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November 8, 2010

The HSUS Names Madeleine Pickens 'Humane Horsewoman of the Year'

Award presented to Pickens at third annual Sound Horse Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Madeleine Pickens, one of the nation’s most outspoken horse advocates and selfless philanthropists, was awarded The Humane Society of the United States’ prestigious “Horsewoman of the Year” award at the third annual Sound Horse Conference in Louisville, Ky. The HSUS award is presented annually to a horseman or horsewoman who has committed himself or herself to improving the welfare of America's horses. The conference focused on new efforts to enforce the Horse Protection Act, and protect Tennessee Walking Horses from the abuses of soring.

At a time when there was much friction and mistrust involving the Bureau of Land Management in Washington over the wild horse issue, Madeleine Pickens came forward and offered a solution—a sanctuary that would guarantee a safe haven for wild horses. When BLM bureaucrats and Washington politicians said it couldn’t be done, she didn’t take no for an answer; she persisted and showed them how her plan could work.

“There are many people in America who have the compassion, money, or talent to put toward solving a problem of this magnitude, but few possess all three traits, and few can get work accomplished for horses like Madeleine Pickens. She is one of those rare individuals who puts her passion, time and money where her heart is,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.

The award was created to recognize a horseman or horsewoman who has shown an outstanding commitment to improving the welfare of America's horses. Pat Parelli, world-renowned teacher of the Parelli Natural Horsemanship method, was presented the award in 2009. U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., received the award in 2008 for his leadership in the effort to pass H.R. 503/S. 727, legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption abroad.

Pickens, who delivered the keynote address at the Sound Horse Conference, was humble in her acceptance of the award, and pledged her ongoing commitment to the protection of all of America’s horses.

At the conference, attendees learned about plans to restructure USDA’s program for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, developed in response to a recent audit by the USDA Office of the Inspector General. New information was presented about the use of technology in the fight to end soring, and The HSUS presented an analysis of what must be done in order for the Tennessee Walking Horse industry to secure a future for itself.

The Horse Protection Act was passed in 1970 to outlaw the cruel practice of soring—the intentional infliction of pain to the limbs and hooves of horses to create an artificial show gait known as the “big lick”—but the practice continues to be widespread in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry due to industry acceptance, and inconsistent enforcement by the USDA.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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