Support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) Needed Now

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The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) (S.1406/H.R. 1518), which would strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses and Racking Horses, has continued to gain support in Congress. However, members of the horse community need to take action if we hope to push this important bill over the finish line.

The PAST act has been approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and currently has 57 co-sponsors in the Senate. It has 300 co-sponsors in the House. It is one of the most widely supported bills in Congress, but neither the full House nor Senate has held a vote on the bill.

The American Horse Council urges members of the horse community to call or email their Senators and Representative to voice their support for the PAST Act and urge Congress to take action on this important legislation.

Soring is an abusive practice used by some trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse and Racking Horse industry. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse's forelegs and produce a very accentuated show gait for competition. Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over 40 years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the Walking Horse industry.

The PAST act would strengthen the HPA and end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. The legislation is narrow and focused only on the issue of soring and those breeds that have a history of soring. Details of the legislation can be found here.

Most major national horse show organizations support the PAST Act, including the American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Morgan Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club, the Arabian Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the United States Equestrian Federation, the United Professional Horsemen's Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and many state and local horse organizations.

Call or email your Senators and Representative today and tell them:

  • You are a member of the horse industry in their state.
  • You support the PAST Act (S.1406/H.R. 1518).
  • The PAST act has wide bi-partisan support with 300 co-sponsors in the House and 57 co-sponsors in the Senate and is supported by most major national horse show organizations and many state and local horse organizations.
  • Ask them to take action on this legislation and bring the PAST Act to a vote.
  • Or use the sample email below that you can personalize.

Email and contact information for your Representatives and Senators can be found at http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/.

If your Senators or Representatives are co-sponsors of the bill, found here, please thank them for their support of PAST and ask them to bring the bill to a vote.

If you have any questions please contact the AHC.

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear (Senator or Representative):

I am writing to express my support for the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) (S.1406/H.R. 1518) and to urge you to bring this bill to a vote. The PAST Act would strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and prevent the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses.

The PAST Act has wide bi-partisan support with 300 co-sponsors in the House and 57 co-sponsors in the Senate. It is supported by almost all major national horse show organizations and many state and local horse organizations. It has also been approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is one of the most widely supported bills in Congress.

Soring is an abusive practice used by some trainers in the “performance” or “big lick” segments of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse’s forelegs and produce a very accentuated show gait for competition. Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over forty years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the Walking Horse industry.

The PAST act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material” if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic. These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds that do not have a history of soring.

The legislation would also increase fines and penalties for violations, including the potential for a lifetime ban for repeat offenders.

The bill would create a new licensing process for horse show inspectors, eliminating the current ineffective designated qualified persons (DQPs) program. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to train, license and appoint new independent inspectors for shows and other HPA-regulated activities that wish to hire an inspector. Licensed or accredited veterinarians would be given preference for these positions. The decision to hire and cost of an inspector would still reside with the management of a show, sale or auction.

Ending soring is important for the welfare of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. It is also important for the economic health of the horse industry because, while soring happens only in a small segment of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry, such abuse damages the image of the entire horse industry.

The Following major national horse show organizations all support the PAST Act:

The American Horse Council

The American Quarter Horse Association

The American Association of Equine Practitioners

The American Paint Horse Association

The U.S. Equestrian Federation

The American Morgan Horse Association

The Pinto Horse Association of America

The Arabian Horse Association

The American Saddlebred Horse Association

The United Professional Horsemen’s Association

The Appaloosa Horse Club

Many state and local horse organizations also support the bill.

Now is the time for Congress to take action on the PAST Act. I urge you to support bringing this bill to a vote as soon as possible and vote for it. Thank you for your time and attention to this request.

Sincerely,