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.

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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.