Alexander Offers Modifications On Blackburn Walking Horse Bill

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) joined with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to introduce legislation in the U.S. Senate today that Senator Alexander said would “preserve the century-old tradition of the Tennessee Walking Horse while ending the contemptible practice of the illegal soring of horses.” 

The senators’ legislation modifies a proposal authored and introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a group that includes Tennessee’s six other Republican congressmen. Blackburn’s legislation also has the support of the American Farm Bureau, which includes both the Tennessee and Kentucky farm bureaus. The Tennessee Farm Bureau said in a letter to Senator Alexander that the legislation would “allow the vast majority of horse owners, trainers and breeders and those who play by the rules to confidently participate in the horse shows.”

A competing bill, advocated by the Humane Society of the United States, has also been introduced in the Senate and House and would ban many industry-standard training and show devices, and has been described by the Performance Show Horse Association as legislation that would “do little more than create another layer of bureaucracy at the USDA while denying horse enthusiasts the opportunity” to participate in competitions that are the basis of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. 

Senator Alexander said: “In baseball, if a player illegally uses steroids, you punish the player – you don’t shut down America’s national pastime. With Tennessee Walking Horse shows, when trainers, owners or riders illegally sore a horse, we should find a more effective way to punish and stop them – not shut down one of Tennessee’s most treasured traditions. The problem with the Humane Society bill is that it destroys a Tennessee tradition known around the world. Our goal is to find a way to preserve the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition and stop the cruelty to horses.

“When I first went to Japan in 1979 to recruit Nissan, the Tennessee Walking Horse was one of the things the Japanese knew best about our state.  In fact, the emperor had his own Walking Horse because it has an enjoyable gait that makes riding a more pleasurable experience. And when the first major supplier of Nissan – Calsonic – came to Shelbyville, the company’s gift to Tennessee was Calsonic Arena, where the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration is held.”

He said in 2013 the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition included more than 360 affiliated shows, and it featured more than 220,000 registered horses nationwide, including more than 55,000 in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Walking Horse Association. 

 Senator Blackburn’s legislation is supported by U.S. Reps. Diane Black, Scott DesJarlais, John J. Duncan, Jr., Stephen Fincher, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe, all of Tennessee, as well as Rogers and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), U.S. Rep. Candace Miller (R-Mich.) and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, (D-W.Va.).

Senator Alexander said the Blackburn legislation "would take three primary steps to preserve the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition while ending the illegal practice of soring."

He said it would:

 Create consistent oversight – The legislation would consolidate numerous “horse industry organizations” that currently handle inspections into one body overseeing inspections, governed by a board. The board would be composed of appointees by the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as experts in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

  • Require objective testing – The legislation would require the use of objective, scientific testing to determine whether trainers, riders or owners are currently using soring techniques – as opposed to humane training practices that do not harm the horses, but accentuate their natural gait.
  • Protect against conflicts of interest – The legislation would ensure the integrity of horse inspectors by instructing the horse industry organization to establish requirements to prevent conflicts of interest with trainers, breeders and owners involved in showing the Tennessee Walking Horse.

Senator Alexander said his legislation makes three additional modifications to the Blackburn proposal. In addition to taking the steps Blackburn recommends, Alexander’s legislation would:

  • Require input from veterinarians – The legislation would require the new consolidated horse industry organization to identify and contract with equine veterinary experts to advise the horse industry organization on testing methods and procedures, as well as certification of test results.
  • Add suspensions from horse shows – The legislation would create a suspension period for horses that are found to be sore. Owners whose horses are found to be sore will be required to have their horses on a 30-day suspension for the first offense, with additional offenses requiring 90 days.
  • Require term limits for board members – The legislation would create four-year term limits for board members of the horse industry organization that would oversee inspections.

 


Uses For Discarded Glass To Be One Of Focuses Of Green/Spaces City Recycling Grant

Finding possible uses for discarded glass will be one of the focuses for Green/Spaces under a $40,000 grant from the city related to recycling. Justin Holland, city public works director, said glass is "the most challenging" aspect in recycling at this time due to the lack of markets for recycled glass. Green/Spaces is "to launch an expansive educational marketing campaign ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Sept. 16-22

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for Sept. 16-22: 09-15-2016 Robert Edwin Gaylor, 48, of 255 Allen Street, Summerville arrested for contempt of court. Tyler Robert Abercrombie, 22, of 86 Loach Drive, Rossville arrested on an outstanding warrant. 09-16-2016 Brandon Walter Seib, 33, of 38 McBride Drive, Chickamauga arrested on charges of driving ... (click for more)

Something Beautiful Happened Monday Night - Not The Debate

Monday, Sept. 26, our first presidential debate happened; no minds were changed.  Yet something beautiful and important happened.  The Atlanta Falcons, my team, played the New Orleans Saints.  Instead of some irrelevant, broad based, screw America protest, the opposing teams locked arms in unity. I was impressed. I have been a Falcon Fan since 1971 when WMOC AM ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Arnold Palmer’s Greatness

This is hardly meant to be flippant but I’d be willing to bet I’ve been in the presence of more great people than anyone you know. I’ve never ranked them, or ever dared to wonder who was the greatest, such as Muhammad Ali or Elvis Presley, but there are two traits that those who reach the highest pinnacle have in common. First, not a one of them was any good at what made them famous ... (click for more)

Vols' Dobbs, Barnett Grab SEC Player of Week Honors

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs is the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and end Derek Barnett the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week. This week's honor marks the first time this season that a Vol has earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Dobbs was the last UT player to win the award in Week 6 of 2015 following his performance in the Vols' ... (click for more)

Craine, Ribeiro Named SoCon Players Of The Week

Two University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football student-athletes were named Southern Conference Players of the Week, following the Mocs' 41-21 win over Samford on Saturday.  Seniors Derrick Craine and Henrique Ribeiro both earned recognition from the league office announced today. Craine rushed for a career-high 222 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the win. ... (click for more)