Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pressured the U.S. Department of Agriculture for years to back off its enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, even threatening to cut the agency's funding, according to documents obtained by the Herald-Leader.
McConnell has supported the Tennessee Walking Horse industry in its battle against USDA inspectors who look for evidence of soring, the illegal practice of deliberately injuring a horse's front feet to get it to step higher in an exaggerated style known as "the Big Lick."
McConnell backed the industry's demand for its own inspectors — paid by the industry, drawn from the ranks of horse owners and trainers — to have a greater role in soring inspections, rather than the independent USDA veterinarians who uncover and report soring more frequently.
At the same time, the industry gave McConnell tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations and hired his Senate chief of staff, Niels Holch, as its Washington lobbyist and attorney.
Read the complete story at kentucky.com