In a report issued recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Inspector General recommended that veterinarians replace current inspectors for the purpose of examining show horses for evidence of soring, an illegal practice in violation of the Horse Protection Act.
The USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) program is responsible for evaluating the horses, but their budget is grossly inadequate, allowing them to send veterinarians to only a very small percentage of horse shows each year.
Conflicts of interest are also a problem.
In order to bridge the APHIS inspection gap, horse show sponsors hire their own inspectors, known as Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs). Since the DQPs are employed by the people putting on the shows, and are often exhibitors themselves, they are not highly motivated to ticket other exhibitors or remove horses from shows.
Penalizing exhibitors with sored horses can result in retribution if those exhibitors work as DQPs at other shows. Pulling sored horses from shows affects the bottom line, which is not something the organizers are in favor of.
As a result, DQPs issue few violations when not accompanied by an APHIS employee.
Another problem is the overt hostility of exhibitors toward APHIS workers at horse shows. The USDA audit revealed cases of inspectors denied access to horses requiring examination, and instances of verbal abuse of inspectors. The hostile environment has led APHIS to bring armed security or police with them to shows.
The USDA’s report states, “Many in the horse show industry do not regard the abuse of horses as a serious problem, and resent USDA inspections. The practice of soring has been ingrained as an acceptable practice in the industry for decades.”
In its response to the report, APHIS states that it will seek another $400,000 in funding for 2011 to bring its budget up to $900,000 per year. Another recommendation from the report, publishing lists of Horse Protection Act violators on its website, already has been put into effect by APHIS.
But turning the inspections over solely to veterinarians is not a move APHIS is willing to make right now, says USDA spokesperson Dave Sacks.
“We want to revise the regulations to require those DQPs to be licensed with APHIS and independent from the horse show industry instead of saying it’s going to be nothing but veterinarians,” Sacks explains.
Dr. Becker’s Comments:
I doubt anyone is surprised the APHIS ‘Designated Qualified Person’ horse inspection program isn’t working. Industry self-regulation is an oxymoron on the order of jumbo shrimp.
‘Soring’ – A Benign Term for a Cruel Practice
Soring, in a nutshell, is deliberately hurting a horse to change his gait.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, APHIS describes it this way in the Horse Protection Act:
Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals such as mustard oil or the use of mechanical devices.
Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but in order to be successful in competition their natural gait is often exaggerated. The exaggerated gait can be achieved with proper training and considerable time, however, some horse exhibitors, owners, and trainers have chosen to use improper and inhumane training methods to shorten the time it would take to produce a higher gait without abusive practices.
There are many methods of soring, and some have been held as closely guarded secrets through generations of horse owners and trainers. Among the more common tactics:
- Applying caustic chemicals like diesel fuel and kerosene on the horse’s pasterns, wrapping the legs in plastic, then adding leg wraps over the plastic so the acid burns into the animal’s flesh.
- Injecting harmful chemicals or drugs into the pasterns.
- ‘Pressure shoeing,’ which involves putting an object like a screw, a bolt or even one half of a golf ball against the soles of a horse’s front hooves, then shoeing the animal. An alternate method involves cutting the hoof wall and sole down to the quick, then shoeing over the raw surface.
As a sore horse puts weight on a front leg he feels intense pain, and he pulls his foot up quickly, giving the effect of extraordinary lift in the front. Once he realizes both front feet are painful, he tries to shift his weight to the rear. The resulting gait is known in some circles as the ‘praying mantis crawl.’
History of Soring
Popular in the 1940s and 1950s, Tennessee Walking Horses were known for their exaggerated front leg action. Audiences applauded, and this leg action was also rewarded by horse show judges.
Owners of less gifted horses learned they could produce similar movements in their animals through the use of weighted shoes, weighted chains around the pasterns, and stacked pads.
Over time, as more horses displayed the ‘big lick’ movement, front leg action got higher, and judges rewarded the most dramatic performers in shows, a percentage of trainers turned to ever shadier and harmful tactics to produce quick results in their animals.
