In 1970, the HPA was passed into federal law in order to eliminate the egregious practice of soring of the Tennessee Walking Horse, a breed of gaited horse, which is causing pain to a horse's limbs either chemically or mechanically to force the horse to step higher in the show ring.
In 1976, the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry offered to take over inspections at horse shows from the USDA. However, this has proven to be "the fox guarding the henhouse." Those who have HPA violations and continue to show sored horses are put in positions so they can also be the inspectors of the horses. This creates a cycle where abusers are allowed into the show ring even if the horse doesn't pass inspection.
Through statistics gathered by the USDA APHIS HPA division, soring is most commonly used on the Performance horse. The horse is forced to wear stacks of plastic known as "packages," which are used to hide soring techniques. The Industry requires that the horses wear chains around his pasterns, or ankles, in the show ring. The chains actually irritate the pasterns in combination with chemical irritants to cause pain and make the horse lift his legs higher as well. The attached video of the undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States can explain this in more detail.
On January 10, 2014, the USDA APHIS hosted a Webinar explaining how for the past six years they have been using thermography to help in their investigations on how prevalent soring truly is. It also exposed soring techniques found via digital radiography. Dr. Turner, DVM, the speaker at the seminar, specifically explained that even without soring, the package is still damaging to the horse.
The PAST Act will become an amendment to the HPA and will eliminate the tools used to sore horses from the show ring, including the packages. It will also eliminate the self-inspection and instead require the USDA to inspect all horse shows, and it will designate more strict penalties against those who sore horses.
In 2005 and 2006, the largest gaited horse show in Arizona discouraged owners, trainers, and exhibitors with known HPA violations to come show in Arizona by eliminating the Performance horse from their venue. They also adopted the policies of horse organizations that have a no-tolerance position concerning soring.
However, we still need your help. Soring is still in practice across the United States, particularly in Tennessee, where this breed is most prevalent. The PAST Act can be passed at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer as the funds are already in place with the USDA APHIS HPA program. It will also help strengthen the integrity of our nation in caring about ending corruption and recognizing that animal abuse is a serious problem.
Please take the time to contact Congressman Ed Whitfield to learn more about the PAST Act. You can also find more information via the Humane Society of the United States. We absolutely need your full support.
We the people of the great State of Arizona are asking for your help in passing an important amendment to the Horse Protection Act (HPA) known as the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, or the PAST Act (Hr 1518 and S 1406).
The PAST Act will strengthen the penalties of violating the HPA, eliminate self policing, and ban the tools used to sore horses from the show ring.
Enforcing the new amendment will be at no cost to the American taxpayer as the funds are already in place to enforce the HPA.
Please help us not only save the horse, but to uphold a federal law that continues to be violated throughout our great country.
The Co-Sponsor the PAST Act - HR 1518/S 1406 petition to Senator John McCain was written by Andrea Ohnstad and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.