U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) re-introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 and finally end the practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses that runs rampant throughout the Southeastern U.S. They were joined by original cosponsors that include Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Bob Casey (D-PA).
The measure seeks to close loopholes that have allowed the barbaric practice of “soring.” Soring is conducted by trainers who apply caustic chemicals to the feet of horses or insert sharp objects into their hooves to produce an exaggerated gait. This intentional abuse of horses produces high stepping gait known as the “big lick,” and it has been an ugly feature of the equine world since the 1950s. The PAST Act was first introduced in 2013, but it has continued to be blocked at every turn by a handful of lawmakers aligned with violators of the HPA.
“I support the humane treatment of all animals and the responsible training of horses,” said U.S. Senator Mike Crapo. “I remain committed to ending the cruel practice of soring, and will continue to promote enforcement of current animal welfare laws.”
“Horses have been a part of our Commonwealth’s history and culture since the settling of Jamestown, and like all animals, they deserve to be treated with care and compassion,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner. “The PAST Act will further protect these animals from the cruel practice of inflicting deliberate pain and suffering for show purposes.”
“I’ve seen horses’ feet that have been sored so badly they looked like pizza, and it’s long past time to end the rampant abusive practice of soring that I’ve personally witnessed since childhood,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “I applaud Senators Mike Crapo and Mark Warner for their continued commitment to the horses, and the PAST Act.”
“There’s no other category of horse show practitioners who do something quite so cruel and diabolical as sore the feet of horses” said Priscilla Presley, actress, producer, and animal wellness advocate. “No lawmaker should look the other way and allow this to continue for one more day.”
“Horse soring is a little-known but appalling abuse of horses,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action who has worked with lawmakers to upgrade our laws against dogfighting and cockfighting. “It should be classed in the same category of abuse as cockfighting or canned hunting – an outright abuse of animals by people who violate the norms of their industry.”
The PAST Act was also introduced in the U.S. House in January as the “U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act,” (H.R. 693) named in honor of the Horse Protection Act’s author who passed last fall, by U.S Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL) and is supported by the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and the veterinary medical associations from all 50 states. It attracted 340 House and Senate cosponsors in the previous Congress and is well on its way toward attracting that level of support in the new Congress.