Though the practice began with Tennessee Walking Horses, it has spread to other gaited breeds. Gaited horses are those with a natural tendency toward an easy-to-ride, ambling gait that is faster than a walk but slower than a gallop.
A short list of some other gaited breeds includes:
- American Saddlebred
- Icelandic horse
- Missouri Foxtrotter
- Peruvian Paso
- Racking horse
There are many completely natural, painless ways to train gaited horses to exaggerate their natural inclination to ‘step lively.’ This harmless method of training takes time and skill, but conscientious owners and trainers of sound horses would have it no other way.
The Situation Today
Despite the fact soring has been illegal since the passage of the Horse Protection Act in 1970, the practice is still prevalent. The USDA’s recent audit and report is evidence of how widespread the problem is.
According to the non-profit Friends of Sound Horses, if every Tennessee Walking Horse show in the U.S. could be inspected, soring violations could be as high as 10,000 to 20,000 a year.
The reason for soring? Human entertainment. Show ribbons. Better breeding fees.
This incredibly cruel practice needs to stop. Hopefully, as a result of the USDA audit, future APHIS inspections will be more widely applied and have more teeth.
In the meantime, organizations like Friends of Sound Horses, Stop Soring and the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) will continue to raise awareness and keep the pressure on APHIS and the horse industry to put an end to the needless torture of walking horses.
For the couch: Some pet owners have their cats declawed to prevent damage to household items. (AP File Photo)
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco has become the first major city in the nation to outlaw the declawing of cats.
Some pet owners declaw their felines to protect themselves, or their furniture, from scratches. But pet advocates condemn the practice as animal cruelty.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to enact a ban on the declawing of cats. Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier voted against the legislation.
“It is well-documented and well-understood from a medical prospective that [declawing] is torture. It is a form of animal cruelty,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the legislation.
Other California cities are considering adopting similar bans. The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to enact a ban by the end of the year. West Hollywood banned declawing in 2003. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Berkeley are considering similar ordinances. Declawing is illegal in 20 countries, including most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and Israel.
The California Veterinary Medical Association opposed the legislation. (Shame on them… it is like AMA, who stands up for Big Pharma and money making procedures, not patients.) The group said declawing should be left up to veterinarians and not politicians.
“I don’t support the board making those types of medical decisions,” Alioto-Pier told The Examiner after the meeting. “It seems misplaced. I think that the doctors and the vets should be making those decisions. And if it’s a bigger issue than that then the state of California should be outlawing that.”
Violators of the ban, such as anyone who declaws a cat or a pet owner who approves of a declawing, could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Many cities have decided to consider such a ban because a state law was recently adopted that would prohibit cities from enacting the bans after Jan. 1.
Vote was held and passed on Nov 5th in Beverly Hills.
Options: Get your cat a scratching pole, take them for a walk on a leash and clip their nails.
Try Pedi-Paws -
MORE CAT HATE-China is now going to do mass killings of cats because they believe they will catch H1N1. You talk about INSANE. Maybe the Chinese government should start killing off their own people because HUMANS carry H1N1 – NOT CATS. I HATE CHINA!
A sophomore from Beihang University is quarantined at the university hospital. A freshman died from H1N1 at the university last week.
A famous technology university in Beijing is alleged to be ridding its campus of homeless cats because of fears the animals will pass A(H1N1) to students.
“I was informed by a security guard in this university they will clean up approximately 50 abandoned cats in the campus, starting on Wednesday,” a student surnamed Kui from the Beijing University of Technology (BUT), who looked after the cats, said.
“The security guard told me the decision was made at a university presidential meeting, but they refused to tell me how they would get rid of them,” he said.
This appears to support a report by the Beijing News on Saturday, in which a security guard said the plan was genuine.
However, security guards and the university’s administration department denied the existence of such a plan when contacted by METRO yesterday.
Despite the denial, a cat shelter was set on fire by a cigarette on Saturday, one day after the decision was reportedly made.
