Stop Horrific Abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses

Target: U.S. Congress

Goal: Strengthen policies in the Horse Protection Act to end horrific and all-too-common abuse of Tennessee Walking horses.

A new undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed that workers at a nationally known Tennessee Walking horse training barn used caustic chemicals on horses’ front legs to produce an artificial high-stepping gait that wins competitions. This cruel practice, known as soring, is common in the Tennesse Walking horse industry. The horses were filmed being whipped, kicked, shocked in the face, and violently cracked across their skulls and legs with heavy wooden sticks during and after the application of chemicals. Policies must be strengthened in order to stop this horrific, yet standard practice.

Soring has been illegal for more than 40 years under the federal Horse Protection Act. However, due to a flawed system industry of self-policing and lax penalties, this practice continues to thrive. Industry judges reward the artificial gait, referred to as the “Big Lick,” encouraging the continuation of this practice. The chemicals are so caustic, horses often fail to stand up, and suffer more abuse as callous workers hit them until they get up.

A 2010 industry audit by the USDA Office of Inspector General revealed that trainers go to great lengths to avoid detection of soring. The audit concluded that harsher penalties are needed, and the system of self-policing must be eliminated.

Unless action is taken to better regulate this industry, innocent horses will continue to suffer excruciating pain. Urge Congress to strengthen policies in the Horse Protection Act to end the horrific practice of soring.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of the United States Congress,

Horses in the Tennessee Walking horse industry continue to suffer horrendous abuse because of a flawed system of industry self-policing and lax punishments. Policies in the Horse Protection Act must be strengthened in order to stop this abuse.

Industry judges reward a Tennessee Walker’s artificial gait, known as the “Big Lick,” which encourages the cruel practice of soring, whereby caustic chemicals are applied to a horse’s front legs so they step higher out of pain. The chemicals are so caustic that it is often too painful for them to stand.

A 2010 industry audit by the USDA Office of Inspector General revealed that trainers go to great lengths to avoid detection of soring. The audit concluded that harsher penalties are needed, and the system of self-policing must be eliminated.

Unless action is taken to better regulate this industry, innocent horses will continue to suffer excruciating pain. Please strengthen legislation to stop the horrific practice of soring.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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31 Comments

  1. Are there any men who are outraged? A quick look suggests that it is a matter of concern to women…only?

  2. Freedom from discomfort;
    Freedom from hunger and thirst;
    Freedom from fear and distress;
    Freedom from pain, injury and disease;
    Freedom to express natural behaviour.

  3. I can’t believe this. I had always thought that the legs were weighted to produce the Big Lick gait. It’s a beautiful gait, don’t get me wrong, but simple training weights, like a normal human being would wear to increase muscle strength surely be better than torturing them?

    But I suppose even that could be taken too far. If it were me, I would start easy like any human would and slowly increase the weight, but not to the point that it would hurt or deprive the poor animal. *shakes head* The cruelty of humans is astounding.

    • I own 4 tn walking horses and that’s exactly what we do! They start with a small pad and work them in it then slowly increase it as their muscles build up! I am a 13 year old boy, I love my horses dearly and give them treats all the time! Trust me, I see the way they are treated. They are treated absolutely GREAT!!!

      • No, no. Trust me I have Arabs. We also put weight on our horses feet to increase action, but guess what, there’s a legal limit. We slightly increase the horses natural gait. And there is nothing natural about ‘the big lick’. It’s sick. It’s cruel, and it’s flat out abuse. The weights on twh feet are nearly abusive in themselves, let alone the practice of soring. Kids like you, who board their horses at some big barn don’t seem them everyday and certainly not 24hrs a day, they’re not going to abuse your horses in front of you because it’s only natural that you’d take them elsewhere. Maybe your are treated properly, but after what I’ve seen from this industry, I have my severe doubts.

  4. a lot of people are out there has to win under any circumstances and unfortunately the animal has to suffer for their selfishness,and a lot of times that goes with people with not much experienced and theywanting to compete and follow the more experience people they don’t understand what their animal has to go through to be able to do that

  5. This audacity must be stopped. No longer should animals suffer on behalf of a man’s ego. All for what? A ridiculous ribbon? The State of Tennessee, besides all other states should ban this sport. It is time to let these horses be natural not forced to perform in such a ridiculous manner.

  6. None of you have been around a tn walking horse! I’m a 13 year old boy and the owner of 4 tn walking horses. I’m at the barn almost every day and these horses are not abused! People please believe me I love my 4 horses! I give them treats after every ride! Love on them! Oh I could sit in the stall for hours with my arms around their necks! Trust me they are not abused!I love them so so so so much! They are all so sweet! If only you people knew how good these horses were treated!

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