By: Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division
Late yesterday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved S. 1406, the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act or PAST Act. The bill, which was amended to match the House version H.R. 1518, will take many important steps to end the inhumane practice of soring.
Following the vote, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who introduced the Senate version of the PAST Act along with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), thanked her colleagues for moving the important legislation, which will hopefully improve the welfare of America’s walking horses. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also spoke in favor of the bill, mentioning that soring is beyond cruel, but is a “heinous practice.”
The Senate Committee’s action is a major victory for the welfare of horses and the veterinary profession! It brings the bill just one step closer to being sent before the full Senate, which the AVMA hopes will occur soon.
The PAST Act takes many important and necessary steps to end soring by: making the actual act of soring illegal; overhauling the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement system; banning incentives to sore; and improving the penalty structure against violators.
The legislation has an impressive amount of bipartisan support in Congress, including 268 cosponsors in the House and 50 in the Senate. The PAST Act is supported by the AVMA, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, every state veterinary medical association in the United States, and numerous other groups and individuals, including many former walking horse industry leaders.
We would like to thank all of our AVMA members who have contacted their legislators. Your support has helped move the PAST Act one step closer to becoming law. If you have not done so yet, you can still contact your legislators today and urge them to support the bill. Take action now.