Image courtesy of Stablemade Equine Photos Gallery
We knew about the cat vivisection in Bill Frist's past--although I did not have a clear picture of just how heinous this was until I read this post at Talk2Action last night. In the same article, I learned that Frist is trying to roll back protections against the cruel practice of "soring" in the Tennessee Walking Horse competitions. From the article I referenced above:
To make the horses step higher (and get scored higher), the horses are injected with or rubbed with caustic or blistering agents or they are deliberately mis-shoed so that it's physically painful for the horse to put pressure on his hooves.Read the whole diary here. Bill Frist is not a nice man.
Not only is soring inherently cruel, it's also the equivalent (in the horse fancy) of shooting up with steroids in prep for a Big Game. It's not fair play, and it's harmful to the horses; however, soring still occurs partly because stud fees for champion show horses are comparable to those for Kentucky Derby winners (read: you could retire, VERY comfortably).
As it turns out, Frist has a long relationship with the show industry:
A political action committee (PAC) made up of Tennessee Walking Horse breeders has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), among others.
Statistics compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that in 1998, the PAC contributed $40,500 to congressional candidates, and additional contributions were made by individuals from the Walking Horse industry.
And as a result--in large part to help out his friends in the show-horse industry, including the Tennessee Walker Celebration show that ended up so racked in controversy that it shut down after most of its horses were disqualified--he's now wanting to neuter the federal ban against soring of horses, presumably so that other horse shows don't get shut down.
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