Tennessee Walking Horse inspected by USDA at National Celebration. Image by John Partipilo/The Tennessean.

Whitfield, Cohen introduce bill to strengthen laws against horse soring

Tennessee Walking Horse inspected by USDA at National Celebration. Image by John Partipilo/The Tennessean.
Photo Credit: JOHN PARTIPILO / The Tennessean
Trainer Winky Groover watches as a USDA inspector looks over his horses at the Celebration in Shelbyville. Look at the stacks this horse is wearing (circled). Regardless of the rules regarding soring, how can anyone look at this and not see how abusive it is to expect a horse to move at a fast walk lifting his legs almost to the chest shod in this manner.

PAUL C. BARTON, writing for The Tennessean Washington Bureau reports:

    Two House members introduced legislation Thursday to strengthen laws against soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, but supporters warned that the bill would not be easy to pass.

    Whitfield and Cohen [U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-KY, and Steve Cohen, D-TN] announced the bill at a Capitol Hill news conference where they also showed an undercover video aired by ABC News’ “Nightline” that showed horses wrenching in pain because of soring techniques employed by trainers.

The new laws would not cost the federal government anything to enforce. “Funding for the increase in inspectors would come from giving the department [USDA] a share of the entrance fees that horse owners pay at shows,” states Barton in his article.

Former Democratic Sen. Joseph Tydings of Maryland, responsible for the passage of the anti-horse soring law in 1970 tells Barton, “The walking horse industry is already lining up powerful lobbyists to defeat the Whitfield-Cohen bill.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told the paper that “The walking horse industry should step up its self-policing so that a few bad actors don’t destroy one of our state’s most treasured traditions.”

Come on.

While we appreciate some of the sentiments expressed by Sen. Alexander, we are tired of this idea that there are a “few bad actors” carrying out the atrocities connected to horse soring. Even without inspections, photographs and video recordings taken by press and fans alike show horses are being sored.

Why? Simple.

Any horse who performs with an exceedingly high-stepping gait with knees coming all the way up to the chest has been sored or intentionally inflicted with pain on the feet and/or forelegs or they would not move in this freakish manner.

Notice the movement of the back legs too, and disposition of the haunches in this video. You will see this is not just happening in Tennessee.

What a horror for these horses.

As with bull-fighting and bear-baiting, the National Celebration and events like it should be banned outright. Spot inspections show that even flat shod horses are being sored.

Nevertheless, we support the Whitfield-Cohen bill. It will be interesting to see, if enacted into law, what impact it will have on this “traditional treasure” of horse cruelty.

5 thoughts on “Whitfield, Cohen introduce bill to strengthen laws against horse soring”

  1. why is it they are concerned about these horses but they let the blm get rid of the wild mustangs. or for that matter any horse that is sent to slaughter and why are the AMERICAN people paying for usda inspectors for horse meat being sent over seas. if they want to eat someones pet let them pay for the inspections


  2. Stiffer laws is needed along with jail terms for the crooks caught doing it. From what I have read about it can also damage a horses spine being forced to walk in such unnatural manner.


  3. Greed is powerful; it rules some people, but always does it come back to haunt them……………………… Its a shame the innocent are made to suffer from their greed………..Stiffer enforced Laws is the answer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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