Photo: Tennessee journalist Roy Exum, who has used his column in The Chattanoogan to call for reform in the ongoing soring of Tennessee Walking Horses in his home state.
A press release from The Humane Society of the United States reads:
(Dec. 3, 2012)—The Humane Society of the United States has named Roy Exum the 2012 Humane Horseman of the Year. Each year, this award is given to an individual who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to protect America’s Horses.
The HSUS chose Exum as this year’s recipient because of his unwavering commitment to exposing the cruel reality of the Tennessee walking horse show industry. In his opinion column in The Chattanoogan, Exum shined a light on the corruption and abuse behind the celebrated “Big Lick” gait, which is achieved by torturing horses through a practice known as “soring.” Exum reported on The HSUS’ undercover investigation into the industry and closely monitored the industry’s biggest competition, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.
“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Roy Exum for his perseverance in the months leading up to the Celebration,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. “Roy helped The HSUS lay bare the torture these horses endure, and he advocated that they be treated with kindness and respect. His newspaper columns played a key role in exposing and publicizing of the mistreatment of these beautiful creatures and greatly helped The HSUS in its mission to put an end to the cruelty.”
In nearly 20 columns and counting on the topic, Exum held nothing back when criticizing the Tennessee walking horse industry. In response to the federal sentencing of Jackie McConnell for Horse Protection Act violations, Exum wrote: “The ruling, although just, dashed the hopes of ‘many, many hundreds’ who had written Judge Mattice to ask for stronger justice. But because of woefully-inadequate federal laws against the depravity that has plagued the walking horse industry for well over half a century, the Horse Protection Act has been as lame as the horses it meant to protect and a plea arrangement was deemed at the very onset as the best ‘legal solution.’”
In a column praising the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new regulations to crack down on soring, Exum opined, “Call me callused or a cynic but when the top 20 trainers in the fabled Rider’s Cup standings have a total of 161 violations in the past two years and eight of the last 10 ‘Trainers of the Year’ have violated the Horse Protection Act, the only thing that will ever make a difference is placing anyone who would purposely injure a horse in the dark and dank basement of a jail.”
In response to public outcry about the cruel treatment of Tennessee walking horses for the show ring, Congress has introduced H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012. The bill will significantly strengthen the Horse Protection Act, originally passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” – the deliberate infliction of pain to Tennessee walking horses’ hooves and legs in order to produce a high-stepping gait and gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows.
H.R. 6388 would end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of certain devices associated with soring, strengthen penalties, and hold accountable all those involved in this cruel practice. H.R. 6388 is a necessary step to strengthen the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement capabilities and end this torture for good. In a recent column,
Exum expressed his support for the bill, writing, “The amendments are badly needed since there has been continued and rampant abuse of soring in the Tennessee walking horse industry this year.”
Dr. Inga Wolframm continues this series on Rider Psychology by explaining the distinction between high performance and other riders in terms of confidence; why top riders become great and how all riders can empower themselves with the right tools. You can comment on this episode at http://chrisstaffordpodbean.com or on the Facebook Page at Chris Stafford Radio. Follow me on Twitter @chrisestafford.
Sara Leiser from The Chronicle of the Horse joins me to discuss what's been making the headlines in the world of horse sports this week from new 'blood rules' in dressage to Grand Prix winners, FEI Award winners, the new FEI Nations Cup Series, shortlisted eventing course designers for the 2016 Olympic Games and how to become an equestrian journalist. You can post your comments on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow us on Twitter @chronofhorse and @chrisestafford. Thanks to Claire Khuen @clairekhuen for taking us out of the show with her cover version of Snowbird.
Fran Jurga and I analyse the past two weeks of news from dressage riders and horses making headlines to Breeders Cup, stallions, a baby announcement, an Australian becoming the new Canadian Eventing Coach, Kiwi eventers scooping the big prizes, the value of Olympic media coverage and of course there's always Downton Abbey. You can post your comments on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow us on Twitter @franjurga and @chrisestafford.
Irish journalist Louise Parkes has all the latest news from the first FEI World Cup qualifiers in the Western European League as she reports on Dutch and French wins in Scandanavia. Plus a review of the World Breeding Championships from Lanaken. You can post your comments on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow me on Twitter @chrisestafford and visit the Facebook Page for Chris Stafford Radio.
Fran and I unpack our bag of news for this week which includes Nations Cup, World Cups, the use of New Media by riders, events and sponsors, TV blaming sponsor fatigue, racing highlights and equine health news as well as some of our favorite times with horses. You can comment on this episode at www.chrisstafford.podbean.com and sign up for the weekly newsletter. Follow Fran and I on Twitter @franjurga and @chrisestafford.
"There is a lawyer in West Tennessee named David Douglas who seems to be pretty slick. He’s representing Jackie McConnell, the serial horse abuser who is facing 17 counts of animal cruelty as depicted on a horrendous video tape that has been seen by millions.
"Jackie was set to go to trial last Tuesday morning in Fayette County but lawyer Douglas quickly got the case pushed back to Nov. 13."
@HoofcareJournal writes: The Chattanoogan's Roy Exum continues to hit hard at the lack of teeth in the federal Horse Protection Act and Tennessee state laws that place soring of show horses under the heading of felony offenses...but still a convicted horse abuser like Jackie McConnell remains free.
I see this again and again in animal welfare laws. Advocates cheer when the legislation passes, thinking "Mission Accomplished!" But years go by without convictions because the passage of laws requires appropriation of funds to enforce the laws and "teeth" for prosecutors to use so that defendants actually do get sentenced.
