Tests on 190 horses at last year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration by federal authorities revealed 76 per cent were positive for foreign substances.
The Humane Society of the United States has called for an inquiry over what it says are discrepancies between federal testing and industry testing.
The society said the 145 positive test results by the US Department of Agiculture at the 2012 National Celebration were in contrast to the two foreign substance violations reported by the Tennessee walking horse industry at the Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
The society said it had asked Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr to open an investigation into the veracity of public statements made by officials connected to the Walking Horse Trainers Association Enforcement Initiative, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) and the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO) about their initiative to detect unlawful horse soring at the 2012 Celebration.
“Both the TWHNC and the TWSHO issued press releases assuring the public that every horse entered at the Celebration would be swabbed and tested for illegal foreign substances used to sore horses or to conceal that a horse was sore,” the humane society said.
“They also promised to release test results promptly during the event and to immediately and severely punish any violators. However, it appears that the industry groups did not swab and test every horse, nor did they release the complete results of the testing, adding to suspicions that some positive test results may have been suppressed to protect the perpetrators.”
The society’s director of equine protection, Keith Dane, claimed: “The show organizations involved with the Celebration’s swabbing program failed to deliver on promises about protecting the welfare of horses and compliance with the law.”
The US Department of Agriculture’s 2012 foreign substance testing results revealed that, out of 478 horses tested at 24 different horse shows, 309 horses were positive for foreign substances, or 65 per cent.
Substances detected at the National Celebration included phenol, sulfur, lidocaine, isopropyl palmitate octyl methoxycinnamate, 1,4-bis[(1-methylethyl)amino]-9,10-Anthracenedione, and 9-Octadecenamide.
Results of the testing program can be seen online here.