The HSUS and HSVMA Join Veterinary Groups’ Call for Increased Protections for Tennessee Walking Horsess
Thursday, June 14, 2012 06:19 PM

“We applaud the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners for taking a firm stance against these unnatural devices that are used as part of the abusive and illegal practice of soring to inflict pain on horses – all for the sake of a blue ribbon,” said Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer for The HSUS. “Congress should pass legislation to ban these devices, bringing us one step closer to eradicating this cruelty for good.”

“The inhumane practice of soring has been going unpunished for far too long,” said HSVMA veterinarian Susan Krebsbach, D.V.M. “We join our veterinary colleagues and equine advocates nationwide in calling for an enforceable ban on these cruel devices.”

The most common form of soring is performed by applying caustic chemicals to the pasterns (ankles) of show horses, making the area extremely sensitive so the horse lifts his front legs high off the ground in reaction to the pain. Performance packages, known as “stacks,” are nailed to the horse’s hoof to add weight and height – forcing the horse to lift his feet higher and strike the ground harder, at an abnormal angle. The stacks are also often used to conceal sharp or hard objects that have been inserted into the soft tissue of the horses’ hooves to increase pain and obtain the desired gait.

There is abundant evidence that soring is still practiced among the top ranks in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture took a much-needed step to strengthen Horse Protection Act enforcement by finalizing a rule requiring agency-certified horse industry organizations to impose uniform mandatory minimum penalties on violators of the act. To fully protect horses as Congress originally intended, legislation is needed to outlaw action devices and performance packages, increase civil and criminal penalties, and eliminate industry self-regulation.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, [email protected]