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BAN stacks and chains on all equines Sec. Of Ag./USDA-APHIS

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Nov. 14, 2016

We are calling upon the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, The USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to update the Horse Protection Act's Regulations to prohibit the cruel and artificial equipment currently allowed on horses that manipulate their gaits.

Many Thousands of horses of many breeds including the Tennessee Walking Horse are forced to wear large apparatuses known as Stacks/Pads/"Performance packages." These are artificial extensions placed on the bottom of a horse's hoof to increase the weight of the hoof, the leveraged forces applied to the internal structures of the hoof and the trajectory of the hoof in order to create artificial and manipulated locomotion. These apparatuses can be taller than 4" in the heel and weight over 12lbs. There are no size or weight restrictions in the Horse Protection Act's Regulations as long as the toe in one inch longer than the heel. These foreign devices are held on the hoof by a metal band that keeps the stack/pad/package from flying off while the horse is at gait which causes bruising. 

This is without a doubt inherently cruel to the animal. 

It is a fact, that just shy of every single Tennessee Walking Horse that is shod padded, is shod to land on their heels, they are shod to hyper-extend their forelimbs and to put mass amounts of stress, on the coffin bone, the navicular bone, and the navicular bursa. The "T" ligament, the deep digital flexor tendon as the laminar corium and solar corium and epidermal laminae are pulled as the foot is planted and in forward motion....

The leverage these huge stacks/pads/packages put on this structure has no other option other than to cause pain.. The evidence is quite visible on white footed horses that are padded, just take a look at an unpainted white footed/hoofed horse that's been padded you will notice bruises on the top of the hoof and maybe even on the the side (if the horse has been shod to be standing directly on his bulbs....) the bruising is caused by the band, from leveraged pressure created by the stack/pad/package and from over tightening of the band, a white footed horse will show you.

Then there's the chain/action device, currently a 6oz limit however the very allowable use of the chain perpetuates the systematic use of soring (chemicals applied to the pastern of a horse in order to create a reactionary movement while at gait).... The metal chains wouldn't work if they didn't strike the pasterns of the horse... if the chains didn't hurt then we wouldn't see such stark differences in the use of round 6 oz chains and flat 6 oz chains... Or why off chaining is a common practice one foot may have a 3 or 4oz chain and the other 6oz chain..... Or when a 6oz chain causes a horse to get 'too deep' that the industry's own inspectors tell some "trainers"/riders to "lighten up on the chain" so that the horse goes less extreme in his movements when reacting to pain (a sored pastern). 

The entire emphasis on artificial reliance leads directly to imposing reactive measures to achieve the desired results (called the Big Lick) which can only manifest via inducing pain to the animal from the equipment mentioned.

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