NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Following recent allegations of soring by trainers and owners, the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association is expressing support and encouragement of further investigation into the use of action devices and performance packages in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses.  

The devices and methods in question are often used as part of the abusive act of intentionally inflicting pain on horses to improve or exaggerate their gaits.

"The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association strongly condemns the abuse of animals, and this condemnation certainly includes soring and other abusive practices towards Tennessee Walking Horses and all other breeds," said Dr. Dennis Geiser, Assistant Dean, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and TVMA president. 

"The TVMA firmly believes all equine industry practitioners and horse owners have a responsibility to provide humane care throughout the lives of their horses."

More than 40 years ago, the Horse Protection Act was implemented as a means to prohibit horses that have been subjected to soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions or auctions. The Horse Protection Act also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of the above mentioned events.

"Unfortunately, despite Federal law, equine owners and trainers continue to abuse Tennessee Walking Horses and develop methods for circumventing detection during routine inspections," added Geiser.

"It is essential that the equine industry take action to stop these practices, properly educate future owners and trainers, develop more stringent measures for detecting soring abuse and protect the Tennessee Walking Horse breed which has a long history and tradition in our great state."