Thanks to the continued support from our member veterinarians, the AVMA has once again been able to advocate for America’s walking horses on Capitol Hill and urge Congress to stop the cruel practice of soring.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), one of the three veterinarians serving in Congress, introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 3268) in the U.S. House. In doing so, Rep. Yoho joins his colleagues in the Senate in taking action against the abusive practice of soring, which is the act of deliberately inflicting pain—through chemical or physical means—to exaggerate the leg motion of certain walking horse breeds to gain an unfair advantage in the show ring.
The PAST Act will take many important and necessary steps to stop soring, including: making the act of soring a crime; eliminating the current self-policing system in the walking horse industry by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors; ending the use of equipment that has been proven to mask the signs of soring (such as “action devices” or “performance packages” [PDF]); increasing civil and criminal penalties for violation; and allowing for the permanent disqualification of violators.
Last Congress, thanks to veterinarians like you who wrote their members of Congress, the PAST Act had the support of more than 365 lawmakers. Unfortunately, some in leadership blocked this bill from moving out of committee to be voted on by the full Congress, allowing it to expire at the end of the congressional session last December.
The move to reintroduce the bill in the House “sent a clear signal this week that the successes from last Congress have not fallen on deaf ears,” AVMA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron DeHaven said in a press release. But, given that the current 114th Congress’ versions of the bill (H.R. 3268/S. 1121) only have a combined 156 cosponsors—we clearly have more work to do.
We need your help in telling your elected officials to support this important bill! Please take a few minutes to sign our action alert. Learn more about the harmful effects of soring on AVMA’s Web page.