Tennessee walking horse soring: Industry steps up penalties

photo A frame captured from video of a Humane Society of the United States investigation show the measures taken to produce the exaggerated stride of Tennessee Walking Horses. In the video, horses are struck with clubs, shocked and have their hooves treated with chemicals and mechanical devices.

SORING BY STATESince 1986, USDA has tallied 9,777 Horse Protection Act suspensions against Tennessee walking horse owners, trainers and handlers. More than one-third went to Tennessee competitors, though the USDA records include handlers from 38 states. The top 10 states are:Tennessee: 3,319Kentucky: 1,292Alabama: 681Mississippi: 490North Carolina: 444Georgia: 365South Carolina: 281Virginia: 231Texas: 215Missouri: 176Source: USDA, Friends of Sound Horses

When federal horse welfare inspectors proposed mandatory minimum penalties for Tennessee walking horse abuse, they based their decision on some startling numbers.