Tennessee Walking Horses are known for their smooth gait and gentle disposition, and therefore are commonly used in the horse show industry. Other gaited breeds like Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses are also used for the show industry. Unfortunately, this often involves putting them through a terrible process called ‘soring,’ which is the “intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait.”

There are different types of soring, such as chemical, mechanical/physical, and action devices. Chemical soring involves “the application of a caustic chemical to the hair and skin of the horse’s lower leg, then covering the leg with plastic and a leg wrap for several days to allow the chemical to ‘cook’ into the skin.” Mechanical/physical soring involves “trimming the hoof or applying devices that cause the horse’s hooves to be painful and force the horse to pick up its feet faster and higher.”

These soring practices are all extremely painful and completely inhumane. The good news, though, is that The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, also known as The PAST Act (Bill H.R. 693) has just passed The House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate house! The description of the law is:

This bill addresses the practice of soring horses. The soring of horses includes various actions taken on horses’ limbs to produce higher gaits that may cause pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness.

Specifically, the bill expands soring regulation and enforcement at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions, including by establishing a new system for inspecting horses for soring. In addition, the bill increases penalties for violations.

President of the Animal Welfare Institute, Cathy Liss says: “This is a historic moment for horses that have been subjected to this brutal practice in the name of competition.” If this bill also passes the Senate house, this will indeed be a big victory for horses! Support The Past Act by contacting your senators and making your voice heard! You can also sign this petition.

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