Roy Exum: ‘Dutch’ Walks In D.C. Today

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The last time there was a “Dutch” in Washington was in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan, famously nicknamed “Dutch” by his father and later his friends, served as the nation’s 40th President. Another “Dutch” will appear in front of the famed Reflection Pool today as part of a rally to draw national outrage to a heinous practice within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

The Humane Society of the United States will bring a once-noble show horse named “Dutch,” who was rescued from an animal processing center after being brutalized by a twisted trainer and permanently scarred from torture that persists to this day in the industry. Still an amazing and inspiring horse, “Dutch” will join six world champions that will parade before the public eye in a peaceful protest in the very shadow of Capitol Hill.

A nationwide grassroots organization, calling itself the All-American Walking Horse Alliance, will bring sound horsemen from almost every state in a “Walk on Washington” at 1 p.m. in an attempt to urge Washington’s lawmakers to pass what is being called The PAST Act (Prevention All Soring Tactics.) Unbelievably, a full two-third of Congress – 291 of 435 at last count – and 56 of 100 members of the Senate have already co-sponsored the PAST Act.

But – even more unbelievably – a fierce resistance led by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) and Congresswoman Marcia Blackburn (R-Franklin) threatens to derail the much-needed legislation. Alexander and Blackburn have offered a badly watered-down bill that many suspect is due to a deep alliance with the detested Big Lick faction based in Shelbyville, Tenn.

Alexander’s state campaign chairman is Steven B. Smith, a noted Big Licker who has been cited for violating the federal Horse Protection Act, while Blackburn was feted at a Big Lick fundraiser last August where allegedly $70,000 was given to her campaign. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Ooltewah) is among the Tennessee Republicans shunning the PAST Act, while Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) has not made a stand, hoping the whole thing will go away.

But it is not going away. The “Big Lick” is not included in a growing number of horse shows, registrations with the Breeders’ Association are plummeting and public scorn has never been higher. The PAST Act would ban the dreaded pads, action chains and pressure shoes that have consistently drawn ire since the Horse Protection Act was authored in 1970 by then-Senator Joseph Tydings of Maryland.

The legendary Tydings, now 86 years old, will be among the speakers at today’s rally, along with the original sponsors of the PAST Act (HR 1518), Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky) and Rep. Steven Cohen (D-Memphis). “What is being done to these horses in 2014 is brutal and has no place in a civilized society,” Tydings told reporters. “I am convinced the only answer is to eliminate the pads and the chains.”

Earlier Tydings mourned the lack of enforcement in the 44 years since his bill was signed. Horse abuse in Tennessee is now a state felony, but according to federal laws it remains a misdemeanor. Federal officials have requested it be strengthened so the courts can proceed accordingly.

A number of other prominent politicians are expected to speak today as the six flat-shod (sound) horses are paraded in a way that will prove the high-stepping “Big Lick” dance is not only obscene but quite unnatural. Experts say the high step cannot be achieved without torturing the horses.

The PAST Act has been triumphed by virtually every equine organization in the United States, as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association. Hundreds more organizations and key animal advocates are calling for its passage, yet Alexander is crusading against the bill as a representative from the very state that is considered the heart of horse abuse in the world.

Alexander, once the state’s governor and head of its largest university, voted earlier this year to allow horse slaughter (it was voted down) and has since been called by activists as “the face of horse abuse” in the United States. Alexander, 73, is now running for re-election in Tennessee, along with the seven Republican representatives who are fighting the legislation (including Fleischmann.)

Soring horses, where scurrilous trainers wrap the animal’s forelegs in caustic chemicals and drive painful objects in the pasterns of the front hooves, has been going on for a half-century and the Big Lick segment of the Walking Horse industry has been at war with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Humane Society of the United States and other equine groups that have tried to thwart the endless and senseless abuse.

It is hoped today’s actions will hurry the legislation towards fruition. And a crippled yet loved Tennessee Walker named Dutch certainly wishes he had a vote.

royexum@aol.com


What Happened To Recycle Pickup On Robinson Drive?

Wanting A Publix That Better Suits The Location And Community

Publix Store Does Not Warrant Opposition


The city did not pick up the recyclables on Friday the 7th on our street (Robinson Drive). They have missed the whole street four of the past five scheduled pick up days. We then have to ... (click for more)

In his opinion piece, “Quit Embarrassing Us,” Rox Exum misses the point. He writes, “I cannot speak for those who oppose the renewal of South Broad Street but…what is puzzling to me is…why more ... (click for more)

I am certain if the Publix grocery store were placed on a voting referendum, the masses would vote for Publix to be constructed at the St. Elmo site as presented in the current building and layout ... (click for more)


Opinion

What Happened To Recycle Pickup On Robinson Drive?

The city did not pick up the recyclables on Friday the 7th on our street (Robinson Drive). They have missed the whole street four of the past five scheduled pick up days. We then have to call 311 or the mayors office and they pick it up in two or three days. The mayor needs to find out why this continues to happen and make any necessary changes to insure that the problem ... (click for more)

Wanting A Publix That Better Suits The Location And Community

In his opinion piece, “Quit Embarrassing Us,” Rox Exum misses the point. He writes, “I cannot speak for those who oppose the renewal of South Broad Street but…what is puzzling to me is…why more don’t embrace it and join in what our overall community needs the most: our encouragement.” No one who opposes the Publix development in its proposed form opposes the renewal of South ... (click for more)

Breaking News

County Schools, Other Schools To Open On A 2-Hour Delay Monday Morning

Hamilton County Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Monday due to a threat of slippery road conditions in the higher elevations overnight. Officials said, "Below freezing temperatures are expected in areas of Hamilton County which could cause travel problems in the morning. Buses will run two hours later than normal in the morning and schools will begin two hours later. ... (click for more)

Stephen Moore, 34, Shot And Killed Early Sunday Morning

Stephen Laton Moore, 34, was shot and killed early Sunday morning on East 5th Street. At approximately 12:19 a.m., Chattanooga Police were dispatched to a report of a person shot in the 2500 block of East 5th Street. Upon arrival, officers located the victim suffering from a fatal gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS responded and pronounced him deceased. CPD Major ... (click for more)

Sports

Admiral Schofield Leads Tennessee To 76-73 Upset Of #1 Gonzaga

Admiral Schofield led the once-beaten Tennessee Vols to an upset of top-ranked Gonzaga, 76-73, on Sunday afternoon. In a game played in Phoenix, the Vols led by as many as 9 early, then were in the lead at halftime 34-33. The previously-undefeated Zags built their own lead on the shooting of Zach Norvell Jr., then seemed to have the advantage when Vol star Grant Williams went ... (click for more)

Meme Jackson Has Career Day To Lead #9 Lady Vols Over #12 Texas In Austin

Senior Meme Jackson logged a career-high 33 points to lift the No. 9/9 Lady Vols to an 88-82 victory over No. 12/12 Texas in the Frank Erwin Center on Sunday. Sophomore Evina Westbrook posted 23 points for her third straight 20+ point performance. Cheridene Green was also in double figures for Tennessee (8-0), adding 10 points and six rebounds. Texas (7-2) was led in ... (click for more)