Animal welfare: Equids

This page provides access to a variety of resources that can help you make a positive difference in the lives of horses.

Featured topic: Soring

When someone deliberately causes pain to exaggerate leg motion in a horse's gait, it's called soring. Soring is most commonly practiced on Tennessee Walking Horses, but some other gaited​ breeds are affected as well.  The AVMA and AAEP have been actively working to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in Congress in prior sessions.  This would include changes that would prohibit the use of performance packages and action devices, abolish the horse show industry’s failed self-policing system, and create a new structure where federal officials are responsible for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.  Despite widespread bipartisan support, the PAST Act has not been approved through a vote. 

In 2016 the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced changes that would strengthen regulations and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.  These changes would effectively mirror the PAST Act's rules.  The USDA announced the final rule on January 13, 2017, one week before President Barack Obama left office.  The rule was scheduled to appear in the Federal Register and become active on January 24th.  Unfortunately, with President Donald Trump's memorandum for all unpublished rules to be withdrawn and sent back to the agencies for review, the soring ban was frozen in place.  Ideally the rule will be published as currently written.  

You can personally take action by contacting the White House and USDA and asking them to allow the final rule to become implemented.   

The PAST Act  (H.R. 1847) was reintroduced in Congress this session on March 30, 2017 by Congressman Ted Yoho, a Florida veterinarian.  The bill was introduced with consponsorship including 208 original House members. 

By pushing forward with a multi-pronged approach, the AVMA hopes that we will be able to achieve necessary change to protect our Nation's Walking Horses.

You can find more detailed information about this equine welfare issue, and the AVMA's and the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) collaborative efforts to end it once and for all, by visiting our webpage on soring.


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