Last week, Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced a Senate version of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would crack down on horse soring – the deliberate harming of a horse to exaggerate the horse’s leg motion for show purposes. This bill is companion legislation to the PAST Act (H.R. 1847) that was introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)
While soring has technically been illegal since 1976, the practice continues to be pervasive because of inadequate enforcement and loopholes. Specifically, current law allows horse shows to essentially self-police by hiring private inspectors with potential conflicts of interest.
The PAST Act would address this issue by requiring independent, licensed inspectors to examine horses, with preference given to veterinarians for these positions. The bill would also increase penalties for engaging in soring and ban the use of certain devices associated with soring on any Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse or Spotted Saddle Horse at a horse show, horse exhibition, or horse sale or auction.
Examples of soring include applying a caustic substance, like kerosene or croton oil, to a horse’s lower leg and allowing it to sink into the horse’s skin, grinding the sole of the hoof to expose sensitive tissues, or inserting hard objects between the shoe or pad and the sole to cause pain. Each method causes the horse significant pain, for no reason other than to increase its odds in the show ring.
The AVMA has condemned the practice of soring for more than 40 years and is fully in support of the PAST Act. We will continue working with House and Senate lawmakers to secure support for this legislation and end this inhumane practice. If you’re concerned about horse soring, you can use our online tools to send an editable, pre-written letter asking your lawmakers to support the bill.