This week I joined with Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) in sending a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to express our support for USDA's efforts to detect, eliminate, and punish the cruel soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. We thanked Secretary Vilsack for finalizing a rule requiring Horse Industry Organizations to issue mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). We also applauded the USDA for taking this step to strengthen enforcement of the HPA and end this inhumane practice.
With this year's Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration commencing this week, we urged USDA to establish and maintain a strong enforcement presence at that show. We recognize the tension underlying this year's Celebration, given resistance to the new rule and recent criminal prosecutions under the HPA. We commend USDA and its inspectors for executing their inspection duties with diligence and integrity.