Three cats escaped but were now in serious danger from exposure to the freezing weather, Kui said.
More than 700 freshmen at Beihang University were infected with H1N1 at a military training camp last week. A male student later died.
Kui said his university was concerned about the situation at Beihang University and was trying to take action, which included getting rid of homeless cats.
After learning of the plan, a retired professor surnamed Xu from BUT told METRO she approached the security office and asked them how they would remove the cats. She was told they would first try to find people to adopt them, and would leave those remaining in a field on the outskirts of Beijing.
“I am afraid some cats will be hurt or even killed,” Xu said.
Qin Xiaona, president of the Capital Animal Welfare Association, a charity organization established in 1997, said cats who have undergone sterilization operations and vaccinations are not harmful to people.
According to Kui, nearly 80 percent of the cats in BUT have had sterilization operations. Those who hadn’t been sterilized were either too young to have the operation or too old to be fall pregnant. Students and teachers covered all the costs of the operations.
“I spent almost 300 yuan ($44) a month to feed them and I know of another retired professor who spent 1,000 yuan recently to have three cats sterilized,” Xu said.
“There is not a single medical expert or research to suggest any connection between the H1N1 virus transmission and cats. Furthermore, the university didn’t spend a penny on them and the cats don’t cause any trouble. I don’t understand why they want to get rid of them,” Xu said.
Xu is now contacting kindly people and animal shelters to see whether they can adopt the cats. The Capital Animal Welfare Association is also involved.
“Adopting abandoned cats is not really encouraged because it promotes other cat abandoners to follow suit,” Qin said.
“The best way to protect abandoned cats is find responsible people to take care of them, let them stay where they are, and give them sterilizing operations and vaccinations,” Qin added.
Qin told METRO she would contact BUT and try to convince them to keep the cats.
In February, a group of male students from BUT angered netizens when they stamped on an abandoned cat and left it in a dormitory lobby until it died to days later.
China Daily – Updated: 2009-11-02 10:45
Please Sign Petition: Boycott China to Stop Mass Killing of Animals – The Petition Site
Posted: Just One More Pet
Man admits to throwing dog, charged with animal cruelty
Caisha and Tim Wantz
Caisha and Tim Wantz encountered a man with a station wagon and talking on a cell phone at the end of their driveway in Point of Rocks on June 19 as they were driving to get gas in preparation for their big weekend plans. They argued with him after asking him to leave. He told them he wanted to stay and make a call, the couple told NBC4′s Pat Collins.
“I told him I was going to call police,” Caisha Wantz said. “He laughed at me.”
She said he mocked her and started driving toward her like he was going to run her over.
Dog Thrown off Bridge in Frederick
“I yelled out to him, ‘Go ahead, you. Run over me in front of my family,’” Caisha Wantz said.
She was holding thermos of coffee and she decorated his rear window with the beverage.
Charging documents state that 34-year-old David Beers left but came back after the couple left and drove up to their house. Beers told police that he grabbed the 4-pound, 1-and-a-half-year-old dog named Zoey when she walked up to his car.
As Beers drove home over Catoctin Creek Bridge, he threw the dog over the bridge, police said. He later admitted to throwing the dog, which was never found.
“I have made, a few months ago, the worst decision of my life, and I want everyone to know that I deeply regret the pain and suffering that I caused the Wantz family,” Beers told Collins. “I have dealt with this stuff very heavily, and it’s affected my family and friends, and to them I own an apology as well.”
“She was my companion,” Caisha Wantz said. “She was our family companion. She went on vacation with us; she would travel to the store with us. I often had her in my purse.”
Beers has been charged with theft less than $500, trespassing and animal cruelty. He told Collins that he is undergoing anger management and seeing a psychiatrist.
A Sept. 17 court date has been set.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Washington – First Published: Aug 28, 2009 7:20 PM EDT
I really think it is time to start charging these people with what it is… murder, or at least man(pet)slaughter as well as will emotional distress for the pet parents, which should include any medical bills! Theft, trespassing and animal cruelty should be add-on charges. Throw the book at this guy and all the other nuts who these kinds of things.
