In today’s wildly divided political environment, we have before us a rare opportunity to come together and take action on something I think most of us can agree on: that would be to protect horses from mutilation and the torture These proposed protections are widely supported by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, as well as much of the nation’s equine industry, veterinary and animal welfare communities.
At issue is horse “soring,” a cruel and deliberate practice in which trainers in the Tennessee walking, trotting, and spotted riding horse industry use a variety of chemicals and devices that cause great pain to legs and hooves of animals. Soring is real, has existed forever, and is unspeakably cruel. All in pursuit of a blue ribbon!
Congress passed the Horse Protection Act in 1970 with the goal of ending the pain, but lax regulations and sporadic enforcement by the USDA have allowed the practice to continue. Current regulations allow the conflict industry to be largely policed, with USDA officials reaching only 20% of the events covered by the Act. Devices are still allowed in the show ring that are integral to the soring process: metal chains that crash against the horses’ chemically sore legs and high, heavy platform shoes that force the horse to move with an exaggerated gait and unnatural known as the “big lick”. ” and which hide the intentional damage caused to horses’ hooves.