AVMA urges Congress to act on horse abuse

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​The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is asking Congress to pass the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 693), which would help eliminate the cruel and inhumane practice of soring horses. Soring is the act of deliberately causing a horse pain to exaggerate its gait and gain an advantage in horse shows, and it continues to be pervasive in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

"From a veterinary viewpoint, it's indisputable that soring causes horses an unacceptable and unnecessary level of pain," said AVMA President Dr. John de Jong. "Unfortunately, soring practitioners have become experts at hiding evidence and even working with horse show inspectors to avoid detection. The PAST Act would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the resources and enforcement mechanisms necessary to finally end this cruel and inhumane practice."

Soring methods include the long-term application of harsh chemicals to horses' legs, the grinding of horses' soles to expose sensitive tissues, the insertion of hard objects such as nails between horses' shoes or pads and their soles, and the use of chains or other "action devices" that hide and worsen the effects of soring.

Transporting or showing a sored horse has been illegal for decades. However, violations often go undetected because trainers and owners are able to exploit enforcement loopholes or cultivate friendly relationships with inspectors who have direct ties to the walking horse industry.

The PAST Act would ensure that inspectors are independent and licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with preference given to veterinarians, and increase penalties for violation. It would also institute a common-sense ban on action devices.

AVMA is asking Congress to quickly move to pass this critical and bipartisan legislation.

About the AVMA

The AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, speaking for more than 105,000 member veterinarians across the United States who care passionately about protecting animal health, animal welfare and human health. Informed by its members' unique scientific training and knowledge, the AVMA advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and support the crucial work of veterinarians nationwide.