Rep. Schrader's Bipartisan Bill to Stop Horse Soring Passes the House
Today, the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693 passed out of the United States House of Representatives. It was introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) both veterinarians and co-chairs of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and had 307 cosponsors.
Soring is the practice of intentionally injuring the hooves and legs of Tennessee Walking Horses to exaggerate the leg motion of these high gaited animals. It is most commonly done to Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds. Common examples of soring include applying caustic chemicals to a horse's lower leg, trimming their hooves, or applying metal "action devices," such as heavy chains and weighted shoes, that cause pain to the horse's hooves.
"Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice," said Rep. Schrader (D-OR). We gave folks a chance to self-police, but the abusive behaviors continued. The bill that was passed today will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. This is a historic day and I am grateful for my colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this legislation across the finish line and for the beautiful horses that we love so much."
"As a veterinarian and lover of animals, it is time we end the inhumane practice of horse soring. I want to thank House Leadership for bringing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act up for a vote today and my colleague and fellow veterinarian Rep. Kurt Schrader for championing this bill with me over the years," Rep. Yoho said. "The walking horse industry had plenty of time to self-police and change their ways, but they decided to press on. They have failed to take advantage of this opportunity and now it is time for horse soring to end.
"Horse soring is a cruel practice that I have fought for years to end," said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). "I am proud to see the passage of this legislation that will ensure horses are no longer subject to this abuse while granting the USDA heightened control over investigations and enforce harsher penalties on those who violate this Act."
"As a cosponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, I am pleased to see this bill have overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. House," said Rep. Ron Estes (R-FL). This overdue legislation will protect horses from the abusive and harmful practice of soring by improving enforcement, increasing penalties and banning incentives to continue horse soring. It's past time the PAST Act becomes law."
"The Tydings Family is thankful for the bipartisan passage of the Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act in the US House of Representatives," said Mary Tydings Smith, oldest child of the late Senator Joseph Tydings. "It represents a goal long pursued by our late father. We appreciate the effort of so many to make this happen. Dad would be very pleased."
"Today's vote for the PAST Act is a historic victory for horses, veterinarians and everyone who cares about animal welfare," said AVMA President Dr. John de Jong. "AVMA has worked for many years to end the cruel and inhumane practice of horse soring, and now we're one step closer to finally winning this protection for horses. We're thankful to Representatives Kurt Schrader and Ted Yoho, and all of the lawmakers who have worked tirelessly to advance this groundbreaking legislation."
"We applaud the House for overwhelmingly passing the PAST Act to end the scourge of soring that's marred our iconic American horses for sixty years, and are grateful for the leadership of Reps. Kurt Schrader and Ted Yoho," said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association. "This vote sends a strong message to abusers that obstructionist tactics to keep soring alive will not prevail. Once soring ends, the Tennessee Walking Horse can take its rightful place as America's horse -- the horse that Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, John Wayne, and Elvis Presley once proudly rode -- no longer America's dirty little secret."
The PAST Act was introduced six years ago, but a few influential lawmakers blocked floor votes on the measure despite overwhelming support in both chambers. The sponsors of the bill named this year's version after the late U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings (D-MD), who authored the Horse Protection Act of 1970 and worked for 48 years to close its loopholes. Tydings passed away last fall.
This legislation was endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the National Sheriff's Association, the Kentucky-based United States Equestrian Foundation, the All American Walking Horse Alliance, Animal Wellness Action, the Humane Society of the United States, veterinary medical associations from all 50 states, and more.