Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration Underway Amid Controversy

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Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration Underway Amid Controversy

By Laken Bowles. CREATED Aug 22, 2014

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has gotten underway in Bedford County.

Festivities kicked off Thursday night in Shelbyville, but this year, there are some changes in the ways horses are tested for soring.

At issue this year, is the way the USDA inspects horses.

Critics of USDA inspectors said they sometimes deliberately create what looks like a scar on the skin, by pulling the horse's hair apart.

A newly formed Veterinary Advisory Council demonstrated additional tests that will be performed on horses competing in the celebration this year, including conducting X-rays and drawing blood. The council said the new tests will provide less room for interpretation and what they called, "anecdotal evidence," compared to past years' horse exams.

It stopped short of directly criticizing the USDA.

Both the USDA and the Veterinary Advisory Council would have the authority to disqualify horses in the competition this year.