

Following are the articles written by the Walking Horse Report covering the inspections by the USDA.

Does HSUS Control USDA? Friday, August 28, 2015
By Jeffrey Howard The connection between the United States Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States is well documented and the start of the 2015 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is once again the chopping block for the allies to carry out their collective agenda.  The 2015 show season began with the USDA losing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on their flawed attempt to force HIOs to institute federal penalties of the Horse Protection Act, a rulemaking that was heavily endorsed by HSUS. The connection between HSUS and USDA begins at the top.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s wife Christie Vilsack, ran for Congress in Iowa against Rep. Steve King.  The HSUS spent over $750,000 in the race in their attempt to get Vilsack elected.  In addition, in the investigation over potential ethics violations by Rep. Ed Whitfield, emails were made public that identified Dr. Rachel Cezar with the USDA as the “insider contact” of the HSUS in the department. The show season, for the most part, got off to a very good start with DQP inspections conducted by SHOW and Veterinary Medical Officers inspections conducted by the USDA being consistent and in most cases agreement.  As August approached, VMO inspections began to change as a new VMO Aaron Rhyner came into the picture for the USDA and violations skyrocketed.   The USDA and its lead VMO, Dr. Jeff Baker were in attendance at the annual 4th of July weekend in Middle Tennessee, a highlight weekend in the Tennessee Walking Horse calendar.  During the three nights of performances, 751 horses were inspected pre-show.  The USDA took information on 15 potential violations of the HPA or just under 2% of the entries.  Dr. Cezar was not in attendance at any of the three nights of shows. Since that time, HSUS has released a false and misleading undercover investigation of ThorSport Farms the day before the start of the 77th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  Does anyone think there is a coincidence in the timing of that release?   All of the horses named in the report were sent to an independent equine hospital and found to be in perfect health and had zero signs of any abuse.  The false report by HSUS caught very few people by surprise.  The organization has been proven to be corrupt after they and their co-defendants paid over $15M to Feld Entertainment to settle a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit after it was discovered they paid a plaintiff to lie in the original lawsuit in 2014. Dr. Cezar, the HSUS “insider contact” at the USDA, has not been at a horse show all year in 2015 yet was in attendance at the start of The Celebration.  At the first evening performance of the Celebration on August 27, 129 entries were inspected pre-show and the USDA found 18 horses in violation of the HPA.  Without Dr. Cezar in attendance and HSUS not targeting The Celebration, USDA VMOs found less than 2% of entries in potential violation.  With Dr. Cezar’s presence on the first day of the show and HSUS pressure on VMOs to target The Celebration, those VMOs on Thursday night found 14% of entries in potential violation. Of those 18 horses disqualified on the first night, 15 were found to be in compliance with SHOW rules by the DQPs.  Those 15 horses disqualified by the USDA have previously been inspected and found compliant 71 times this year, 47 of those times with USDA VMOs in attendance at the horse show. This isn’t a new trick by the USDA.  At last year’s Celebration, approximately 100 horses had information taken on potential scar rule violations by USDA after passing SHOW’s inspection.  Those same 100 horses had passed over 300 inspections that year prior to The Celebration with the USDA in attendance 80% of the time.  Even more disturbing, 34 of those 100 horses showed five weeks later and 32 of those 34 passed inspection with USDA VMOs in attendance.  Dr. Cezar was in attendance at The Celebration but not at the show five weeks later. Rep. Scott DesJarlais was in attendance at The Celebration on August 27th and met with USDA personnel and saw first-hand the overreach by the federal government.  The USDA had 21 persons in attendance to inspect a performance with 129 horses.  Obviously, Secretary Vilsack is not worried about the deficit. Does the HSUS control the actions of the USDA?  I don’t know if we will ever know but the numbers tell a compelling story and HSUS has proven they will pay to cover it up.

 

