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U.S. Reps. Rose and DesJarlais Blast USDA for Threatening Future of Tennessee Walking Horse Industry

U.S. Representatives John Rose (TN-06) and Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) criticized the USDA’s decision not to extend the 60-day public comment period for a proposed rule that would result in a sweeping change to the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry.

“When the government proposes a new rule that threatens to decimate an entire industry, 60 days of public comment is insufficient,” Rep. Rose said. “I’m more than disturbed by the USDA’s decision to deny the many stakeholders of the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry more time to prepare thoughtful, data-driven, and science-based comments on the proposed rule. This is another example of government gone wrong.”

“President Biden’s liberal USDA is pushing forward with a flawed rule that will do nothing to protect the already well cared for horses. This industry, in the heart of my district, has been under attack for years,” said Rep. DesJarlais. “I have a long history of defending the walking horse industry from overburdensome and ineffective government regulation since I came to Congress in 2011.”

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The proposed change can be read here:

 was published by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Aug. 21, 2023, would ban action devices and pads and thus eliminate entire categories of competition for Tennessee Walking Horses. Performance categories currently account for 70% of horses entered in shows, including the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

In September, Reps. Rose and Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) led three Members of Congress, Reps. David Kustoff (TN-08), Hal Rogers (KY-05), and James Comer (KY-01), in sending a letter to USDA requesting a 60-day extension and outlining why more time is critical to ensure the most comprehensive and focused comments are submitted to APHIS for review. In the letter, the Members also noted that the proposed rule was published at the height of the Walking Horse Industry’s largest show.

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Read the full letter here:

In a response from the USDA, dated Oct. 19, a USDA spokesperson indicated the Department would accept and review the comments submitted before the Oct. 20 deadline. read the response here:

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