USDA Rule Biased and Unlawful





January 13, 2017


(Shelbyville, Tennessee) Earlier today, the United States Department of Agriculture notified stakeholders such as the Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA) that they have finalized a regulation that, once in place, will devastate the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and the thousands of Tennessee and Kentucky families that depend on the industry for their livelihood.


The rule, expected to be published in final form sometime next week in the Federal Register, will eliminate the use of pads and action devices within one year, eliminate the Designated Qualified Persons program established by Congress within the Horse Protection Act and require extremely expensive new costs on shows. Most importantly, the new rule will do nothing to address the issue of soring that the Performance Show Horse Association has been advocating for the past 4 years as it does not address in any way the inadequate and completely subjective inspection that the Department currently requires and will maintain for any of the shows that are able to remain in existence once this rule goes in to effect.


“This rule was authored by the Humane Society of the United States and the Department of Agriculture and Secretary Tom Vilsack are pushing out this regulation at the last minute because, quite simply and bluntly, Tom Vilsack has a debt to the Humane Society that he had to repay and this assault against the Tennessee Walking Horse industry was the price. His wife received almost $800,000 from Humane Society and he is simply doing what they told him to do” said PSHA Chairman Terry Dotson. “The Congress of the United States has told the Department and Secretary Vilsack in each of the last 4 years to work with the industry and develop a real comprehensive solution to this issue which we want but, like all Obama Administration people, the Secretary and the Department don’t feel the laws of the country apply to them and they chose to ignore this direction.”


This rule in final form was pushed out in very quick fashion even though the Department indicated it had received over 15,000 comments. Most importantly, the Department chose to ignore the comments, suggestions and requests of those most directly impacted or affected by this regulation. As noted above, the Department of Agriculture, in violation of the laws related to development of regulations, chose to not even talk with or engage with the direct stakeholders such as show managers, owners and trainers within the walking horse industry. Instead, they followed, word for word, the dictates of a radical liberal animal rights organization that provided campaign contributions to the wife of the Secretary of Agriculture.


“The Department didn’t talk to us, they ignored our requests and suggestions of how to protect our horses, they ignored their own scientific studies and they ignored, in violation of the law, the economic impacts to thousands of rural families across the country. This action against our industry is just another example of the importance of the election two months ago and I can only hope that our new President will right this detrimental wrong that will occur with this rule.” said Dotson.




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