Horse Abuse Lawsuit Prompted Blackout of USDA Records

The mysterious removal of records from the government agency reveals ties to the horse show industry.

A lawsuit filed against the USDA by Contender Farms, L.L.P., Mike McGartland, Lee McGartland, and SHOW Inc. was recently dropped. Last month, the USDA scrubbed all animal welfare records from its website without much explanation. The removal has been linked to this lawsuit which aimed to sue the USDA for violating the federal Privacy Act by publishing the plaintiffs’ names in inspection reports that accuse them of “soring” their Tennessee Walking Horses—an illegal practice of applying chemicals to a horse’s legs to encourage a high-stepping gait. In order to enter a Tennessee Walking Horse into a competition, the Horse Protection Act of 1970 requires an inspection conducted by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sub-committee. When the McGartlands had multiple horses disqualified, the records on the USDA’s website reflected these animal cruelty allegations. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has taken immediate action since the blackout in order to reinstate inspection reports of industries that exploit animals. “We’re not sure if they cut a secret deal with the USDA behind the judge’s and the public’s back,” HSUS president Wayne Pacelle said, “or if they just realized that they had a very difficult path to prevail in court.” Though the USDA has republished some animal welfare information after legal pressure from animal-rights groups, APHIS spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said the remaining missing records are still under review in order to “determine which information is appropriate for reposting.”

More News

NYC Fashion Mogul to Debut Vegan Cheese Brand

Joshua Katcher—founder of vegan fashion brand Brave Gentleman—has teamed with vegan tattoo shop owner Dina DiCenso to launch artisanal vegan cheese brand RIND.
Read More »

LUSH Debuts New Vegan Bath Melt to Fight for Trans Rights

The vegan-friendly beauty brand launches a campaign to raise $450,000 to end discrimination and violence against transgender people.
Read More »

Data Shows Plant-Based Diet Would Save UK $7 Billion

A new study finds that the country could save billions on health and economic costs if 10 percent of the population adopted a plant-based diet.
Read More »

Amsterdam Fashion Brand Debuts Vegan James Dean Jacket

Cruelty-free fashion brand HoodLamb announces its spring line complete with James Dean-inspired unisex jackets.
Read More »

Investors Condemn Whole Foods for Ignoring Vegan Shift

A coalition of 57 investors who manage $2.4 trillion in assets continues to push food companies to abandon the risky practice of raising animals for food.
Read More »

This Week on VegNews TV: The secret to these delightful sweet treats is white beans! Aylin Erman shows you how to make these simple blondies.

More Videos »