U.S. Senators Crapo and Warner reintroduce the PAST Act to End the Abuse of Horse Soring, Nearly Half the Senate Support as Original Cosponsors
June 24, 2021, Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to protect horses from the abusive show practices. Soring is a process by which horse trainers intentionally apply substances or devices to horses’ limbs to make each step painful and force an exaggerated high-stepping gait rewarded in show rings. Although federal law prohibits soring, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General (IG) report found that some horse trainers continue this inhumane practice.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would:
In 2017, the USDA Office of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) moved to strengthen certain aspects of the Horse Protection Act by incorporating some of the major tenets of the PAST Act. However, the rule was not finalized. The PAST Act would codify these changes into law. In April 2021, Senators Crapo and Warner led a bipartisan letter of 46 additional Senate colleagues to USDA Secretary Vilsack urging the USDA to publish and reinstate a final rule on the inhumane practice of soring.
Justice Served in Dogfighting Case Underscores why the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act needs to be passed into Federal Law
Drug Trafficking and Dog Fighting Ring Leader Sentenced to Thirty Years In Prison
On June 4, 2021, Jason R. Coody, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, sentenced Jermaine Hadley to 30 years in federal prison. Hadley headed a drug trafficking organization affiliated with a violent gang in Florida that was responsible for the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, possession of illegal firearms, and operating a largescale dogfighting ring throughout the north-central Florida Panhandle between 2018 and 2019.
The investigation into Hadley resulted in the rescue and rehabilitation of over 100 fighting dogs along with the seizure of drugs, numerous firearms, and large sums of U.S. currency. In addition to Hadley's sentencing, a total of 21 others were arrested that were involved with the extensive drug trafficking and dogfighting operation which included criminal links to Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
A Victory for Multiple Federal, State, and Local Agencies that Worked Cooperatively on the Case
The investigation and prosecution in the case was the result of the collaborative efforts of numerous federal, state, and local agencies. Their exemplary efforts should be applauded and emulated.
Long Delays and Lack of Enforcement of U.S. Animal Cruelty Federal Statutes
While the Hadley et al case was brought to victorious justice, the vast majority of criminal cases involving egregious crimes against animals aren't fully investigated and prosecuted. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's own records, between 2015 and 2019, less than 200 defendants were charged, convicted or sentenced for federal animal welfare offenses. This is why the passage of the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act into federal law is crucial.
The ACE Act would create a specialized Animal Cruelty Crimes section at the DOJ to increase their ability to pursue more cases across the nation. Federal statutes that would fall under the jurisdiction of the division include the Animal Fighting Venture Prohibition Act, the Horse Protection Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act is a pragmatic law-and-order bill that will help protect animals and help keep our communities safe from violent offenders, illegal drug distribution, and other crimes.
Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Vern Buchanan (FL-16) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today led a letter with more than 100 Members of Congress asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to publish a rule to prevent the intentional harming of horses known as “soring” that the Obama Administration was days from publishing in 2017 when Vilsack previously served as Secretary.
The rule mirrors the industry endorsed Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act by taking common sense measures to protect certain Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses from this type of mistreatment. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration suspended the HPA rule four years ago and never reinstated it.
In their letter, the Members noted that the rule has massive bipartisan support in Congress and generated more than 100,000 public comments in support. Efforts to strengthen Horse Protection Act enforcement are overwhelmingly popular with the public.
Efforts to pass federal legislation to end soring through the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R.693 came to a tipping point in 2019 when the bill passed the U.S. House by a landslide vote of 333-96. The companion bill in the U.S. Senate, S.1007, had the support of the majority of the upper chamber, with 52 Senators supporting the bill.
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