For more than 40 years, it has been illegal to sore horses being transported, shown, exhibited or sold. Sadly, the practice of soring – which entails deliberately causing pain to exaggerate the leg motion of a horse’s gait to gain an unfair advantage in show rings – has continued due to ineffective self-regulation, detection avoidance by trainers, and budget constraints hindering the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) enforcement capabilities.
In January, the USDA announced a rule that would have helped put an end to soring. Unfortunately, this rule was suspended during a regulatory freeze by the new administration, and its future remains uncertain.
Fortunately, there is another avenue through which we can address soring. Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 1847).
This bill aims to end soring by enabling the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to license, train and oversee independent third-party inspectors. This change would end failed self-regulation and eliminate potential conflict of interest concerns. Additionally, the PAST Act would increase penalties for soring violations and ban the use of action devices – which are associated with soring – on any Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse or Spotted Saddle Horse at a horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction. Stacks and pads on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses or Spotted Saddle Horses being shown, exhibited or auctioned would also be banned, although exceptions would be made for therapeutic use with veterinary supervision.
The AVMA is working with Congress to secure support for the PAST Act. Your voice can make a difference too – you can visit our Congressional Advocacy Network to contact your representatives in support of this legislation. This quick and easy action can influence your members of Congress and help us win the fight against soring.
It’s long past time that soring was ended for good. Learn more about soring and what we’re doing to stop it.