MARY REEVES reporting for the Daily News Journal points out two significant changes to the Horse Protection Act that may actually rid this country of the barbaric practice of horse soring, an abusive practice used to accomplish the abnormal gait called “Big Lick” in competition.
1. The USDA would train, license and screen all horse inspectors.
2. And the USDA would prohibit the use of all action devices, pads and foreign substances that may be used to sore horses.
Reeves describes the meeting at Murfreesboro:
“Representatives from the Department of Agriculture were on hand in Murfreesboro on Tuesday morning to host a forum about proposed regulation changes that would effectively end the Tennessee walking horse performance horse classes.
“It was standing room only in the conference room at the Embassy Suites where the forum was held. Besides the hundreds of people packed into the room, there were dozens more crowded around the doorway, trying to hear the proceedings. There were speakers who supported the proposed amendments to the Horse Protection Act that would ban the use of pads, action devices such as chains, or any foreign substances rubbed on the horses’ legs, and many more speakers who opposed them.
“The latest regulations are another chapter in what has been a long and contentious story, beginning with the advent of the padded performance horse. Trainers began using pads, or weights, between the hoof and the shoe to give the horse an exaggerated version of its natural gait.
“Mustard, chemicals and other foreign substances were rubbed on to do the same. Pins were poked into the tender flesh above the hoof, or BBs placed between the shoe and hoof — all designed to make the horse sore and increase the speed and height of its step, creating the “Big Lick” or “Paddock performance” horse.”
A transcript of the speeches will be available at the USDA APHIS website, as well as a more detailed explanation of the proposed regulations.
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