Every trade has topics that get immediate reaction from its members. For U.S.-based farriers, a subject that sparks a passionate response is licensing/regulation of farriery. With this in mind, I'm curious what U.S. farriers would think about a recent case in England.
Back in January, the Farrier Registration Council (FRC), which governs farrier practice in Great Britain, made it official that English farrier Raymond Weedall could no longer legally practice the trade by removing his name from the registry. Weedall had several violations over the previous 2 years, most appalling being animal cruelty for his involvement in cockfighting. It seems the animal cruelty charge under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was enough to determine Weedall is unfit to work with horses.
It is illegal for anyone to operate as a professional farrier in the U.K. without being properly licensed, which requires years of education/apprenticing to attain. On top of that, a farrier must abide by the rules and regulations put forth by the FRC.
Weedell was in clear violation of various acts held forth by the FRC and other regulations.
What if this farrier and his animal cruelty occurred in the U.S.? Cockfighting is illegal state by state, and if authorities were interested in pursuing, Weedell would face charges and sentences that vary state to state. Federal law gets involved if transport of cockfighting animals and gear crosses state lines.
So in an in-state prosecution of a cockfighting ring, it would take the actions of a judge to prohibit any interaction with animals, meaning he could still work as a farrier unless the judge would say so. In surveying cockfighting cases in the U.S., it seems the government is more concerned about not being able to gets its cut of gambling, more so than animal cruelty.
So unless there is a creative sentence or time is served, Weedell could go on practicing farriery. How would horse owners respond if their farrier was found guilty of sever animal cruelty? I think most would find the actions appalling and would fire that farrier. But there would be owners in the U.S. who don't care about animal bloodsports or would prefer a "Weedell" (despite the charges) over other local farriers if he was $5 cheaper for a trimming or shoeing. After all, if there are owners willing to sore a horse to further animate a horse's gait, I doubt cockfighting would be beyond the pale.