American Horse Council Reaffirms Support for the PAST Act
During the American Horse Council’s (AHC) annual meeting and issues forum in Washington D.C. the AHC Board of Trustees reaffirmed AHC support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act). The PAST Act would strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses
“The AHC annual meeting brings together leaders from all segments of the horse industry and every major horse organization and allows them to discuss the issues they believe are most important to the industry,” said Julie Broadway, President of the AHC. “Soring is without a doubt painful for the horses subjected to this practice and even though it is limited to a small segment of the walking horse industry it damages the image of the entire horse industry. There is no question that ending soring is a priority for the horse industry and the AHC is committed to passing the PAST Act.”
Soring is an abusive practice that continues to be used by some horse trainers in the performance or “big lick” segment of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, stacks, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse’s forelegs to produce an accentuated show gait for competition. At the 2015 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration alone U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors identified 226 violations of the HPA.
No other breeds or disciplines’ have a history of soring, have a reason to sore their horses to accentuate their gait, or have been cited for HPA violations. In fact, since other breeds show at various gaits soring would be counterproductive and harm their ability to successfully compete.
The PAST Act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse, the three breeds with a history of soring, from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with stacks, action devices or chains. These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds that do not have a history of soring. The bill would also increase penalties for HPA violations and eliminate the current ineffective designated qualified persons (DQPs) program. A full description of the bill can be found here.
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