FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — APR. 22, 2013 — Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) announces its support of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) bill introduced by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) which provides stronger measures to fight the abuse of soring of Tennessee Walking Horses.
Soring of horses is the cruel and deliberate infliction of chemical or mechanical pain upon a horse’s hooves and limbs to create an unnatural, exaggerated, high stepping gait for the show ring. Soring is a major animal welfare issue that has been illegal for over forty years under the federal Horse Protection Act (HPA) yet the practice is still widespread in show rings of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses and Racking Horses.
Such relief cannot arrive too soon for Walking Horses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released swabbing results for 2012 Tennessee Walking Horse shows, and the results are appalling. Of 24 shows swabbed, the overall average for testing positive for foreign substances, including numbing agents, was 65% and some shows were at 100%. Numbing agents are used on a horse’s front legs to ensure they pass inspection when checked by a designated qualified person (DQP) before entering the show ring. The numbing agents wear off by the time the horse is exhibited so they still achieve their pain induced, high-stepping gait.
The percentage of foreign substances abuse is even higher for the Walking Horse industry’s most revered show, the National Celebration in Shelbyville, TN held in August each year. In 2012, the USDA swabbed 190 horses and 145 tested positive (76%) for foreign substances including caustic agents and numbing substances. It is highly possible horses that tested positive went onto win their classes and now hold titles of World Grand Champions on their registration papers. Although swabbing has been ongoing by the USDA for several years, at this time there has been no effort by Celebration management or the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) to remove titles from horses that tested positive for foreign substances.
FOSH is a national leader in the promotion of natural, sound gaited horses and actively fights against abuse and soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. To become a member of FOSH and help in its efforts to fight soring or for more information about FOSH, please visit www.fosh.info.