(this is an abbreviated version of an HSUS press release received March 18, 2008)
The Humane Society of the United States has announced it will offer a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any violator of Tennessee's "horse soring" law, which prohibits the deliberate infliction of pain to horses' feet to produce an artificially high-stepping gait.
Ads announcing the reward will appear throughout middle Tennessee, an area still believed to be a hotbed of soring activity.
The soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and other breeds of gaited show horses is one of the most heinous forms of abuse inflicted upon equines in the U.S. The practice involves the use of caustic chemicals and chains on the legs of the horse, creating severe pain and forcing an exaggerated, high-stepping gait.
Pressure shoeing — another especially egregious form of soring — is the abusive technique of cutting a horse's hoof almost to the bloodline so the shoe puts painful pressure on the horse's sole with each stride. In some instances, foreign objects are placed between the hoof and the shoe to create painful pressure on the sole.
Passage of a federal law (the 1970 Horse Protection Act) has not had the intended effect of eliminating soring. Tennessee also has a state law prohibiting soring, but enforcement of these laws has proven difficult.
Anyone with information on this cruel practice should call 1-866-411-TEAM (8326). The Humane Society of the United States will protect the identity of all callers.
(Editor's note: please read this announcement carefully: this reward apparently only applies to alleged violations within the state of Tennessee)