Roy Exum: Alexander’s Atrocious Ploy

Thursday, April 3, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Lamar Alexander, in a carefully-calculated ploy to derail bills moving through Congress and the Senate that would limit horse abuse, is now being roundly ridiculed by horse lovers and justly maligned by scores of others who decry backroom politics. Alexander has penned an alternative bill to the ongoing PAST Act that is nothing more than a deliberate ruse to keep the scurrilous “Big Lick” faction in the unforgivable business of torturing horses.

Alexander’s nauseating hypocrisy comes after 260 members of Congress have already endorsed House Bill 1518 and a full 50 senators have signed on Senate Bill 1406. And it comes as little surprise since Steven B. Smith, Alexander’s state campaign chairman, is president of the Big Lick’s Breed Registry and has a proven history of personally violating the federal Horse Protection Act in the past.

Alexander’s blatant disregard for the fact the pending PAST Act has the endorsement of such groups as the American Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Humane Society of the United States and over a hundred other organizations may be unparalleled. But, again, it was expected after Tennessee’s seven Republican members of Congress endorsed a similar bill in Congress that “will enable soring rather than stop it.”

The seedy bill in Congress was authored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who was feted by the Big Lick last August in a way that allegedly generated $70,000 to her campaign coffers. Chattanooga’s Chuck Fleischmann and Jasper’s Scott DesJarlais are among the 10 members of Congress who have endorsed the alternate bill, this after a clear majority of Congress signed HB 1518, which was sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell – a noted Big Lick advocate who once threatened the USDA over inspections – and Kentucky’s Rand Paul joined Alexander in signing the alternate bill, which was immediately castigated by those who have been campaigning for the soring and torture of Walkers to finally stop. Many say the unnatural, unsightly gait prized by the Lickers cannot be done without soring and, while horse abuse in Tennessee is now a felony, it continues among trainers and owners alike.

Alexander intimated that the PAST Act will eliminate horse shows but he’s terribly mistaken. What it will do is eliminate the dreaded pads, chains and action devices where crooked trainers hide bolts, nails and anything else in order to cheat. Clean horse shows are now in vogue and are attracting riders, especially with the Big Lick understandably ostracized by a sickened public. Alexander has to know that!

Further, every state veterinary association in America has called for the stacks, or pads, the chains and the pressure shoes to be banned forever, but Alexander’s solution would leave them in place and the senator, obviously turning against the wishes of a great majority of his constituents, cannot explain their worth. As one notable horseman noted, “If God had meant for Walkers to have stacks they’d have been born with them. It’s atrocious.”

Alexander also drew a baseball parallel, saying punish the player but not the sport, when in fact the Big Lick boards of governance are riddled today with past violators of the federal act and known cheaters. To the contrary, the great majority of Walking Horse owners are clamoring for the Big Lick to be reined in, but Shelbyville, tightly managed by a cancerous crowd that covets a blue ribbon over a horse’s well-being, remains the epicenter of horse abuse in the world.

Alexander called the Walking Horse one of the state’s “most treasured traditions” when, in fact, video footage of the convicted Jackie McConnell abusing a horse with a club incited rage around the world that has yet to quell. With horse abuse continuing – there is now an ongoing trial in Alexander’s hometown of Maryville – Alexander came across as a liar, an unlearned rube and an evil accomplice in his stealthy presentation that he alleges “will end soring in Tennessee.”

Alexander fully knows there is no way Walking Horses will be ever be removed from Tennessee but he also realizes that if the cheaters give way to the “sound horse” (a clean animal), the tawdry machine that has allowed the sadistic brutality may well run out of money for campaigns like Blackburn’s, DesJarlais’ or even his own. Try to understand the logic behind his unprecedented bill in any other way.

No, the Tennessee Walking Horse has survived over a century and there are thousands of horses outside the Big Lick whose owners treat them like royalty. But because there is a very sick culture that is spawned in now-struggling Shelbyville, the once-noble breed has been badly smeared and horribly maligned. With this week’s Senate bill, Lamar Alexander will now be remembered as a man who tried to highjack a concerted national effort to stop soring with the well-received HB1518 and S1406 already in motion.

It is expected that Alexander and the contemptuous Blackburn will use their alternate legislation to conjure up whatever roadblocks are necessary to stop a dedicated attempt to effort that would protect a horse that falls into the hands of an unscrupulous trainer or owner. That would hurt our nation, our society and those who recognize what horses have meant to our nation.

Remember Lamar Alexander at the polls this August and vote like you would if you knew a horse’s life was a stake. What this man has just done is absolutely awful and we must not ever forget it.

* * *

Lamar Alexander’s mailing address is 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Do NOT send money.

royexum@aol.com



Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Minimum Wage Question - And Response (4)

With Sears, Kmart, Hobby Lobby and countless small business closing, fast food chains moving to automation due to the $15 per hour "minimum wage", who's going to pay for all the "free stuff"?  Bob Bogart * * *  Welfare recipients. All they will have to do is plop down their EBT cards.  Nancy Pelosi said so.  Vicki Rodgers Nine Mile, Tn.  ... (click for more)

Dewayne Ray Burns Wanted After Firing Shots At Fort Oglethorpe Police Officers

Dewayne Ray Burns is wanted after police in North Georgia were led on a chase, and he fired shots at officers. Burns fired shots in their direction late Thursday night. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department are investigating the incident. According to park rangers on the scene, the Burns ran away, while firing shots in the direction ... (click for more)

5 Considered For Cleveland City Manager Position

Five names were selected  Friday  by a citizens advisory committee to send to the Cleveland City Council for consideration as the next Cleveland city manager. The five are Angie Carrier, Joe Fivas, Mark Reeter, Seth Sumner and Julie Underwood. The list is being sent in alphabetical order so no one has an advantage when the city council considers the candidates. ... (click for more)

McMasters Makes Tough Call To Play Volleyball At Lee

Grace Baptist Academy two-sport standout Claire McMasters envisioned playing basketball and volleyball at a small college after her career ended with the Lady Golden Eagles. So, she “looked at” Covenant College and Maryville College as two schools where she thought that would be possible to extend her two-sport status. McMasters’ recruiting shifted quickly once Lee University ... (click for more)

East Hamilton's Briar Potter To Wrestle At MTSU

It seemed like Briar Potter made history for East Hamilton every time he stepped onto the wrestling mat these last four years. He was a four-year starter and qualified for the state meet in all of those years.   He was the Hurricanes first state medalist when he finished fourth at 106 pounds as a sophomore. He is surely the winningest Hurricane with 98 wins and he’s ... (click for more)