It has been alleged that Wallis has chosen this city, whose population is only 150, to reduce the chance of retaliation; the city may be too small to fight back. The building, which was once a beef slaughterhouse was formerly owned by Sharlene Mott. After being purchased by Hormel, then put out of business, it has been noted that this plant could offer up many new jobs to a town. When the original beef plant was closed down, a significant number of employees lost their jobs. Apparently, the citizens of Rockville are ‘excited’ for this business opportunity. In a public statement, Wallis stated that “We are excited to be bringing jobs and opportunity to rural Missouri” adding that they were also “even happier to provide a humane and viable option to the horse industry, decimated by misguided efforts to end humane horse slaughter.”
After ABC aired the controversial footage, Pepsi pulled its sponsorship from the event entirely and stricter penalties were put in place to prevent further abuse of these horses. The method referred to as ‘soring’ causes these horses to step higher due to stifling pain, resulting in a more ‘fancy’ high-stepping gait. It it important to note, however, that not all Tennessee Walking Horses are trained with this method. Thus far four Tennessee Walking Horse handlers have pleaded guilty to horse abuse, and it is expected that this number may steadily rise.