July 26, 2013 — As part of its efforts to end the abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses and encourage more humane, “sound” competition with the breed, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has become a corporate sponsor of the World Versatility Show operated by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. The HSUS will also staff an information booth at the show, which will be held July 25-27 in the Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The HSUS has long been an advocate for change in the competitive use of Tennessee walking horses, specifically calling for an end to the abusive practice of horse “soring” used to inflict pain on the horses to create the unnatural, high-stepping gait rewarded in performance show rings, known as the “Big Lick.”
Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the HSUS, said, “This is the first time that we have sponsored a Tennessee walking horse show, and it is indicative of our commitment to helping the breed overcome the negative stigma that it has been saddled with for decades. The Tennessee Walking Horses that are rewarded at the World Versatility Show exemplify the breed’s natural gait and its versatility, intelligence and athleticism. They are the show horses of the future, once the abuses and trappings associated with the past have been eliminated.”
The HSUS also applauds the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association for using a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified inspection program that will enforce the uniform mandatory penalties incorporated in 2012 into the federal Horse Protection Act regulations. Programs that refuse to adopt the mandatory penalties—including SHOW, the inspection program initiated and used by the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration—have been advised by the government that they face decertification.
The HSUS offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any violator of the Horse Protection Act or any state law that prohibits soring. Anyone with information on this practice should call 855-NO-SORING (855-667-6746) or email [email protected].
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We’re there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty, find us online at humanesociety.org.