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Call for Congress to pass anti-soring bill

Thermographic image showing excessive warmth (seen as red and orange colors), which may be caused by inflammation from soring. The pattern seen is consistent with soring using a chemical agent.

Thermographic image shows excessive warmth (seen as red and orange colors), which may be caused by inflammation from soring. The pattern seen is consistent with soring using a chemical agent. © USDA

Congress is being urged by the American Horse Council to pass a well-supported bill that aims to clamp down on the illegal practice of horse soring.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, or PAST Act (S.1406/H.R.1518), recently surpassed 300 co-sponsors in the House and has 57 co-sponsors in the Senate.

It is supported by almost all major national horse show organizations and many state and local horse organizations. It has also been approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is one of the most widely supported and bi-partisan bills in Congress.

The PAST Act would strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in a bid to end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses.

Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for more than 40 years, this cruel practice, involving the use of chemical and mechanical irritants on the lower legs of horses, is said to still be used by some in the performance or “big lick” segments of the walking horse industry.

“Very few bills in Congress ever achieve this level of support and this is an important milestone,” council president Jay Hickey said.

“The magnitude of support for this bill is clear, but to advance it still needs to be brought to a vote.

“Ending soring is important for the welfare of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. But, it is also important for the economic health of the horse industry because, while soring happens only in a small segment of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry, such abuse damages the image of the entire horse industry.”

Most major national horse show organizations support the PAST Act, including the American Horse Council, the American Quarter Horse Association, the US Equestrian Federation, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Morgan Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the Arabian Horse Association, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the United Professional Horsemen’s Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club, as well as many state and local horse organizations.

Hickey continued: “We believe now is the time for Congress to take action on the PAST Act. The AHC urges all members of the horse community to contact their Senators and Representative and tell them the PAST Act should be given a vote as soon as possible and they should vote for it, when that happens.”

Individuals who wish to support the PAST Act can visit www.horsecouncil.org to find out more.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Elizabeth Graves says:

    Thank you for this very informative and important article.

  2. Frances Bates says:

    OMG… this is the most prejudicial statement I have every read:

    “While soring happens only in a small segment of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry, such abuse damages the image of the entire horse industry.”

    Wake up… these people will NOT Stop with these 3 breeds.

    • Jerry Harris says:

      Frances it is not 3 breeds just one all three are in truth walking horses. The American Horse Council is standing on a soap box wanting the PAST act passed. Ask members of that group if they would feel the same way if the PAST act included the Saddlebred for their abuse or the Thoroughbred Racing Industry for theirs?
      They would jump ship so fast saying they didn’t realize what the bill meant. Well they better open their eyes because if the past act is passed “THEIR NEXT” just like other breeds will follow.

  3. Freedom Farmer says:

    Well this pic & these comments from the AHC show really call for question to their credibility! Obviously, the American Horse Council has ignored the FACT that the USDA has been using the Thermograph Equipment under conditions that totally ignore the manufacturers protocol for proper use of said machine. FOR ACCURATE READINGS, this machine should be used in a closed, controlled environment with no fans, no sun, no wind, etc. The horse industry has proof via photos & videos of the USDA using the Thermograph in the wide open spaces directly in the sun & wind & those readings have been recorded in the USDA Thermograph/Horse Show Books! The USDA has been using the Thermograph right next to huge barn fans blowing wide open & recording the same data!!! What a waste of taxpayers money – paying hundreds of thousands of dollars (that the USA doesn’t have I might add) to USDA officials for improper use of the Thermograph with incorrect results that are worthless! These results & photos such as the one above would be thrown out by any court of law because they are altered by the environment in which they were taken. If I can post them, I will post the photos & videos I reference!

  4. Daryl Conner says:

    No animal should have to be sored to be in show, would you like to have your feet sored so you stepped higher? Put he sore on your feet then tell every one who should have this done and why, for what reason . Thanks for the info now to get it out in the public .

  5. Pat Ingraham says:

    Suggest you get accurate information not something that has been photoshopped !!
    A desperate last ditch effort with sensationalism on a bill that won’t pass!!
    This is the most funded and most lobbied bill in history!!!
    I suggest you all get the real truth and look at who sponsors this bill and why!!

  6. Joe Scott says:

    The point of the matter is all about money and what putting an end to this would do to the economy of a region that relies greatly on this. All that has gone on since the HPA was passed in 1970 is a bunch of pussyfooting around, game of cat and mouse, and a bunch of crooks looking out the window. Sadly, about 60 years ago, the walking horse industry took a wrong turn when the practice of soring began to entertain the crowds at the shows. The original intent of the early developers of the TWH, to have a fine, naturally higher stepping, loose, easy going, utility horse was abandoned. If breeding practices had continued to further better horses like the early, great, natural TWH’s (like Strolling Jim, Merry Wilson, etc.), instead of breeding a pacey horse more suitable for soring and performing the big lick, no telling what kind of horse they would have now. THE simple fact of the matter that keeps getting avoided and swept under the rug is the fact that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BIG LICK HORSE THAT IS NOT SORE NOR HAS NOT EVER BEEN SORED!!!!!!!! PERIOD. I have had an idea that could easily be done to settle this argument. Why don’t all these trainers, owners, and advocates of the big lick horse sponsor a “host training project”. Allow a government inspector to be involved as a constant observer of the training process of a young horse from the very beginning of the process. ie NOTHING would be done with that horse, feeding, grooming, riding “training”, NOTHING without constant inspection, to assure that there “IS NO SORING IN THE PROCESS”. PROVE IT!!! That also goes for Plantation horses. If someone was constantly accusing me of something that I knew I was totally innocent of, I would gladly be willing and would WANT to do something like this. This will never happen,, because IT IS NOT POSSIBLE!! The interview with Barney Davis, a convicted horse trainer/ HPA violator tells it like it is. ” THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THE SORING IS TO TAKE THE CHAINS AND THE PADS.” “WITHOUT THE SORING, THEY DO NOTHING”. Once again, it is all about money, not the horse who has no voice. Sadly an unfortunately the TWH show industry built it’s house on a foundation (last 60 years), that was wrong to begin with and now they are beginning to really pay the price.

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