The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) advocates for animals through legislation, publication and litigation. We strive to develop better public policies for animals and advance humane alternatives in veterinary education.

Advocacy

Advocacy

One of the pillars of HSVMA is our focus on animal advocacy. We strive to develop better public policies for animals and advance humane alternatives in veterinary education.

Get involved—become an advocate for animals now.

MOST RECENT HSVMA ADVOCACY ALERT:

URGE CONGRESS TO SWIFTLY PASS THE PAST ACT
Veterinary Support Needed NOW to End the Cruel Practice of Horse Soring


Legislation known as the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act (H.R. 1847/S. 2957) has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Ted Yoho and Kurt Schrader, two veterinarians serving in Congress, and in the Senate by Senators Mike Crapo and Mark Warner.  We need the help of the veterinary profession to pass this bill into law.

Horse soring is the process of intentionally inflicting pain on the lower limbs of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses for the purpose of creating an exaggerated, artificial gait known as the "Big Lick."

Soring is accomplished by the use of inhumane chemical and physical methods:

  • The chemical method includes applying caustic substances to the horse's lower leg, then wrapping it in plastic for several days, resulting in severe inflammation. Chains or other "action devices" are then strapped to the inflamed leg to exacerbate the pain as these objects strike the painful areas with each step taken by the horse.
  • The physical method includes grinding or trimming of the hoof and/or sole to expose sensitive tissues, then nailing on a pad with objects inserted between the pad and the sole to place pressure on this sensitive area of the hoof. In addition, the horse is made to wear tall and heavy platform shoes held on with over-tightened metal hoof bands that are applied to cause excessive pressure, resulting in pain when the horse's hoof strikes the ground.

Congress passed the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970 to eliminate this abuse, but weak regulations and a failed system of industry self-policing have undermined the law's effectiveness.  Unfortunately, soring is still rampant after 48 years. The number of violations cited by industry inspectors is a small fraction of those found when USDA veterinarians are present. And currently, USDA veterinarians inspect at only 10 percent of shows due to a lack of resources.

Although the PAST Act has overwhelming bipartisan support with more than 280 House cosponsors and 30 in the Senate, Congress has thus far failed to vote on this important protection for horses since it was first introduced in 2013.

. As veterinary professionals and leaders in the field of animal health and welfare, we should applaud and encourage this effort to stop the abuse of horses. 

HSVMA is part of a broad coalition of groups endorsing the PAST Act to end the cruel practice of horse soring.  In addition to HSVMA, this legislation has been endorsed by all 50 state veterinary medical associations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Horse Council, many other horse industry professionals and groups, and all major animal protection organizations.

How You Can Help Horses NOW

Please call and/or email your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative today, urging them to support this important animal protection legislation!

You can say:

"My name is <your name> and I'm a voting constituent in <your state> and a veterinary professional. I urge you to cosponsor the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 2957/H.R. 1847), to end the cruel practice of horse soring.
If you’re already cosponsoring the PAST Act, I really appreciate your support. Please do all you can to get it enacted quickly! Thank you."

Thank you for your time and for adding your support to finally relegate the cruel practice of horse soring to the history books. Please contact us  if you have any questions.

 
Advocacy

HSVMA Invites You to Participate in Our Strategic Planning Initiative

Please Complete the Survey by Dec. 7th

Due to your involvement in veterinary medicine and animal welfare, we value your input. As a veterinary medical professional, HSVMA would appreciate your participation in our strategic planning initiative that will help define HSVMA’s goals and priorities for the next five years. 

HSVMA is celebrating 10 years of veterinary leadership in animal welfare. Your feedback on this survey will help shape HSVMA’s leadership role moving forward.  

Please take 10-15 minutes to complete the online survey by Dec. 7th using the link below. Respondents have the option to select a gift from HSVMA. These include a free download of the HSVMA Wildlife Care Handbook, a free job posting to our Career Center, or free access to a RACE-approved webinar on lower-cost treatment of common medical conditions in cats and dogs.

Take the survey here.

Thanks in advance for your time and participation. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

 
Advocacy

2018 ELECTION VICTORIES FOR THE ANIMALS

We wanted to share the good news that the state ballot measures that HSVMA worked on this election season in conjunction with HSUS and other partners – Prop 12 in California and Amendment 13 in Florida – were both approved by the voters.

The victories are monumental since both measures will have a far-reaching impact on animal welfare that extends beyond state borders. In Florida, Amendment 13, which was approved by 69% of the voters, will phase out commercial greyhound racing in the state by 2020. And since 11 of the remaining 17 US racetracks are in Florida, this victory heralds the inevitable end of this archaic and cruel sport. Meanwhile, Prop 12 in California, which was approved by 61% of the voters, is now the most sweeping farm animal protection law in the nation, making it illegal for factory farming corporations – either in California or those outside the state who are supplying the CA marketplace – to confine egg-laying hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves in cramped cages for their entire lives.

The victory on both fronts is due to an incredible effort on behalf of HSUS and various coalition partners and advocates, including the hundreds of veterinary professionals who joined with HSVMA in supporting both of these measures.The voice of the veterinary profession is so important on issues pertaining to animal health and welfare, and the veterinary involvement in both of these campaigns was critical.

Read more about these election victories in the Humane Nation blog written by HSUS Acting President and CEO Kitty Block.

