Torture of Championship Horses Revealed from Undercover Video
Large numbers of the famed Tennessee Walking Horses have been tortured and beaten in order to make them produce the high-stepping gait that wins championships.
An undercover video made by an investigator for the Humane Society documents the cruelty of one of the sport's leading trainers, Jackie McConnell of Collierville, Tennessee and his staff.
The tape shows McConnell and his stable hands beating horses with wooden sticks and using electric cattle prods on them as part of a training protocol to make them lift their feet in the pronounced gait judges like to see.
In another scene, McConnell oversees his hands as they apply caustic chemicals to the ankles of the horses and them wrap them with plastic wrap so the chemicals eat into the skin, resulting in the artificially produced high-stepping gait that wins prizes in the show ring. This cruel practice is called "soring" and has been illegal for more than 40 years under the federal Horse Protection Act.
The industry group maintains that the vast majority of horses are not subjected to the cruel practice of "soring."
But a random inspection by the agents of the Department of Agriculture at last year's annual championship found that 52 of 52 horses tested positive for some sort of foreign substance around front hooves, either to cause pain or to hide it.