SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - With United States Department of Agriculture veterinarians and compliance officers present throughout the event, more than 97% of the horses inspected at the 42nd annual Celebration Fun Show were compliant with the Horse Protection Act that is designed to eliminate soring in the training of Tennessee Walking Horses.
On Sunday, May 28, Dr. Stephen Mullins, D.V.M., president of the USDA-sanctioned Horse Industry Organization Sound Horses, Honest Judging, Objective Inspections, Winning Fairly (SHOW) announced the findings of his organization's inspections at the Fun Show, held May 24-26 at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration's Calsonic Arena.
"During the Fun Show, we did more than 599 examinations of horses, both pre- and post-show, and we found 16 violations of SHOW regulations," Dr. Mullins said. "Of those 16 violations, not all were violations of the Horse Protection Act. Some were merely minor violations of our SHOW regulations.
"The USDA was on site and working with us throughout the entire show, and they were in total agreement with our inspection findings and what transpired. USDA personnel followed behind us and did their own pre-show inspections on several horses. They also swabbed many horses and then they did post-show inspections on all horses that finished either second or third in the show. We did a thorough job, and likewise, the USDA did a thorough and complete job."
"While this is one of our industry's larger shows, we will follow our standard procedure for this event. Those who were cited will have 30 days to appeal, and all findings will be submitted to the USDA. Though it seems that some of our critics are unaware of this, it is standard procedure for us to make the USDA aware of each violation we cite at each event." Mullins said it is significant that the USDA chose not write any citations during the event. "Throughout the event, the USDA randomly pulled aside horses, but it never felt that a citation was warranted, which says a lot about the industry and how the horses were checked. The manner in which we inspected the horses was apparently regarded as complying with approved standards and practices, and the way we conducted our examinations at the Fun Show was in accordance with what we always do," Mullins said.
"We are encouraged with the way the show inspection process went. We have established an inspection process that is the best in the nation, and our results continue to reflect that the work of SHOW is making a difference in having only HPA compliant horses in the show ring."
Since the inception of SHOW, the organization has given lifetime suspensions to trainers who have had egregious violations of the HPA.