 

 
Advocacy

Veterinarian from Ghana Completes Mandela Fellowship with HSVMA

By Dr. Joannishka K. Dsani

I was placed as an intern with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) through the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship and it has been a life-changing experience. The Fellowship is a U.S. government funded flagship program by the Young Africans Leadership Network (YALI) which was started by President Barack Obama. It seeks to empower exceptional young African leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 through academic coursework, leadership training and networking. In 2018, 700 fellows from 48 African countries participated in the fellowship of which I was the only veterinarian and one of 33 from Ghana. The U.S.-based aspect of the fellowship consists of a six week academic coursework at selected U.S. universities in one of three tracks; public management, civic leadership or business and entrepreneurship, a three-day summit in Washington D.C and a six week professional development experience for only 100 selected fellows. My fellowship took place at the University of California Davis and I was one of the 100 selected to continue with a Professional Development Experience (PDE) of which I was placed with HSVMA under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Rowan.

My PDE kicked off on August 6th 2018 with intensive knowledge building in the field of animal protection in North America, orienting myself with the Humane Society’s work and some strategic advocacy training courses. I was tasked to work on a proposal for a pilot spay and neuter project to be implemented in Ghana in the future, a project the likes of which had never been undertaken in Ghana and Dr. Rowan was instrumental in connecting me to all the resources I needed. I spent the next five weeks carrying out extensive research into animal protection in Africa, analyzing animal welfare policies by the African Union, researching dog sterilization programs and conducting informational interviews with Humane Society International teams that had implemented such programs.

Throughout the duration of my PDE, I engaged in discussions and informational interviews with many teams and staff members with HSVMA, Humane Society International, and various HSUS departments including the Animal Protection Litigation section, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the social media teams, Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) and others. All these departments actively facilitated more networking opportunities for me.

I run the only companion animal rescue in Ghana so it was a privilege to also visit organizations like the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, DC, where I got to learn U.S. best practices and see real shelters/rescues in action and also cuddle with some of the cutest furry babies ever!

I was honored to meet with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and visit other organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where I made various presentations about my work back home and also gained a lot of insight into their work.  A highlight of my PDE was an opportunity to be a guest lecturer at the George Washington University Graduate Law School. All of these were made possible through the amazing people I met with HSVMA and the Humane Society of the United States (some acquaintances I made in the kitchen when getting a coffee!)

It was a privilege interning with the Humane Society and I am excited for what the future holds! I would like to thank everyone who made my experience an incredible one especially Dr. Rowan who did not hesitate to help me professionally in any way he deemed possible. I am leaving the USA with an expanded deeper knowledge on animal welfare issues. I am more equipped with resources and a renewed passion to face the animal welfare issues I encounter back home. Most importantly I no longer feel like I am on an island surrounded with water because the HSVMA and the Humane Society of the United States have given me a strong network of support on the African continent, around the world and back here in the USA.

Thank you HSVMA, Thank you Mandela Washington Fellowship for this experience!

 
Advocacy
URGE CONGRESS TO SWIFTLY PASS THE PAST ACT
Veterinary Support Needed NOW to End the Cruel Practice of Horse Soring


(September 2018) - Legislation known as the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act (H.R. 1847/S. 2957) has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Ted Yoho and Kurt Schrader, two veterinarians serving in Congress, and in the Senate by Senators Mike Crapo and Mark Warner.  We need the help of the veterinary profession to pass this bill into law.

Horse soring is the process of intentionally inflicting pain on the lower limbs of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses for the purpose of creating an exaggerated, artificial gait known as the "Big Lick."

Soring is accomplished by the use of inhumane chemical and physical methods:

  • The chemical method includes applying caustic substances to the horse's lower leg, then wrapping it in plastic for several days, resulting in severe inflammation. Chains or other "action devices" are then strapped to the inflamed leg to exacerbate the pain as these objects strike the painful areas with each step taken by the horse.
  • The physical method includes grinding or trimming of the hoof and/or sole to expose sensitive tissues, then nailing on a pad with objects inserted between the pad and the sole to place pressure on this sensitive area of the hoof. In addition, the horse is made to wear tall and heavy platform shoes held on with over-tightened metal hoof bands that are applied to cause excessive pressure, resulting in pain when the horse's hoof strikes the ground.

Congress passed the Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970 to eliminate this abuse, but weak regulations and a failed system of industry self-policing have undermined the law's effectiveness.  Unfortunately, soring is still rampant after 48 years. The number of violations cited by industry inspectors is a small fraction of those found when USDA veterinarians are present. And currently, USDA veterinarians inspect at only 10 percent of shows due to a lack of resources.

Although the PAST Act has overwhelming bipartisan support with more than 280 House cosponsors and 30 in the Senate, Congress has thus far failed to vote on this important protection for horses since it was first introduced in 2013.

As veterinary professionals and leaders in the field of animal health and welfare, we should applaud and encourage this effort to stop the abuse of horses. 

HSVMA is part of a broad coalition of groups endorsing the PAST Act to end the cruel practice of horse soring.  In addition to HSVMA, this legislation has been endorsed by all 50 state veterinary medical associations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Horse Council, many other horse industry professionals and groups, and all major animal protection organizations.

How You Can Help:

Please call and/or email your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative today, urging them to support this important animal protection legislation! You can look up your Representative’s and two Senators’ contact information here.

You can say:

"My name is <your name> and I'm a voting constituent in <your state> and a veterinary professional. I urge you to cosponsor the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 2957/H.R. 1847), to end the cruel practice of horse soring.
If you’re already cosponsoring the PAST Act, I really appreciate your support. Please do all you can to get it enacted quickly! Thank you."

Thank you for your time and for adding your support to finally relegate the cruel practice of horse soring to the history books. Please contact us if you have any questions.

 
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