One of the perks of writing for an audience of sharp readers is that your comments often raise questions that never had occurred to me. I always learn something new when I put a column together and more often than not, I learn something interesting from your feedback.

A case in point: a couple of weeks ago, a column about the dangers of so-called “ag-gag” laws mentioned an undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States documenting abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses by a prominent trainer.

The point of the column was not to highlight the HSUS investigation, although the organization deserves credit for bringing the abuse to light. Instead, it was intended as a warning that undercover investigations would be next to impossible in a state with laws that criminalized clandestine reporting on animal abuse and other questionable farming practices.

I hadn’t intended to write about HSUS, but the organization became the focus of some of your comments. A few readers suggested that the year-long delay between the time the investigation was conducted (March through May 2011) and the release of the videotape to the public (May 2012) was evidence of bad faith on the part of HSUS.

It’s a good question. Was HSUS manipulating the timing for a financial or public relations advantage rather than for the good of the abused horses? A few days ago, I posed the question to Keith Dane, Director of Equine Protection for HSUS.

Promotion or Prosecution?

HSUS selected nationally known trainer Jackie McConnell as the target of the undercover investigation for two reasons: he had