If you went to National Journal’s website this morning, you may have seen the dark brown eyes of a beautiful horse staring back at you with a desperate call to action. The latest AVMA advertising campaign urges Congress to take action on two important federal bills that will help ensure the health and welfare of America’s horses.
The first bill—the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 1518/S. 1406)—aims to make the inhumane practice of soring illegal so that America’s walking horses are protected from unethical trainers and abuse in the show ring. Supported by more than 280 House members and a majority of U.S. senators, the clock is running out on this Congress to bring the bill to a floor vote so that it can be passed into law. House leadership said in the past that when the bill reached 100 Republican cosponsors it would receive consideration. However, bill sponsors and supporters are still waiting for leadership to honor that commitment now that the threshold has been surpassed.
The AVMA has long advocated for this legislation and recently testified before House members, calling on Congress to pass the bill. Many other organizations, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, all state veterinary medical associations and a number of horse industry and animal protection organizations, also support this bill and many are planning to walk on Washington on June 18 to bring awareness to this important issue. In addition, many notables, including Priscilla Presley, ex-wife of Elvis Presley, and individuals within the walking horse industry, such as Carl Bledsoe and Bill Harlin, have recently spoken out in favor of this bill.
The second bill—the Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R. 4440/S. 1459)—will outlaw the use of double-decker trailers to transport horses on America’s highways. These vehicles do not provide the space that horses need to safely and comfortably stand and maintain their balance during their trips, resulting in injuries that could have been prevented. Although the bill is currently stuck in committee in both the House and Senate, the AVMA is hopeful that the bill will be included in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill, soon to be under consideration in Congress.
The AVMA’s digital advertising campaign will run on National Journal’s website June 9-15, and people who access the publication’s website from their mobile devices—smartphones, tablets or laptops—will be able to see them as well. All advertisements will link to a page on AVMA’s website where interested people can learn more about the two bills, read recent news on the topics and take action by writing their members of Congress.
For the first time, the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network will also complement the weeklong campaign with banner and display advertisements on Facebook, urging Americans to write their members of Congress in support of these bills and join the AVMA-CAN to get the latest alerts on legislation impacting veterinary medicine or animal health and welfare.
AVMA members are encouraged to visit the new Web page to learn more about the two bills and to contact their legislators today. Time is running out on this Congress—let’s work together to get these bills passed to protect the health and welfare of America’s horses.