Letter To The Editor
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ And Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) is appalled and disgusted by the recent horrific video and stories of horse abuse within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. TWHBEA has issued a response to this inhumane treatment and has barred both Jackie McConnell and Barney Davis from registering or transferring a Tennessee Walking Horse into their name. Additionally, both the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) have taken actions to punish both men.
The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is committed to eradicating all abuse. Through the stringent self-policing efforts of the industry’s USDA certified Horse Industry Organizations, Tennessee Walking Horses are subjected to extensive pre and post show inspections that use the latest technologies. At shows, Tennessee Walking Horses are also subject to inspection by USDA Veterinary Medical Officers in the warm-up area and in the barn and trailer areas. The Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports all of these efforts to ensure that only sound and healthy horses are shown.
The welfare of each horse is a priority. TWHBEA works diligently through its Equine Welfare division to respond to reports of abuse or neglect and to coordinate with horse owners and law enforcement to resolve situations.
The Horse Protection Act of 1970 and any other laws that address animal abuse are much needed. However, no law will ever completely eliminate a problem. Our commitment is to find the abusers, prosecute them and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.
The actions of two individuals should not be used to depict the intentions of an entire industry. McConnell and Davis are two trainers in an industry that involves thousands. They are not the norm. They are the abnormal that we are fighting to eliminate and they are the catalyst that will make us fight even harder. Please remember, not all horses are abused and not all trainers are abusers.
These events do not excuse or justify abuse in any breed or discipline, they merely serve to point out that bad individuals and bad decisions are part of any breed or discipline and we all must take it upon ourselves to ensure that every horse, regardless of breed or discipline, is treated with kindness and dignity.
For further details or information, please contact (931) 359-1574.