Two veterinary groups are calling for tougher penalties for those who sore walking horses. The intentional abuse is in violation of the Horse Protection Act.
A bill currently in the house is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
“Soring is an unconscionable abuse of horses that is used to produce a high-stepping gait – the ‘Big Lick’ – and gain an unfair competitive advantage in the show ring,” said Doug Aspros, DVM, president of the AVMA. “For decades we’ve watched irresponsible individuals become more creative about finding ways to sore horses and circumvent the inspection process, and have lost faith in an industry that seems unwilling and/or unable to police itself.”
The inspection process is one of several changes included in the proposed legislation of HR 6388. Also proposed are the following:
-Make illegal the act of soring or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore. -Requires the USDA rather than the industry to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors. -Ban weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands and other devices not used for protective or therapeutic purposes. -Increases civil and criminal penalties for violations.
-Disqualify horses for periods based on the number of violations, and permanently disqualify horses from show rings after three violations.
Despite being illegal since 1970, soring continues today. Action devices and performance packages are used by many to increase their horses’ signature high-step gait. The implements may also be used to hide chemical and mechanical irritants, according to the groups. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the national governing body for equestrian sport in the United States, has a no action device policy in the show ring. USDA-APHIS has not implemented the same guidelines to date.
The AVMA put out this educational video on soring earlier this year which explains more about why some use the cruel practice in the name of sport.
“The passage of HR 6388 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and significantly increase the effort to end the abuse of the Tennessee walking horse,” said AAEP President Dr. John Mitchell. He encourages supporters to contact their legislators.
The Big Lick’s Ban The USDA announced changes to the Horse Protection Act that may prove monumental toward ending the abusive practice of soring. The new rule bans the use of stacks, chains, and other cruel devices. It... Read More
A Maury County Circuit Court jury took an hour to find a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer guilty of assault on Tuesday. Alabama's Jamie Lawrence drove his truck at an anti-soring protester last May when he entered a horse ven... Read More
An undercover investigation shows those in the big lick industry are still crippling their horses in the name of sport, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). ThorSport Farm's owners Duke and Rhonda Tho... Read More
Two veterinarians serving in Congress brought a bill forward last week with the goal of eradicating the practice of soring horses. Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) re-introduced the Prevent All Soring... Read More
Two senators are supporting a bill that could end the cruel practice of horse soring. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1121) last week.... Read More
The questionable behavior continues in a video showing the "collapse" of a horse in the show ring under its rider, Jesse Barnes. It is unknown if the walking horse's failure to remain on its feet was caused by being being ov... Read More
In 2013, the district court ruled the USDA can impose minimum penalties upon those who sore horses. Appealing the decision are two of the case's original plaintiffs, Contender Farms and Mike McGartland.... Read More
The government shutdown began Tuesday for the first time in 17 years, as the political blame game continues. Without an agreement, many non-essential government entities depended on by horse owners, may be impacted.... Read More
SHOW, Contender Farms, and Mike McGartland filed the suit in Forth Worth. They didn't want the USDA to put a rule in place that would require horse inspection organizations to assess minimum penalties to violators of the Hor... Read More
The United States Equestrian Federation has enacted a new rule to prohibit soring and the use of action devices in gaited horses competing at recognized competitions. Rule GR839n, under Welfare of the Horse states: Soreing a... Read More
Kentucky state Senator Robin Webb was cited for violations of the Horse Protection Act. Two of her horses were found in violation of the "scar rule," which led to their disqualification at an October horse show, according to... Read More
The soring of gaited horses is an illegal but still common practice among the criminal underground of gaited horse show competitors. The Humane Society of the United States is working to help bring violators to justice throu... Read More
Equine Veterinarian Associations have called for a ban on the use of action devices and performance packages in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses. These devices can aid in the abusive practice of soring.... Read More
What's easier, training a horse thoroughly so it will go around the show ring quietly without spooking, or giving it drugs? How about teaching a client how to manage every stride on a hunter course, or giving the horse drugs... Read More