The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (H.R. 1518/S. 1406) generated a lot of discussion among the American Horse Council’s advisory committees in June. The bill would not only strengthen regulations against soring—that is, abusing horses to get a high-stepping gait for competition—but would also overhaul the Department of Agriculture’s oversight and enforcement capabilities so that it could better identify and punish bad actors.
The AHC and AVMA participated in the Walk on Washington event to garner support for the legislation a few days before the AHC conference in late June. AHC President Jay Hickey; Dr. Whitney Miller, an assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division; and Dr. Clara Mason, AVMA Animal Welfare Committee representative to the Unwanted Horse Coalition, attended the demonstration by horse owners and supporters.
A Tennessee Walking Horse rider participates in the Walk on Washington event to garner support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. (Courtesy of Victoria Broehm)
Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., who introduced H.R. 1518, spoke about the bill’s impressive support. Hundreds of organizations, including almost every national and state veterinary group and many Tennessee Walking Horse groups, as well as 292 representatives and 56 senators support the legislation. Other congressional representatives spoke, too: former Sen. Joseph Tydings, D-Md., who led the effort to get the original Horse Protection Act passed in 1970; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; and Rep. Steve Cohen D-Tenn.
The bill has not been scheduled for a vote, and the AVMA is asking members to visit its Congressional Advocacy Network page to email their representatives and senators to ask them to pass the bill.