Senators signal support for bill to protect horses from soring

Congress tried, and failed, last session to pass an important bill that would protect horses from the abusive act of soring. Now, two senators have once again taken a step in the right direction by reintroducing legislation that will hopefully end this cruel practice.Shutterstock103488437HorseEyeBridle300x200

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1121) on Tuesday. This bill will take important steps to ban the unethical practice of soring, including:

  • making the actual act of soring a crime;
  • eliminating the current self-policing system in the walking horse industry by requiring the USDA to license, train, assign, and oversee inspectors;
  • ending the use of action devices and performance packages;
  • increasing civil and criminal penalties for violation; and
  • allowing for the permanent disqualification of violators.

By ensuring that federal regulators have the resources and authority they need to identify and punish violators for their crimes, the PAST Act will make it possible for America’s walking horses to be admired for their natural beauty without being subjected to the inhumane practice of soring.

Last Congress, the AVMA joined every state veterinary medical association and numerous other veterinary organizations and individuals in calling on our nation’s leaders to pass this important bill for horse welfare. Despite avid support from over 365 lawmakers, the bill died at the end of the 113th Congress. The AVMA is committed, once again, to taking all necessary action to prevent horses from being sored and will be actively supporting this bill again in the 114th Congress.

Lead sponsors Ayotte and Warner are joined by 10 original cosponsors, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and David Vitter (R-La.). The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

For more information on the unethical practice of soring, see the AVMA’s web page, which has a video and background information on the topic. We also encourage you to write your senator and ask them to support S. 1121 through AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network.

25 thoughts on “Senators signal support for bill to protect horses from soring

  1. As this is a web site for a vetrinary association, please ask your vet to describe to you the Auburn Studies, commissioned almost forty years ago by the USDA, which confirmed without any science-based refutation that the shoeing techniques to be outlawed by the PAST Act do not cause soreness in horses. Everyone I know wants horses to be happy and well; the PAST Act unfortunately may have the opposite effect by eliminating industry horse inspections, and may additionally lead to the slaughter of thousands of animals which it will make obsolete. There is legislation proposed by Sen. Alexander which strengthens and requires scientific inspection techniques and calls for independent organizations to perform them. I understand how easy it is to fall prey to simplistic appeals exploiting our love for these animals. If you love horses, please take the time to explore the facts. Find someone with a Walking Horse, as the previous commenter indicated, and go see how he is treated. There is no more thoroughly inspected or better cared for breed on earth.

  2. I’m glad to see that most of you have no idea what is the facts. How many of you have inspected these horses at shows>>>>maybe NONE. The USDA’s own compliance numbers is 97%. Tell me another industry that is 97% in compliance. Yes there are cheaters, just as in Major League baseball, football, soccer, Am. Saddle breds, Morgans, etc etc. What is needed is scientific testing not subjective opinion testing. If the “big lick” is so unnatural I would have you check the Saddlebreds, Hackneys etc. They have NO inspections and can go in the ring with blood from the boots showing……or chains on all four legs. Get the facts.

    • It’s plain to see the AVMA has become nothing more than an arm of the h$u$ that follows directions with no regard for the truth or facts. The Walking Horse Industry and SHOW HIO have shown time and again they enforce the HPA in every manner required and then some. They do this while a USDA inspector admits to handing out false violations. The AVMA needs to first be honest with itself and then tom the rest of the world and admit the Walking Horse is by far the best card for animal in the world far more so than the Thoroughbred race horse they go out of their way to protect so they can dies on a race track. Check to see the comparison of race horses that die while racing to the Walking Horse that receives a violations and while you are at it remember death is very permanent while a violation real or not allows our horse to show another day.

  3. this should have been passed years ago along with the bestiality laws. That’s still legal in 22 states.
    But I am very glad we are moving forward.

  4. We have got to get the PAST Act S. 1121 through the Senate and into legislation. If you see a horse performing the big lick, you are watching a horse that is in terrible pain. They never get a break from the pain either. They stand in their stalls with those awkward, bulky shoes day and night, and the “trainers” use chemicals to burn their lower legs and feet, so that when the chains rub, the horse picks their front feet up to try to alleviate the pain. The present laws are very weak, and the judges of the shows all have horse protection act violations. That’s why Lamar’s bill will not work – his bill would give the abusers even more power. Remember, the act that we need to promote and support is S. 1121.

    • I disagree and it amazes me how many people who make blanket statements like this have never been to a training barn to see these animals up close and in person. I can take you to a farm right now and show you a horse that is owned by a young lady who has been never sored and loves his job and is good enough at doing it to win at the Celebration. Time to stop Ayotee’s bill just like the PAST Act and stop trying to trample the freedoms we here in America enjoy. Just because you don’t like the type car someone drives doesn’t give you the right to tell them they can’t drive it. Same thing goes for the padded horse. So I personally am issuing an invitation to you to email me and I will make arrangements for you to go see this horse in person and judge for yourself. Then we shall see if you are willing to do that and learn the facts before you speak out against something or just want to listen to what others say rather than know the truth for yourself. Pads don’t equal soring!

  5. I don’t understand why this is even an issue. Anyone in their right mind can see soring is barbaric. Please pass the PAST act. We need to show the world we don’t support cruelty in this country.

  6. This criminalizes a banned training technique. Soring is not the only technique that could be considered abusive in the horse world, or any other working animal situation. However, forcing the government to shift resources away from other important animal issues where state, local, and association inspectors have the power to prosecute and ban violators now seems redundant and counter productive.

  7. This should not even be up for a debate. Any kind of abuse to animals should automatically be outlawed. Why on earth does there need to be a vote about it? And who in their right mind would vote for animal abuse….this is something Congress should pass immediately and move on.

  8. please protect all animals against cruelty of any kind,,they go threw to much as training them i no its horrid,,i’ve seen it,,please stop all the abuse n cruelty to theses horses and all animals,,,and should make the owners or who ever hurts them in any way go threw the same things they put on theses animals to do,,,Amen,,STOP ALL THIS…

  9. Thanks to the 2 Senators for trying to abolish this “soring of horses.” Now you have to get some of those other idiots to come over to your side and support you.

  10. Please pass a law to stop this horror. It’s unnecessary and cruel, just for the enjoyment of humans.

  11. I can’t even imagine such a horrible practice being legal! You go, Senators, take it all the way!

  12. Please protect these beautiful horses. What the heck has this world come to? We know you will fight for them.
    Thank you.