Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) announces its strong support of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) bill introduced by Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), both of whom are veterinarians. PAST provides stronger measures to fight soring abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. There is widespread, bipartisan support of the Bill in both the House and Senate (S.B. 1121).
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 some show rings.
Soring is such an unconscionable and abusive practice that numerous esteemed organizations and groups endorse the PAST Act such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Horse Council and every state veterinary medical association in the United States.
Such relief cannot arrive too soon for Walking Horses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released results for two recent shows—one of which had a USDA 39% disqualification rate and another had 15%. The results are appalling for an industry that claims soring is a thing of the past.
The percentage of foreign substances abuse is even higher for the Walking Horse industry’s most revered show, the National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, held in August each year. When USDA swabbing results were released several months after the 2014 Celebration, over 52% of horses swabbed tested positive for prohibited 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 test 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.