(Original Story) In what could be a major blow in the attempt to repair their public image, Dr Robert Hunt of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute has resigned from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Vet Advisory Committee. The Vet Advisory Committee (VAC) was formed to provide veterinarian inspections of horses competing at the TWH National Celebration. They were formed in July of 2014 and were first utilized at the 2014 TWH National Celebration. 36 horses were found to have prohibited substances in their blood. No horses were found to have improper shoeing. Violators with prohibited substances faced a fine of $100 and forfeiture of prize money for a first time offense, up to a $300 fine for 3 offenses.
In 2014, the VAC claimed that Dr. Dallas O. Goble, the famous Budweiser Clydesdale vet, was on the counsel, but when asked by reporters, Dr Goble responded that he was not, and “I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole.” Dr Goble has since been removed from the VAC website.
Many animal welfare activists believe that the Vet Advisory Panel is nothing more than a political organization in an attempt to rebuild the public image of the Tennessee Walking Horse “Big Lick” celebration. Activists allege that no trainer has shown how it is possible to achieve the big lick gait without the use of soring chemicals, hence every champion must be sored at some point to make it achieve the desired gait.
Drs Jerry H. Johnson, D.V.M and Phillip D. Hammock, DVM remain on the VAC. Despite being formed as an independent organization to oversee horse welfare at the National Celebration, the spokesman for the counsel admitted that the veterinarians on the committee are in fact paid by the Tennessee Walking Horse Association.
Author: Dale O’Hare
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