Congress Urged to Act on Anti-Horse Soring Legislation in Early 2016
News
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 11:49 AM

Competing bills, backed by the Big Lick segment of the Tennessee Walking horse industry have been introduced by Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-4th/Tenn., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and between them have only 11 cosponsors. Their bills offer the guise of reform but would actually allow abusive trainers in the “Big Lick” sector of the walking horse industry to continue soring horses with chemicals and pain-inducing devices and would further weaken current enforcement efforts by handing off power to the perpetrators.

Keith Dane, vice president of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Only the PAST Act can bring about the changes needed to finally break the cycle of abuse that is endemic to the Big Lick industry and restore the integrity and reputation of one of America’s great horse breeds. We call on the leadership of the House and Senate to heed the will of the vast array of endorsers and the American people and bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”

The PAST Act is backed not only by The HSUS and other animal welfare groups, but also by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, American Horse Council, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriffs’ Association and hundreds of other groups. All reputable horse industry groups that have taken a stand on the issue have endorsed the PAST Act.

The HSUS’ undercover investigations years apart at two top Big Lick training barns revealed systemic abuse and highlight the urgent need for the PAST Act, despite the industry’s continued claims that it has cleaned up. Several of the horses victimized during the 2015 investigation at ThorSport Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, were allowed by the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration to compete at the championship show, and they won high awards. One such victim, the 2015 Reserve World Grand Champion He’s Vida Blue, died recently of colic—a condition often triggered by the pain and stress of soring.

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Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org