It’s not every day that you see horses galloping toward the U.S. Capitol, but this week that’s what happened during “Walk on Washington,” a demonstration by horse owners and those who just admire these majestic animals to show their support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act.
Soring, an inhumane practice that cripples horses physically and mentally, needs to be stopped once and for all in the walking horse show industry. The PAST Act, which has broad bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, will not only make the act of soring illegal, but will also overhaul the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s oversight and enforcement capabilities so that they can better identify and punish bad actors.
Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who sponsored the bill, spoke about the bill’s impressive support. Hundreds of organizations, including almost every national and state veterinary group and many Tennessee walking horse groups, as well as 292 representatives and 56 senators support the bill.
“I don’t think there’s any question—it’s a good bill; it’s a reasonable bill. We’re frustrated right now because when you have that kind of support and that many organizations supporting you, normally you could get the bill to the floor. We will continue our efforts to make sure we can pass this legislation,” Whitfield said.
Other congressmen spoke, including former Sen. Joseph Tydings (D-Md.), who led the effort to get the original Horse Protection Act passed in 1970, and Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).
“I am confident that if the leaders of the House allow us to vote on our PAST Act that it will pass overwhelmingly,” Cohen said. “I hope today’s Walk on Washington helps convince House leadership that the time is now to act to prevent this horrendous form of animal abuse. The infliction of pain on an animal or another human is wrong. … We ought to treat all God’s creatures well.”
If you haven’t done so already—visit AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network to email your congressional representatives today to ask them to pass this bill. The bill has a lot of momentum, but unless your congressional representatives hear from you, the clock will wind down on this Congress without the bill becoming law.