Friday, February 15, 2013

How Do Other Animal Associations Deal With Issue's of Abuse?

The National Snaffle Bit Association has announced stiffer penalties for horse abusers. 
NSBA rules apply to the treatment of horses at sanctioned events - specifically Rule 97 states that no person shall treat any horse in a cruel or inhumane manner. The rule further states that every horse at an NSBA-approved event shall, at all times, be treated humanely and with dignity, respect, and compassion.
Abuse is defined as an action, or failure to act, which a reasonable, prudent person, informed and experienced in the customs, accepted training techniques and exhibition procedures, or veterinary standards would determine to be cruel, abusive, inhumane or detrimental to the horse’s health. The rule lists some examples of conduct that the NSBA considers abusive, including tying a horse in a manner as to cause undue discomfort or distress in a stall, trailer, or when longeing or riding and intentional inhumane treatment which results in bleeding.
The NSBA Board voted unanimously to institute a $1,000 fine for a first time offense. Second time offenders will be penalized with a $2,000 fine and a thirty day suspension and third time abusers will be fined $3,000 and sat down for a year. 
NSBA Executive Director Dianne Eppers says the NSBA wants to make it absolutely clear that the inhumane treatment of a horse will not be tolerated. "There should be no misunderstanding. People who are caught violating NSBA rules on  the inhumane treatment of horses will be dealt with aggressively and penalized appropriately."

Tennessee Walking Horse Association's response to the above video:

“We are extremely disappointed that they chose to take this action based on the actions of one individual,” Groover says. “We feel like it is unfair to portray the entire breed in a bad light. We do not agree with them choosing to [take this action].”
Groover confirms that the Trainer’s Association had no prior knowledge that such a video even existed until it was aired to the public. He also says they were not contacted for comment prior to the video’s release. Since the video aired, the organization been contacted by local media affiliates from ABC, NBC, Fox News, and regional newspapers.
“We think it would’ve been fair if we would’ve been contacted before the video aired, to have a chance to make a comment,” he says. “This does portray myself and my constituents in a very bad light based on the actions of just one individual.”
“Our action [to indefinitely suspend McConnell's training license] was taken the very next day after the video aired. We felt like the video was indisputable evidence. We know Mr. McConnell and recognized him in the video. This type of action wasn’t taken before, because we frankly didn’t have any hard evidence like this video. We felt he had obviously violated our code of ethics and that horses under his care were not being treated humanely.”
After the ABC Nightline special aired, the Trainer’s Association posted a press release on their website that says they do not condone this type of behavior among their members and they are confident the actions in the video are not indicative of the behavior of other members. The WHTA Board of Directors also unanimously made the decision to indefinitely suspend McConnell’s training license.
“The welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse is at the forefront of our association and our membership,” says WHTA President Jamie Hankins. “Our members have adopted and abide by a Code of Ethics, which requires that we treat all horses ‘humanely, and with dignity and respect’ and use only training methods which are humane and complement the natural abilities of our great breed.”

Former Tennessee walking horse hall of fame trainer Jackie McConnell was fined $75,000 and sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court on Tuesday for using a banned and abusive practice on show horses that involving putting caustic chemicals on their ankles.McConnell faced 52 counts of transporting and showing abused horses and had pleaded guilty in May to a single charge of animal cruelty in an agreement with prosecutors that called for probation and a fine.
U.S. District Judge Harry Mattice Jr. accepted McConnell's plea, imposing the fine, which could have been up to $250,000, and probation at a federal court hearing in Chattanooga on Tuesday. McConnell faced up to five years in prison if the agreement had not been accepted.

McConnell was required by the court to write a letter about the soring of horses, the pain it causes and the long-term effects, The Chattanoogan said. He was also asked to say how widespread soring is in the letter.
McConnell was banned for life from the Tennessee Walking Horse organization's biggest event and stricken from its hall of fame along with written and photographic mentions after ABC News showed the video in May of him abusing horses.

The federal charges stemmed from a banned practice called "soring" in which the front legs of walking horses, known for their high-stepping gait or “big lick,” are slathered with caustic chemicals to induce pain that causes them to kick even higher.
An animal rights activist working undercover in a horse barn secretly recorded McConnell and some colleagues abusing horses in March and April 2011. The video was used as a basis for the prosecution.
The video showed horses being beaten with wooden sticks and poked with electric cattle prods. The horses' ankles were covered with caustic chemicals and then wrapped with plastic to increase their pain.

'Barney Davis, above was order by the judge to make this video as well as write an article describing soring methods and their effects on horses, and to instruct the USDA on what to look for in sored horse's, as was Jackie McConnell.'

The following press statement was issued by Mike Inman, incoming CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, after learning that Barney Davis was in attendance at the Celebration last night; the TWHNC banned him from attending the event for eternity.
“What Barney Davis did to his horses was horrific. He should be nowhere near a walking horse ever again. Having him in attendance sends the message that this show, and this industry, will tolerate soring and nothing could be farther from the truth. We have implemented aggressive reforms to rid the system of soring trainers and we won’t stop until all are gone from the business for good.”
At a SHOW Horse Industry Organization (HIO) affiliated horse show in July 2010 where the USDA was not present, SHOW HIO discovered Barney Davis had cruel, inhumane pressuring device in his horse’s foot, violating the HPA. SHOW HIO immediately issued Davis a lifetime suspension and contacted the USDA who then turned the case over to the Department of Justice. In 2011, Davis pled guilty to conspiring to violate the HPA and falsify entry forms. He was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in prison, pay a $4,000 fine, and ordered to write an article describing soring methods and their effects on horses. If it had not been for the actions of SHOW HIO, Davis’ actions would have gone unpunished.

'My question is this.  Why does the circus industry not have an industry association or a trainers association?   Sure we have OABA for "kool aid" press releases and damage control but we do not have an association which has rules as to what is, and what is not acceptable.   Why do we not have an association that bans for life,  issues press statement's if violators are seen at shows, and generally distance's it's self from violators?  Why?  "horses being beaten with wooden sticks and poked with electric cattle prods" cause's shock in the guilty parties association, yet similar video's of elephant's being "beaten with wooden sticks and poked with electric cattle prods" only brings the circus running to the guilty parties defense crying "foul, doctored video tape taken undercover, so it is not real any way."  Why? 

Circuses remove last of the big cats from UK's big tops | World news | The Observer

Link courtesy of Henry Penndorf

 Are we really that surprised that this sad event has occurred?   Did we not see it coming a mile away or were we to busy crying, "no, fair you are picking on us unjustly......."  My question again "Why does the circus industry not have an industry association or a trainers association?"  A real one........  I like the National Snaffle Bit Associations definition of abuse,  "Abuse is defined as an action, or failure to act, which a REASONABLE, PRUDENT PERSON, INFORMED AND EXPERIENCED in the customs, accepted training techniques and exhibition procedures, or veterinary standards would determine to be cruel, abusive, inhumane or detrimental to the horse’s health." 


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