U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) today reintroduced legislation to protect horses from the abusive practice known as soring – in which show horse trainers apply blistering or burning agents, lacerations, sharp objects, or other substances or devices to a horse’s limb to intentionally make each step painful, forcing a horse to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait that is rewarded in show rings.
Sens. Ayotte and Warner originally introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in July 2013 to prevent soring, an inhumane training practice that continues despite being prohibited under federal law.
Joining Senators Ayotte and Warner as cosponsors of this legislation are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and David Vitter (R-LA).
In 2010, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General conducted an audit of the federal Horse Protection Program, which found that show horse trainers often go to great lengths to evade federal law prohibiting soring and requiring them to train horses using humane methods. The USDA Inspector General made several recommendations, including establishing stiffer penalties and abolishing the self-policing practices currently allowed under existing regulations, in which Horse Industry Organizations are able to assign their own inspectors to monitor horse shows.
“Whether riding, racing, hunting or training, horses have been a part of Virginia’s culture for 400 years,” said Sen. Warner. “However, owners and breeders from across the Commonwealth agree that the deliberate act of inflicting pain on horses has no place in modern equestrian competition. Senator Ayotte and I are proud to reintroduce the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to give USDA the tools it needs to crack down on horse soring and end this cruel practice once and for all.”
“Soring is inhumane, and this bipartisan legislation takes an important step toward stopping this abusive training tactic that intentionally inflicts pain on horses,” said Sen. Ayotte. “I will continue to work across the aisle to protect horses from this cruel practice.”
1. S.1121 — A bill to amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act, and for other purposes.
2. Soring bill advocates blame Blackburn, McConnell for lack of action; Tuesday’s Horse
5. Will we ever really get rid of the horrible abuse of horse soring?; Tuesday’s Horse