USDA Continues Bully Approach Saturday, August 29, 2015
The USDA’s Veterinary Medical Officers (VMOs) continued their assault of The Celebration by disqualifying 22 horses on Friday evening that passed inspection by the SHOW HIO Designated Qualified Persons.  Those 22 horses had previously passed inspection 99 times in 2015 with the USDA VMOs in attendance for 71 of those 99 inspections.  In two evening performances, the USDA has now disqualified 37 horses that passed SHOW’s inspection.  In 2015, those 37 horses had previously passed inspection 170 times with the USDA present for 118 of those, close to 70% of the time. All 37 horses have been disqualified from competition without being proven in violation of the Horse Protection Act.  The VMOs have simply taken information on potential HPA violations and in most cases the evidence will be insufficient for an enforcement action to take place. After last year’s show, we took an in-depth look at the USDA’s enforcement of the scar rule.  This year’s stats are simply unbelievable.  Prior to the start of the 2015 Celebration, the USDA has been present for 4,397 inspections and taken information on 52 horses for potential scar rule violations or 1%.  In two evening performances of the Celebration with a total of 255 inspections, the USDA has taken information on 25 horses for potential scar rule violations or 10%. For Friday evening’s 126 entries the USDA had 22 people at The Celebration in inspection.  Of those 22, nine were designated for security.
USDA Continues To Contradict Earlier Inspections Monday, August 31, 2015
By Jeffrey Howard The United States Department of Agriculture arrived again in their motorcade of black SUVs with over 20 personnel to conduct inspections on 147 entries Saturday night and 134 entries on Sunday evening.  The trend of horses who have passed USDA VMO inspections all year failing VMO inspections at The Celebration continued at a record pace. On Saturday evening, the USDA disqualified 17 horses that passed SHOW Designated Qualified Person (DQP) inspections.  Those 17 horses had previously passed inspection 69 times in 2015 with USDA VMOs in attendance for 34 of those previous inspections.  In 147 entries on Saturday evening, the USDA VMOs took information on 14 horses for potential scar rule violations. On Sunday evening, VMOs disqualified 19 horses that passed DQP inspections.  Those 19 horses had passed inspection 88 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 27 of those inspections.  Of the 134 entries, USDA VMOs took information on 12 potential scar rule violations. That brings the total of horses disqualified by VMOs that have passed DQP inspections to 73.  Those 73 horses have passed inspection 327 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 199 of those inspections. Previously, Walking Horse Report found that in 2015 USDA VMOs had been present for 4,397 inspections prior to The Celebration and took information on a total of 52 horses for potential scar rule violations.  In four evening performances and 536 entries at The Celebration, USDA VMOs have taken information on 51 potential scar rule violations, a rate 10x that of the entire show season prior to The Celebration. The motivation for the behavior of the VMOs is unknown but the pressure on the USDA by the Humane Society of the United States appears to be a possible link.  The relationship of HSUS and the USDA has grown stronger under the leadership of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose wife aided in her election campaign in Iowa of $750,000 spent by HSUS to attack Republican candidate Steve King.   As is common with HSUS, the 8 television stations that took advertisements from HSUS removed those ads later when it was found that they contained false information.  King went on to beat Vilsack in the election. A more recent link to HSUS’ influence on Secretary Vilsack is Vilsack’s recent appointment of HSUS Chief Veterinarian Officer Dr. Michael Blackwell to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.  Dr. Blackwell was present at the teleconference HSUS conducted on the false and misleading undercover investigation of ThorSport farm last week.  All of the horses Blackwell commented on were found to be in perfect health and showed no signs of soring by an independent equine hospital

 

Excuses Running Out on USDA Actions Tuesday, September 01, 2015
The excuses given by the USDA for the increase in horses disqualified at The Celebration each year are being proven erroneous by facts and data readily available on the USDA-APHIS web site.  According to multiple sources, Dr. Gipson has tried throughout the show to say the use of new equipment is the reason for the increase in potential violations.  The problem is, by the USDA’s own admission, there is no new equipment being used at the Celebration. The equipment in question is thermography, yet thermography has been used by the USDA for years and is not only used at The Celebration but also at many shows throughout the year.  In 2015, the USDA used thermography on 1,151 horses prior to The Celebration at SHOW HIO affiliated shows.  Of those 1,151 horses, the USDA took information on 36 potential scar rule violations or 3%.   At this year’s Celebration, of the 649 evening performance entries, the USDA has taken information on 72 potential scar rule violations or 11%.  This number is actually much higher as not all 649 entries have been subject to thermography.  Clearly, Dr. Gipson’s excuse for the targeting of the Celebration and increasing the potential violations is not due to new equipment or the use of thermography. The subjectivity of the inspection protocol has been a problem for years and although objective inspection methods exist, the USDA and Humane Society of the United States continue to fight their implementation so as to use the current subjective inspections to unfairly disqualify horses.  In Monday evening’s performance, 10 two-year-old stallions were disqualified.  Those 10 horses had been inspected previously by the same VMOs with the same equipment at this year’s Celebration and passed seven times.   On Monday evening the VMOs disqualified 24 horses that passed the inspection given by the DQPs.  Those 24 horses had previously passed inspection 100 times in 2015 with the USDA VMOs present 59 times.  The total of horses disqualified at the Celebration that have passed inspection by the SHOW HIO has risen to 97.  Those 97 horses have passed inspection 427 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 258 of those inspections or 60%. As the facts continue to validate the USDA’s concerted effort to harm The Celebration, it is not surprising that the USDA continues to fight the videotaping of their actions and even kicked Nashville’s WTVF Channel 5 (local CBS affiliate) out of inspection and refused to allow the videotaping of their actions.  The SHOW HIO had previously welcomed Channel 5 to film the inspections of their DQPs. http://www.scrippsmedia.com/newschannel5/news/Concerns-Over-Disqualification-of-Horses-at-National-Walking-Horse-Celebration-323386731.html
USDA Piling Up Numbers Wednesday, September 02, 2015
The numbers continue to pile up as the USDA Veterinary Medical Officers disqualify horses with the subjective inspection protocols that continue to plague the industry.  On Tuesday night, September  1, the USDA disqualified 16 horses that had previously passed SHOW Designated Qualified Person inspections. Those 16 horses had previously passed inspection 74 times in 2015 prior to the Celebration with the USDA present for 40 of those inspections.  For the show that brings the total of horses disqualified by the VMOs that had passed the SHOW inspection to 113.  Those 113 horses had previously passed inspection 501 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 298 of those inspections. Taking a closer look at the horses disqualified on Tuesday night will show that three of those horses had previously passed a USDA inspection at this year’s show.  One such horse had passed on Monday night just 24 hours prior to the inspection on Tuesday night.  All three horses that had previously passed during the 2015 Celebration were disqualified for a potential scar rule violation on Tuesday night.  Per the medical and HPA definition of a scar, it is impossible to not have a scar on Monday night and have one on Tuesday night. The USDA took information on a potential 17 scar rule violations on Tuesday evening’s 120 entries.  For the show, the USDA has taken information on 89 potential scar rule violations in 769 entries in the evening performances.  The disqualification rate of 11.5% for potential scar rule violations at this year’s Celebration is compared to the season rate of 1.1% when USDA VMOs are at the show conducting inspections.