Walking horse soring is an extreme example of a situation that repeats itself daily in courtrooms across America. The next time you cheer because legislation has passed, stop and read the fine print. You may find out that legislative compromise has meant the law looks good on the books and calms down public clamor for reform but doesn't do much to deter offenders.
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Read more news about horse health and welfare of The Jurga Report for Equus Magazine on Equisearch.com.
This exbhibition by British artist Anne Bullen is a 'must see' if you're in London. Truly delightful equestrian art with works that often graced the pages of children's horse books. Anne is the mother of Olympic eventer Jane Holderness-Roddam and Olympic dressage rider Jenny Loriston-Clarke.
Dr. Paul McGreevy from the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) continues this short series by explaining The 8 Principles of Learning Theory in Equitation. You can comment on this episode by going to www.chrisstafford.podbean.com - then look for the episode title. For more information about the ISES visit www.equitationscience.com.
This video is way beyond hard to watch but as a responsible human being we must all show the world that this is happening and expose the sport for what it is. In fact it's not a sport; it's outragious and appaling and I sincerely hope the offenders and anyone else that is associated in any way with this extreme cruelty will be brought to justice and NEVER allowed to handle a horse again. This breaks my heart.
An HSUS undercover investigation into the walking horse industry finds rampant cruelty. Warning: Contains Graphic Footage.
Fran Jurga @franjurga and I take a look at what's been making the news this week from horse abuse in the UK to why clean sports needs to make the news, a controversial article on U.S. dressage and even which is our favorite British period drama. Find out too why Fran and I are Ying and Yang!
Eventer's Dream is the first volume of Caroline Akrill's trilogy following Elaine's ambition to reach the top in Three Day Eventing. Vivid and realistic, life with horses is portrayed with real knowledge and sympathy.
Dr. Inga Wolframm offers riders some tools with which to build self confidence in the third episode of this series on Rider Psychology, including goal setting, cognitive restructuring and relaxation techniques - all of which will help your performance. You can comment on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com or on the Facebook Page at Chris Stafford Radio. Follow me on Twitter for regular updates @chrisestafford,
NBC Racing Analyst and Reporter Donna Barton Brothers joins me in conversation to talk about her life as jockey, her first book, her second career, how it took time to overcome her on-camera nerves and what she feels would be a good thing for racing, as well as her plans for more books, and what she considers were racing highlights of 2012. You can comment on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com and on Facebook at Chris Stafford Radio. Follow me on Twitter @chrisestafford.
Dr Inga Wolframm begins a new series on rider psychology; the relationship between horse and rider and begins with the notion that our choice of horse is based on our own personality. Do you relate to your horse because you share the same character traits? You can post your comments on this episode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com or on the Chris Stafford Radio Facebook Page. Follow me on Twitter @chrisestafford.
In this exclusive interview, Karen O'Connor joins me to talk about her recovery now that she's home in Virginia and on her way to a full recovery from the recent fall that resulted in a broken back. You can post your message for Karen on the O'Connor Equestrian Facebook Page or leave your comments on http://chrisstafford.podbean.com.
Fran Jurga and I are joined by Horse Sport International Editor Pamela Young who brings her international perspective to the topics of the week which include World Cups and WEG's plus Fran has important news on witches, and there's the washout at Le Lion d'Angers as well as the usual Downton Abbey chat - spoiler-free of course. You can comment on this epsiode at http://chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow us on Twitter @franjurga, @HorseSportIntl and @chrisestafford. Join our Facebook Page too at http://www.facebook.com/ChrisStaffordRadio.
Dr. Paul McGreevy of the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) continues this series on the findings of the ISES by addressing Training Deficits. To find out more about the work of the ISES visit www.equitationscience.com. You can comment on this episode at www.chrisstafford.podbean.com and follow me on Twitter at chrisestafford.
Irish equestrian journalist Louise Parkes joins Fran Jurga and me this week to share the news from Europe. The FEI Promotional League, Veterans, and WBFSH Championships, WEG 2014, laminitis, rabies, Anne Bullen, Laura Fry, Jessica Springsteen, racing drug rules and, importantly, Downton Abbey all feature on the show this week. You can comment on this episode at www.chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow Fran and me @franjurga and @chrisestafford.
When Suffolk Downs trainer John Botty found out that Our Revival could wind up as dinner on somebody’s plate, he felt as if he had been punched in the stomach.
“Oh my God,” he says of the possibility of his former racehorse being sent to a Mexican slaughterhouse. “It would be like losing a family member.”
Although Americans never would consider horse meat as a delicacy, it is widely consumed in some European nations and parts of Asia. Since US domestic horse slaughter ceased in 2007, US exports for slaughter in Mexico have skyrocketed, increasing 660 percent, according to a June 2011 Government Accountability Office report. In 2010, 138,000 horses were transported to either Canada or Mexico for domestic and international consumption.
Fran Jurga and I tackle the news stories of the week again including show jumpers changing hands, more Olympic reflections, journalists responsibilities in covering the abuse of Walking Horses, news via digital media and listeners emails. Fran has the Headline of the Week and Chris recommends an iPhone App. Plus another great song from Claire Khuen. You can post your comments on this episode at www.chrisstafford.podbean.com.
Dr Paul McGreevy begins a series on equitation science based on the findings of research by the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES). Part 1 addresses Confinement & Nutrition. You can post your comments on this episode at www.chrisstafford.podbean.com. Follow me on Twitter @chrisestafford.
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