The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently obtained a video from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that shows footage of USDA veterinarians citing soring violations during horse inspections at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.
The video, shot Aug. 25 on the grounds of The Celebration, was obtained by an AVMA Animal Welfare Division representative onsite during inspections. Released by the AVMA on YouTube.com Aug. 30, the video was removed after a USDA request to take it down. Tom McPheron, staff writer for the AVMA’s Communications Division, told dvm360 the USDA wanted to remove the video to avoid inciting unnecessary controversy between the USDA and the walking horse industry—but he did release the video to dvm360.com (see last paragraph, below).
At this year’s Celebration, out of 1,952 entries, 110 violations were found (a rate of 5.6 percent), the AVMA says. McPheron says the event also saw a 25.6 percent scratch rate. “Horses scratch for a variety of reasons, but a significant contributor to scratches is a concern that horses will not pass the soring inspection,” he says. “A scratch rate of 25 percent combined with a violation rate of 5.6 percent suggests that soring is still a significant problem for the industry.
“The bottom line is that soring is unethical, illegal and negatively impacts the welfare of horses,” he continues. “The presence of even one sored horse at The Celebration—or any gaited horse show—is one too many.”
To view the video, go to dvm360.com/soringvideo.