 

USDA Trend Continues Thursday, September 03, 2015
The United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Medical Officers continued their trend of disqualifying horses at this year’s Celebration that had previously passed inspection by those same VMOs.  On Wednesday evening, the USDA disqualified 12 horses that passed inspection by the SHOW Designated Qualified Persons.  Those 12 horses had previously passed inspection 49 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 32 of those inspections or 65% of the time. For the seven evening performances that is 125 horses disqualified that had previously passed inspection 550 times in 2015 with the USDA VMOs in attendance conducting inspections 330 times.  There were 81 entries on Wednesday night presented for inspection and USDA VMOs took information on 10 potential scar rule violations.  The USDA has taken information on 99 potential scar rule violations in 850 entries or 11.5%.  This is compared to a 1% rate during the season prior to The Celebration. The subjectivity of the inspections is continuing to be highlighted by the inconsistencies of the VMOs during the show.  On Wednesday evening, four of the 12 horses disqualified had already passed inspection by USDA at this year’s Celebration.  All four of those horses were disqualified for potential scar rule violations.  Two of those four horses had passed inspection the night prior, Tuesday evening. Also, four of the horses were passed pre-show for compliance with the scar rule only later to be disqualified post-show for a potential scar rule by the same VMO that passed the horse pre-show.  Although 125 horses have been disqualified by the USDA, none of those horses have been proven to have a violation.

 

USDA Disqualifications Increase by Over 850% at Celebration Friday, September 04, 2015
Although each horse presented for inspection on Thursday evening had previously passed inspection at this year’s Celebration, United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Medical Officers (VMOs) disqualified an additional 13 horses that passed SHOW Designated Qualified Person (DQP) inspection last night.  That brings the total horses disqualified to 138 that had previously passed inspection by the DQPs. The 13 horses disqualified on Thursday evening had previously passed inspection 72 times in 2015 with USDA VMOs in attendance for 54, or 75%, of those inspections.  For the Celebration, the 138 horses disqualified by USDA have passed 622 inspections with the USDA present for 384 of those inspections. Despite during the year USDA VMOs taking information on just 52 horses for potential scar rule violations in 4397 entries (1.2%), the VMOs have taken information on 110 potential scar rule violations on just 954 entries at this year’s Celebration evening performances, or 11.5%.  That is an increase of 858% in USDA potential scar rule violations at The Celebration.   Despite claims by USDA that nothing has changed in their inspections at The Celebration, the numbers simply don’t support their claims.  Dr. Chester Gipson with the USDA summed it up with Rep. Scott DesJarlais when he told the Congressman, “There are a lot of injustices in this world.”

