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Stop the Loopholes Allowing Horse Soring

Stop the Loopholes Allowing Horse Soring 

Name: Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act

Bill Number: S 2957/HR 1847

Horse soring is a painful practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It is accomplished by irritating the forelegs through the injection or application of chemicals or mechanical irritants. As a sored horse tries to escape the pain in his front feet and legs, he kicks his hooves up quickly. This is known as the “big lick.”

The process of soring horses has been illegal since the passage of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970.  The HPA, however, is not well regulated and trainers have found loopholes to circumvent the law to force Tennessee Walking Horses to attain an unnaturally high gait. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed better enforcement in its regulations, but was prevented from implementing this plan because of a moratorium on new regulations.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would require the USDA to ban cruel devices not already listed in the HPA that are integral to the soring process. It would also elevate the crime of soring, including the use of all chemicals and devices, from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The PAST Act was introduced in the House in March 2017, and now has 282 bipartisan cosponsors. The bill was introduced in the Senate in May 2018 and has already obtained 25 bipartisan cosponsors. With so much support in both chambers, this legislation should pass—once it is given the attention it deserves.


Call to Actions:

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Please Put an End to Horse Soring

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for the PAST Act, S 2957/HR 1847, which would fix the gaps in current horse soring law and end the failed system of industry self-policing. These bills ban cruel devices integral to the soring process that were not specifically identified in the Horse Protection Act, including weighted stacked shoes and ankle chains, and create stronger penalties for violators. The crime of horse soring would be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony; penalties would also be increased for individuals who knowingly promote the use of sored horses.

When Congress first passed the Horse Protection Act in 1970, it was to put an end to the practice of soring. This practice causes pain in the hooves and lower legs of these horses. The pain causes the horses to lift up their hooves high in an unnatural way. In 2016, the USDA found that 90 percent of Tennessee Walking Horses tested positive for prohibited substances that caused pain, or substances that camouflaged evidence of soring. However, trainers and exhibitors have found loopholes to continue the cruel practice of horse soring.

Despite widespread support for these bills in both chambers, this legislation has not moved forward. Since the HPA has been largely unsuccessful in eliminating the practice of horse soring, it will take an act of Congress to protect the well-being of horses.

Please encourage hearings on the PAST Act so that it can move forward before the end of the current legislative session. Thank you for your consideration.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]