DECEMBER 9, 2020
Today, Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, American Horse Protection Society, Join-Up International, and Horses for Life Foundation commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which was signed into law on December 9, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon and authored by the late U.S. Senator, Joseph D. Tydings (D-MD). The intent of the HPA is to prohibit the showing, sale, auction, exhibition, or transport of sored horses. However, loopholes in the law allow for horse soring to persist.
The 50th anniversary of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) is a reminder that good legislation often becomes outdated, which necessitates contemporary reforms. Such is the case with the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R.693, which aims to finally end the horrific abuse of horse soring. Following the victorious passage of the bill in the U.S. House, its only path through the U.S. Senate is through modifications made to the language which include; a ban on chains and other action devices, prohibits barbaric tail braces, and raises penalties to a felony.
RECENT LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
In July 2019, the House passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R.693, by a vote of 333 to 96. But, more than 16 months after passage of the legislation, the Senate hasn’t taken even the first step of action. If the U.S. Senate does not act on the measure, it will mark 50 years of stasis on the issue.
In 2020, U.S. House Agriculture Appropriators increased funding for HPA enforcement from $1 million to $2 million thanks to the work of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). The funding measure included language suggesting a failed 2017 Obama-era regulation to end soring should be implemented in 2021, thanks to the work of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN). In addition, Cohen also championed a House floor amendment to provide $750,000 for a new USDA Office of Inspector General audit of its Horse Protection Program in 2021, yet not a single one of these initiatives has yet to be included in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations FY21 spending bill.
HOW TO HELP STOP HORSE SORING
Tennessee Walking Horse Stakeholders, Animal Protection Organizations Announce Historic Effort to End Abusive Practice of HORSE Soring
Nashville, TN (Nov. 12, 2020) — Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, Horses For Life Foundation, American Horse Protection Society and key stakeholders in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry announced a historic effort that seeks to end soring, protect the Tennessee Walking Horse and the breed, and preserve a show horse that the public will applaud. These key players have agreed to support legislation to ban action devices and tail braces, to dramatically reduce the size of the shoe, and to establish additional penalties for horse soring.
The Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 authored by the late U.S. Senators Joe Tydings, D-MD, and Howard Baker, R-Tenn., was enacted to stamp out soring but left loopholes that have allowed the practice to persist. Over the past eight years more than 20 pieces of legislation and amendments to the HPA have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate geared at combating the painful practices of soring – the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ feet to achieve an unnatural high-step that trainers utilize to cheat and avert proper training practices. Not a single measure has been enacted, leaving a 50-year-old statute to govern management of regulated horse shows.
The U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693/ S. 1007 (named only Prevent All Soring Tactics in the Senate) passed the U.S. House in July 2019 but is stalled in the U.S. Senate, with no reasonable prospects of that circumstance changing.
This is the ninth rendition of the bill since 2012, and the Senate has never taken up the bill on the floor. The Horse Protection Amendments Act, H.R. 1157/S. 1455, introduced on seven occasions in either the House or Senate, and supported by the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, has also not advanced. Even attempts to finalize regulations to end soring have long-failed at every turn.
Points of Agreement these Stakeholders Seek to Achieve in Compromise Legislation:
Additional points of clarification
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced the appointment of the committee for the new study, A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses. The study is a collaboration between the NASEM's Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) and the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR). Funding for the study has been provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry.
About the Study:
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will convene an ad hoc committee of equine veterinarians and experts with relevant experience and appropriate professional certifications or academic degrees to review the scientific and veterinary medical literature on hoof and pastern pain and skin/tissue changes on the pastern of horses, and evaluate methods used to identify soreness in horses (as defined in the Horse Protection Act* and the implementing regulations) for their scientific validity and reliability. In the course of its study, the committee will:
In a consensus report, the committee will describe its conclusions about the validity and reliability of methods, and provide recommendations to improve the efficacy and consistency of approaches to identifying soreness. The report will also review the Horse Protection Act regulations, including the "scar rule" found at 9. C.F.R. 11.3 and identify changes that would be necessary to implement the findings of the study.
*Sore when used to describe a horse means:
Jerry Black, DVM, is an associate professor at the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture Sciences and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences, Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins.
Robin Foster, PhD is a certified horse behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a board Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) with the Animal Behavior Society, and a Fear Free Certified Professional. She holds a PhD in animal behavior from the University of Washington, and a dual BS in biology and psychology from the University of Michigan.
Pamela Eve Ginn, DVM, Dipl. ACVP, is an associate professor and senior pathologist at the Department of Comparative Diagnostic and Population Medicine, University of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.
Sarah le Jeune, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CVA, Cert. Vet. Chiro, is a member of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of lameness and various performance-related musculoskeletal injuries by an integrative approach including acupuncture and chiropractic. She is the chief of the Equine Integrative Sports Medicine Service at University of California, Davis.
Bart Sutherland, DVM is currently a private practice large animal veterinarian in Oxford, Mississippi. In previous years, he has also worked for the USEF/AQHA (US Equestrian Federation/American Quarter Horse Association) Drug and Medication Program (2002-2015); Veterinary Medicine Officer (VMO) with USDA (2010-2018); and a VMO with the USDA Horse Protection Program and Animal Care (2010-2017; Interim Director for USDA Horse Protection Program, 2016).
Tracy Turner, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, American Academy of Thermology Fellow, is the president and owner of Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery in Stillwater, Minnesota (2016 - present). Dr. Turner has over 40 years experience as an equine veterinarian and as a farrier.
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