MTSU reaffirms commitment to legal, ethical animal treatment

Middle Tennessee State University will continue to underscore that organizers of private groups renting campus facilities for events must take all appropriate measures to ensure compliance to state and federal laws, a spokesman said Friday, Sept. 4.

Andrew Oppmann, MTSU’s vice president for marketing and communications, said the renewed emphasis comes after reports that a 2013 event held by a private group that rented the Tennessee Livestock Center on campus included a walking horse that was allegedly abused as part of its training.MTSU Wordmark

“MTSU does not condone the illegal or unethical treatment of any animal,” he added.

The livestock center and the Tennessee Miller Coliseum, located off campus on Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro, are among several facilities at MTSU that are available for rental by outside groups or organizations, Oppmann said.

Andrew Oppmann

Andrew Oppmann

“It is the responsibility of outside groups and organizations to ensure that any events staged in our leased facilities comply with state and federal laws, including those concerning the health and well-being of any animals exhibited and housed at MTSU facilities,” he said.

Oppmann said the April 2013 event, incorrectly billed by organizers as the “MTSU Walking for Education Horse Show,” was not organized or sanctioned by MTSU and did not benefit the university.

“We asked the outside group who staged the event to remove any reference to the university in its materials,” he said.

“As home to the state’s largest equine science program, we remain a strong supporter of the horse industry and an advocate for the legal and ethical treatment of horses,” Oppmann continued.

“Part of the education we offer our students includes understanding how to show horses professionally, honestly and successfully.”