Because they are uncaring crazies or animal haters at best and sociopaths and/or both domestic and animal abusers at the other end of the scale, and we are not making examples of them, they are willing to do these things without a second thought.
Posted: Just One More Pet
- Elderly Chihuahua Rescued From Trash & Cat Found in Duffle Bag
- Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?
- Demand Justice for Dog Tortured and Killed by Owner – Petition
- Military Punishment for Dog Killer, Abuser a Joke! No Justice! VIDEO
- Charges in Dog Beating Upgraded to Felony
- Dog Dead After Neighbor Beats it for Barking – VIDEO
- Two Teens Torture, Kill Family Dog – VIDEO
- Man “Regularly Beat Dog with Shovel Handle”
- Community Service for Dog Killer
- Teen Who Killed Kitten Only to Serve One Year in Prison
- Humane Society of the U.S. finally changes its policy on fighting dogs
- Teen Kills Kitten in Oven; Faces 10-Year Sentence
- Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?
- Where there is a will…
- Warning Signs That Your Child’s Behavior Is Dangerous To Pets
- Jesse Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson
- Not Everyone Wants Michael Vick to Come Back
- Brooklyn Woman Assaults Two ASPCA Agents
- Speak Out For Those Who Cannot Speak For Themselves… Always Stand-up for Them and Join the ASPCA
- Don’t Think for a Minute that Dogs (or any pet) Can Survive in a Hot Car
- Joan of Ark – Joanie’s Story
- Help Feed Hungry Pets
- Father Arrested for Allegedly Killing Family Dog in Front of Children
- Domestic and Animal Abuse
- Glenn Beck – Teen punks murder American Hero’s Dog
- Alabama Dog Fighting Bust
- Ohio Woman 75, Accused of Beating Fawn to Death
- 18-year-old Charged in Florida Cat Mutilations
- And the Verdict is… GUILTY!! YES!!!
- Brooklyn Man Arrested for Neglecting Aging Pet
On July 23, ASPCA Supervisory Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas and Special Agent Kristi Adams arrested Brooklyn resident Andrea Stewart, age 39, after the woman attacked the two Agents.
Responding to an anonymous tip about a neglected cat, the Humane Law Enforcement agents arrived at Stewart’s residence to find a seven-week-old, one-pound orange tabby with his whiskers cut off and a serious injury to his right front paw. “The kitten’s leg was broken,” says Supervisor Lucas. “As of now, he might lose his paw and is suffering from a rib fracture as well.” It was determined that Stewart had failed to get medical attention for her cat.
Says Joseph Pentangelo, Assistant Director of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, “In response to the agents’ decision to seize the kitten, Stewart choked and knocked down one of the ASPCA uniformed officers and punched the other.”
Stewart was arrested by ASPCA Special Agent Kristi Adams and taken to Kings County Hospital for observation. The agents were treated for injuries at local hospitals, while the kitten, named Macaroni by officials, was taken to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, where he’s expected to recover and be readied for adoption.
Since it is a felony to assault a New York State Peace Officer, Stewart could receive two counts of felony assault and one count of animal cruelty.
Posted: Just One More Pet
It really is time that the punishment for these inhumane offenses to animals is raised to a much higher level and that offenders are given the maximum. If you think about it, it is pretty crazy. The women is charged with two counts of felony assault for attacking the ASPCA Agents (and should be), but is only charged with one count of animal cruelty for maiming and torturing her cat and then not getting it medical help. We are all God’s creatures and no animals should be treated inhumanely, including wild animals and livestock… farm and ranch animals deserve to be treated in a humane manner, and especially domesticated animals that people choose as pets. It is time that we begin considering ourselves as guardians of the animals and pets in our domain instead of “owners”. The cruelest animals on the planet really are uncaring humans and the rest of us need to keep them in check!!! … Ask Marion, JOMP~