Denise Rowland gets the facts wrong (“Tennessee Walking Horse Industry Follows Regulations” May 30) about our organization and the widespread nature of the cruel practice of horse “soring.” But consider the source: Ms. Rowland herself has violated the federal Horse Protection Act; two USDA veterinarians disqualified her horse from showing because of evidence he had been sored. She is an apologist for the industry, which has had four decades to eradicate soring and has failed miserably. Meanwhile, the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, all 50 state Veterinary Medical Associations, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and many other industry organizations support the PAST Act and staunchly oppose the bogus Blackburn/Alexander legislation.
The lawsuit referenced in her letter, which alleged that Ringling Brothers treated elephants inhumanely by chaining them for hours on end and abusing them with painful “bullhooks,” was filed 14 years ago by several animal welfare organizations. The HSUS was not a party in that case. The court never ruled on the merits of the plaintiffs’ core claims. Instead, it found that none of the animal welfare groups had standing to bring the case — a legal technicality that must be cleared in order to get to the substance of the case. The animal protection groups appealed the dismissal, but got no different outcome. The court also ruled that Feld was entitled to receive attorneys’ fees from the plaintiffs. The ASPCA settled for a large sum in 2012, and the remaining 12 parties recently settled as well. Fortunately, insurance proceeds are expected to cover a substantial portion, if not all, of the contributions toward that sum from our affiliate, the Fund for Animals, and the HSUS.
Those who truly care about protecting Tennessee walking horses from the abuse of soring will join me in support of the PAST Act — and urge Congress to pass this critical legislation right away. We can’t allow people like Ms. Rowland to distract from the issue and stand in the way of progress.
Arizona State Director, The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States