Walking Horse Group wants HSUS Soring Tipline Data

A Tennessee Walking Horse industry organization has asked the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to disclose information obtained from a tipline intended to gather information about Horse Protection Act (HPA) violators. The HPA forbids "soring," the deliberate injury to a horse's feet and legs to achieve an exaggerated, so-called "big lick" gait.

Earlier this month, the HSUS installed a billboard advertising a national tipline and the possibility of a $10,000 cash reward to those who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of HPA violators at the annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (taking place now through Sept. 1) and elsewhere. The Celebration, which is held in Shelbyville, Tenn., is the Tennessee Walking Horse industry's premier annual event. The HSUS-sponsored billboard, located across the street from the Celebration's venue, has generated eight calls from tipsters since Aug. 17, said HSUS Chief Executive Officer Wayne Pacelle

On Aug. 27 the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO) demanded that the HSUS release hotline reports. In a written statement, TWSHO spokeswoman Jane Lynch Crain said the group wanted the information in order to submit it to law enforcement authorities.

"If the HSUS is committed to ending horse abuse as they claim, then they should stop it immediately," Crain's statement said. "I implore the HSUS to turn over the reports to the Celebration immediately so that they can investigate and, if needed, keep soring trainers out of the ring."

In his written statement, Pacelle said that HSUS routinely shares HPA violation information gleaned from tiplines and other sources with appropriate law enforcement authorities. Information obtained from the eight tipline calls are already under agency investigators' review, he said.

"When the HSUS gets evidence of horse abuse through our tipline or other sources, you had better believe we'll act on it," Pacelle's statement said. "Industry leaders should adopt our same zero-tolerance approach to illegal soring."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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