THE PAST ACT
Paul C. Barton of the Tennesseean’s Washington Bureau reports:
- WASHINGTON – The number of House co-sponsors for a bill to better protect walking horses from soring has reached 300 as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, the two lead sponsors of identical Senate legislation called for leaders in that chamber to allow a floor vote.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act has passed the Senate Commerce Committee but remains bottled up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where a PAST Act opponent, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, is vice-chair.
Of the House bill’s 300 co-sponsors, 114 are Republicans and 186 are Democrats. The lead House sponsor is Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield, and the last to sign on was Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat.
There are 57 Senate co-sponsors.
“This critical legislation has more bipartisan support than nearly any other bill in Congress. We strongly urge House leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and pass the PAST Act,” Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement.
“The abuse of Tennessee walking horses has gone on long enough, and so has Congress’ delay in acting on this bill.”
Pat Raia of The Horse.com writes:
- Weeks after the Regions Bank withdrew its sponsorship of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, event management has announced that another financial institution, along with the Tennessee Walking Horse breed registry will become the sponsors for the high profile exhibition.
Last month, Jeremy D. King, vice president of corporate communications for Regions Financial Corporation, said Regions Bank had withdrawn its celebration—a high-profile exhibition event which takes place each August in Shelbyville, Tennessee—sponsorship for corporate business reasons. The withdrawal was the second since 2012 when PepsiCo withdrew its celebration sponsorship following an ABC News report on soring.
At the time of the Regions announcement, Michael Inman, chief executive officer of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, said that the bank’s withdrawal “opens the opportunity for another financial institution to step in.”
On July 10, Celebration spokesman Rob Hoskins said the event would partner with the First Community Bank of Bedford County. Under that partnership, the bank will become the event’s premier sponsor and the first Saturday night of the 2014 celebration will be designated First Community Bank of Bedford County Night.
Teresa Bippen, president of Friends of Sound Horses, was surprised by the bank’s corporate sponsorship.
“It is amazing that any company would financially support a horse show that has been subject to harsh criticism and worldwide scrutiny for soring abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses,” she said.
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) will also be an event sponsor, Hoskins said. In addition to its sponsorship, TWHBEA will host its National Futurity Championships on the celebration grounds.
Horse soring is the practice of inflicting pain to legs and hooves so excruciating that a horse snatches his legs up in an exaggerated, high-stepping gait prized in competitions such as the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
The 76th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® takes place this year August 20 – August 30 in Shelbyville, Tennessee where the breed’s World Grand Champion is crowned.