Influenced or Incompetent…or both Sunday, September 06, 2015
The United States Department of Agriculture finished the 77th Annual Celebration the same way they started by disqualifying horses that had passed their Veterinary Medical Officers all year long.  On Friday and Saturday evening the USDA VMOs disqualified an additional 25 horses that had passed inspection by SHOW HIO Designated Qualified Persons.  Those 25 horses had passed inspection 128 times in 2015 with the USDA present for 86 of those inspections. For the Celebration, the USDA disqualified 163 horses that previously passed inspection by SHOW HIO DQPs.  For the weekend of championship classes, the USDA disqualified 38 horses with all but a couple of those horses already being passed by USDA VMOs in their qualifying classes.  The 163 horses disqualified by the USDA had passed inspection 750 times in 2015 prior to The Celebration with the USDA present for 470 of those inspections or 63% of the time. It is not uncommon for the USDA to use the subjective scar rule to disqualify horses that are not in violation for any other reason.  During the course of the season, VMOs took information on 52 potential scar rule violations in 4,397 entries.  At this year’s Celebration, the USDA took information on 127 potential scar rule violations in 1,217 entries.  Prior to the Celebration, horses had potential scar rule violations 1.2% of the time, yet those same horses under the care of the same professionals had potential scar rule violations 10.4% of the time at The Celebration. The USDA denies targeting and profiling allegations by stating that equipment used at The Celebration is the reason for the increase in violations.  This statement is simply not true and has been proven to be false by the USDA’s own admission.  The USDA does not use new equipment at The Celebration to determine potential scar rule violations. Dr. Chester Gipson and Dr. Tracy Turner, a paid consultant to the USDA and promoter of thermography, have stated that the use of thermography at The Celebration is the reason for the increase in potential violations.  First, the USDA has not provided any peer-reviewed study to back their claims of thermography’s use in determining a scar and during the 2015 show season when the USDA used thermography prior to The Celebration, their VMOs found potential scar rule violations only 3% of the time. Information leading to the basis for the USDA’s actions each year at The Celebration may come if Rep. Scott DesJarlais is successful in getting USDA-APHIS personnel before a Congressional oversight hearing.  The answer thus far to Rep. DesJarlais from Dr. Gipson is that the industry needs to “deal with it” because the “world is full of injustices.” Whether the VMOs are incompetent or influenced, an explanation is needed for the 767% increase in disqualifications for potential violations of the scar rule at The Celebration.

VAC Finds Zero Violations at 2015 Celebration Saturday, October 17, 2015
The Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) issued its final report to the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration on October 7, 2015.  The report indicated the VAC found no violations of the Drug & Medications Rules implemented for the 2015 Celebration. The VAC obtained blood on class winners on August 29, September 2, 3, 4 and 5 for a total of 70 entries being tested.  In addition, digital x-rays were performed on 14 horses and the results were reviewed by horse show veterinarian, Dr. John O’Brien and VAC Chairman Dr. Jerry Johnson.  No violations were found as a result of the digital x-rays. “The VAC feels that the implementation of the Drug & Medication Rules and Guidelines specifically, along with the digital x-rays and examination of shoeing, represented a significant advancement for the welfare of the horse,” said VAC spokesman G. Thomas Blankenship. The 2015 Drug & Medication Rules and Guidelines were released on June 30, 2015 after extensive review from the 430 horses tested in 2014, consultation with Dr. Scott Stanley, Director of the UC-Davis laboratory and discussion between the members of the VAC.  The VAC and Celebration hosted a public forum on the guidelines to help with education and understanding prior to the 2015 Celebration. “The TWHNC VAC in conjunction with the UC Davis Maddy Laboratory, worked to develop medication drug rules and withdrawal guidelines which were put into action at the 2015 Celebration. To facilitate cooperation from participants, the VAC also wrote and disseminated two documents, Medication Fact Sheet and Threshold Limits, which allowed veterinary practitioners and horsemen to better understand the new requirements. Making use of the resources of a fully accredited lab (UC Davis’, K.L. Maddy Equine Analytical Laboratory) provided the 2015 Celebration with the most comprehensive anti-doping program available in the country. These combined efforts resulted in a tremendously successful event,” said Dr. Stanley “The VAC members firmly and unequivocally believe that the Drug & Medication Rules & Guidelines and their enforcement has been the single most important advancement to the welfare of the horse since the beginning of the Horse Protection Act,” concluded Blankenship.  In addition to the tests at the Celebration, the VAC also conducted testing at the 2015 Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) National Futurity and found no violations. “We would like to thank the Veterinary Advisory Committee for their work and expertise at the Celebration.  The Celebration remains committed to taking whatever steps necessary to ensure the welfare of horses competing at our shows.  The results in 2015 represent an important step as our participants understand the serious nature of following the drug guidelines.  In the future, it is our hope that the steps taken by the VAC and The Celebration will be instituted industry-wide and provide a more consistent, reliable and objective inspection,” said Celebration Chairman Pat Marsh. As part of their attendance at the Celebration, Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Johnson were able to observe entries, specifically noting the horse’s demeanor, overall condition and attitude, the movement of the horse and general condition of the shoeing.  Both confirmed that all of those that they observed appeared to be in compliance with all rules and regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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