AVMA: USDA video reveals that soring still a problem for walking horses

“USDA video reveals that soring still a problem for walking horses” says the headline of an AVMA Press Release. Whatever the video reveals, we are not able to see it.

The links in the AVMA press (see below) are dead. The links are dead because the video was removed by user — the AVMA in this case, at the request of the USDA. We left the dead links in the press release.

In the meantime, HorseTalk NZ reports:

The AVMA posted the video on its YouTube channel on Friday, then later took the video off-line.

The Tennessean reported that an AVMA media contact had confirmed that the USDA had allowed the AVMA to put up the video.

“After it went up, they requested we take it down.”


PHOTO: YOUTUBE Video removed by user.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Aug. 30, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has released U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA) video footage of their veterinarians inspecting a horse to determine if it has been subject to the abusive practice known as soring at a recent walking horse event.

Soring, illegal for more than 40 years in this country, is the harmful act of intentionally inflicting pain on Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited breeds through the use of chemical and physical means, such as hard acrylic wedged in between a horse’s shoe pads and sole, the application irritants like kerosene or cinnamon oil, or overly tight metal hoof bands. The extreme pain caused by these caustic agents and/or physical devices induces the horse to lift its legs faster and higher, increasing its chance of winning in competitions.

The video, shot earlier this month, shows USDA inspectors testing for and apparently finding evidence of soring.

Recently, the AVMA praised Congress for introducing legislation, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406), which gives the USDA greater authority to enforce regulations and penalize those involved in the inhumane act of soring.

“This USDA video underscores the concern that the cruel and illegal practice of soring is still a big problem in the walking horse industry. This is why the AVMA fully supports passage of the PAST Act,” says Dr. Ron DeHaven, CEO of the AVMA. “Despite the fact that soring has been illegal for more than 40 years under the Horse Protection Act, we are still seeing these inhumane practices inflicted on the nation’s walking horses. This new USDA video footage illustrates the need for the PAST Act to strengthen the USDA’s ability to prevent soring and the resulting suffering of the horses who are victims of this practice.”

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association


Horse Soring
Horse Soring. Google image.

Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel, and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.

A particularly egregious form of soring, known as pressure shoeing, involves cutting a horse’s hoof almost to the quick and tightly nailing on a shoe, or standing a horse for hours with the sensitive part of his soles on a block or other raised object. This causes excruciating pressure and pain whenever the horse puts weight on the hoof.

Soring has been a common and widespread practice in the Tennessee walking horse show industry for decades. Today, judges continue to reward the artificial “Big Lick” gait, thus encouraging participants to sore their horses and allowing the cruel practice to persist.

9 thoughts on “AVMA: USDA video reveals that soring still a problem for walking horses”

  1. The reason these violaters are able to get away with soring and other inhumane practices is factually because the Secretary of the Interior has lost all control over the agency’s under her supervision as well as Tom Vilseck and his gang of thugs (USDA) doing what they please, bending under outside influences and violating laws passed by the Senate and the Congress. I fear for all of our animals in this Country. We have an administration that is out of control and absolutely no leadership from the top to the bottom.


    1. Thank you Frank. We understand your frustration. There is reason to take heart.

      There are good legislators in Washington, and good people working for the federal agencies. However, they are often not in the power positions, because they are not willing to be used by corporate lobbying and payoffs. It is so very important to know who represents you, find out what actions they take, and support the good ones, encourage them, and let them know your thoughts.

      How many times have we heard when lobbying from the good ones that they want to do what is right, and what their constituents feel is important, but they haven’t received many calls, letters, faxes or messages on social media. This is our fault if we are not taking a stand and letting someone else do it for us. That isn’t going to work. Those in power need to hear from you, and by the thousands. This supports what we are doing. It is so much better when we walk in and legislative offices tell us, we are so glad you are here. We have received hundreds of letters and want to know how we can help.

      Don’t let “slacktivism” destroy the hopes of our horses. They depend on us.

      What is slacktivism? (and I am not implying anyone here is like this). But this is a big issue right now.

      Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism or slackervism) is a portmanteau of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.

      Slacktivist activities include signing Internet petitions, joining a community organization without contributing to the organization’s efforts, copying and pasting of social network statuses or messages or altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services.

      From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacktivism

      Sorry for the ultra long comment!


      1. Hello Vivian,
        I can appreciate your remarks however the President is lacking in leadership and that fact trickles down. Sally Jewell has lost control over the Departments under her jurisdiction. Proof of that is obvious. Our issues in all areas of our horses, domestic and wild, is continually pushed down the list of priorities and, as this happens, more horses are sent to slaughter. The issue now is to bomb or not to bomb a Country we have no interests in. The Fish and Game now taking the lead in destroying our wild horses have had the torch, so to speak, passed to them by the BLM who is supposed to by managing the Wild Horse Herds. Now this soring business which has laws to prevent this inhumane action. So, who is supposed to enforce this law. A law is useless unless the agency appointed to enforce that law is incompetent to do so. It is not just the lobbyist against us, it is the inept agency’s who are supposed to enforce the law. As I stated Vivian, our leadership is lacking control. I also take offense for the descriptions implying I am a slacktivist. I work as a volunteer and supporter of two Horse Sanctuary’s and donate what I can our of my Social Security check that I live on. I have been an animal activist for most of my life, am not a physically strong man, 77 years, survivor of Cancer three times (neck, throat and prostrate) and now supproting my wife who has just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 62. I am by no means a slacktivist. DAILY I write letters, make phone calls and follow up with appointments with State Legislatures as well as Congress Members in my district. I am doing what I am able to do. Yes, I am angry about what is going on in my Country and very disturbed at the direction we are headed in. I have been fighting this since High School, seriously, since I was 15 years old. My Step Dad was a in State Politics as well as a Quarter Horse Owner. I was raised with horses, dogs and cats. I deeply love these animals and consider them a friend, true friend of humans. Hope my reply hasn’t offended you as you are someone I admire and appreciate your “Tuesdays Horse.”


        1. I am sorry you took all that time defending yourself for absolutely no reason.

          Here is what I said:
          What is slacktivism? (and I am not implying anyone here is like this). But this is a big issue right now. [emphasis added]


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