What Can I Do??
The proposed rule by the United States Department of Agriculture that would eliminate the use of any pad, action device or hoof band as well as eliminate all self-regulation will have devastating impacts. The demands on horse show management will be costly and create an unnecessary hassle and the demands on exhibitors to enter horses, regardless of the division will be prohibitive as well. Horse shows in many cases will cease to exist.
What can you do to voice your concern regarding this proposed rule?
First, submit a comment on the web site and oppose the rule. You must let the USDA know the impacts of the rule to you. You can submit those comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009 – we can’t stress enough the importance of you taking the time to do this. There are literally thousands of people affected negatively by this rule and we need each and every one of them to voice their opposition to the rule.
Second, show up at one of the public hearings scheduled and sign up to speak. The first two are August 9th in Murfreesboro, TN at the Embassy Suites and August 10th in Lexington, Ky at the Clarion Hotel. A complete list of public hearings can be found by clicking here. The industry needs to show up in support of the Tennessee Walking Horse at these public hearings. The hope would be a standing room only crowd of thousands of advocates for the industry. As we all know, the Humane Society is working hard to garner support for the rule.
The following was stated in the rule, “Any interested person may appear and be heard in person, by attorney, or by other representative. For the virtual hearing, any person may call in to be heard. Information about the hearings can be viewed online at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/horse-protection-amendments. Written statements may be submitted and will be made part of the hearing record. A transcript of the public hearings will be placed in the rulemaking record and will be available for public inspection. Registration is required to speak at one or more of the public hearings. Registration for the face-to-face hearings may also be accomplished by registering with the presiding officer 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of each hearing. Persons who wish to speak will be asked to sign in with their name and organization to establish a record for the hearing. We ask that anyone who reads a statement provide two copies to the presiding officer at the hearing.”
When submitting your comment or speaking at the public hearing, you don’t have to have an elaborate speech but need to focus on the impact the rule has with you. For example, if you are a…
Trainer – how many employees you have, how the rule will impact your business, the effect it will have on your household income and the loss you will suffer as a result. You should also recruit a representative from every vendor you buy from to be at the hearing and submit a comment talking about the impact of the loss of your business on their business.
Owner – how many horses you own, their current value and what the value will be if the rule goes into effect, constituting the illegal taking of that value by the USDA with zero regard for veterinary science that proves no relationship between pads, action devices and hoof bands and soring. You can also speak to the real estate you own that is specifically tied to your involvement in the horse industry. This should not just be padded horse owners – flat shod horses will be affected by the prohibition of bands, the difficulty in having horse shows to show your horses and the loss of shows with both divisions making your horses less marketable and thus less valuable
Breeder – how many broodmares you own, how many stallions you own, if you own a breeding operation, how many employees you have and how your operation would be impacted by the rule. A good measure of this impact would be the already large decrease in breeding as a result of the USDA’s deregulation of the current horse show and inspection system.
Horse Show Management – speak to the value your horse show brings to the community where it is held and the charities that you benefit and with the rule how difficult it will be to have a horse show, have horses participate and how the new rules are making it too difficult and too cost prohibitive to have a horse show and thus the loss to the community and charities as a result. We have many shows that donate thousands and thousands of dollars to worthy causes.
Farrier – How many employees you have, how the rule will affect your business, the effect it will have on your household income and the loss you will suffer as a result
Veterinarians – How many employees you have, the impact of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse on your practice, the loss of revenue to your practice, etc. You should also be able to speak professionally to the prohibition of the equipment and how it is unrelated to soring. You can also speak to the difficulty of recruiting veterinarians and vet techs to serve as DQPs.
Elected officials – You can speak to the value of the Tennessee Walking Horse to shows in your community, the tax revenue received as a result of the Tennessee Walking Horse and the use of the Tennessee Walking Horse to help civic clubs in your community and the valuable work they do. Most of the local shows across the state offer both divisions and will be impacted by the rule dramatically, reducing the economic impact to the community
Business Owner – You can speak to the impact of the Tennessee Walking Horse, the owners, the trainers and all the spectators to your business and how you would be affected if the industry went away