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Shut Down the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration

Legs wrapped in chains dipped in acid. “Stacks” attached to hooves like sadistic platform shoes. Nails and screws put under hoof pads. This is what horses are forced to go through at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Every year, Tennessee walking horse trainers and owners gather for eleven days of competitions to see which horses have the fastest, highest-stepping “big lick” walk. In order to achieve this unnatural gait and win blue ribbons, the trainers make it so painful for the horses to put their hooves down on the ground that they immediately pull them back up again. When Abbie saw videos of the horses suffering through these barbaric competitions, she created a Care2 petition demanding that the USDA shut down the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration once and for all. Will you sign her petition?

For as long as Tennessee walking horse competitions have been around, trainers have looked for new ways to inflict enough pain on their horses to achieve the “perfect” gait. The most common “soring” method is to put caustic chemicals on the horses’ hooves and legs, leaving painful blisters and scars. In the most extreme cases, trainers have been known to beat horses and use cattle prods to get the gait they want. Apparently, the more pain the horses are in, the more likely they are to wow the judges.

Even though soring was made illegal in 1970, walking horse trainers continued their systematic abuse completely undeterred. Due to public outcry, the USDA decided to do a major crack down starting in 2006. Unfortunately, even surprise inspections and competition disqualifications didn’t stop the trainers. They just figured out new ways to mask their barbaric practices.

It is obvious that as long as there are walking horse competitions, there will always be soring. It is time to say enough is enough. Sign this petition demanding that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA shut down the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. APHIS has been giving negative reports on the competition for years, so this petition might just be the push they need to finally put an end to the biggest and most prestigious walking horse competition in the U.S.

You can sign the Care2 petition here

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