Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday introduced legislation to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition.
Senator Alexander said, “In baseball if a player illegally uses steroids you punish the player – you don’t shut down America’s pastime.
We need to punish and stop any trainer, owner or rider who engages in the illegal practice of horse soring – not shut down a treasured and important tradition in both Tennessee and Kentucky. Just as there is zero tolerance in baseball, there should be zero tolerance in horse soring. This legislation is a proposal to end the contemptible, illegal practice of horse soring, while preserving the century-old Tennessee Walking Horse tradition. It would do that by improving the consistency of inspections and regulations and enhancing accountability.”
Senator Blackburn said, “The Tennessee Walking Horse industry plays a vital role in our state’s agricultural economy. It is time to address the need for common-sense reform to stop the abuse of our beloved Walking Horses and to implement inspection and testing methods to eliminate these problems for good. The creation of a single Horse Industry Organization will establish consistency and improve accountability within the industry.”
Officials said, "The Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports more than 20,000 jobs nationwide and pumps $3.2 billion into the nation’s economy. In 2018, there were more than 200 shows contributing millions of dollars to local economies. There are more than 260,000 walking horses registered nationwide, including over 58,000 walking horses in Tennessee, and more than 35,000 in Kentucky."