(Washington, D.C.) The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to see new, bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate this week that will give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) greater authority to enforce regulations and penalize those involved in the inhumane soring of horses. U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406) as a means to protect horses from the cruel practice of “soring,” which is the intentional infliction of pain in horses through physical or chemical means to create an exaggerated, high-stepping gait for the show ring.
“Soring is one of the greatest equine welfare issues currently affecting horses in this country,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, a veterinarian and director of AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division. “Despite being illegal in shows, sales or exhibits for more than 40 years under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), we are still seeing the irreversible mental and physical effects that this torturous act is having on the nation’s walking horses. It is clear that strengthening regulations against this horrible act through federal legislation is the only way that these horses will have a chance at a better, pain-free life. I commend the U.S. Senate for joining the U.S. House in an effort to end this barbaric practice once and for all.”
“Whether riding, racing, hunting or training, horses have been a part of Virginia’s culture for 400 years,” Sen. Warner said in a press release. “However, owners and breeders from across the Commonwealth agree that the deliberate act of inflicting pain on horses has no place in modern equestrian competition. Senator Ayotte and I are proud to introduce the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, which will give USDA the tools it needs to crack down on horse soring and end this cruel practice once and for all,” said Sen. Warner.
“Horses hold a special place in the hearts of citizens across New Hampshire and the nation,” Sen. Ayotte said in the same press release. “These animals are an iconic part of our national heritage, and they must not be subjected to inhumane training practices that purposefully cause pain. This bipartisan legislation will help stop abusive tactics that deliberately harm horses, and I’m pleased to see that the bill has broad support among animal cruelty prevention organizations,” said Sen. Ayotte.
S. 1406 is companion legislation to H.R. 1518, which U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) introduced in the U.S. House on April 11. H.R. 1518 currently has more than 130 cosponsors and is supported by more than 30 veterinary, equine and animal protection organizations.
For specifics on the Senate PAST Act, see the press release on Sen. Warner’s website. For more information about soring, visit AVMA’s website.