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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sore No More? AVMA, AAEP Call for Congress to Pass Proposed Amendment to the Horse Protection Act and End "Soring" of Tennessee Walking Horse

News Via AAEP press release

Today the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) issued a joint statement of support for the "Amendments to the Horse Protection Act", as outlined in H.R. 6388 currently in review in the US House of Representatives.

A press release issued on November 20 combined statements from the AVMA and AAEP.

“Soring is an unconscionable abuse of horses that is used to produce a high-stepping gait—the “Big Lick”—and gain an unfair competitive advantage in the show ring," said Dr. Doug Aspros, AVMA President. For decades we’ve watched irresponsible individuals become more creative about finding ways to sore horses and circumvent the inspection process, and have lost faith in an industry that seems unwilling and/or unable to police itself.

"The AVMA and AAEP are committed to strengthening the USDA’s ability to enforce the Horse Protection Act and ending this abuse for good. We strongly encourage everyone who cares about the welfare of horses to contact their member of Congress and urge them to pass H.R. 6388,” .

Specifically, H.R. 6388 would make the following changes to the existing Horse Protection Act:

  • Makes the actual act of soring, or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore, illegal;
  • Requires the USDA (rather than the industry) to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors enforcing the Horse Protection Act;
  • Prohibits the use of action devices (e.g., boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse) on any limb of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle horses, or Racking horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions and bans weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands, or other devices that are not used for protective or therapeutic purposes;
  • Increases civil and criminal penalties for violations, and creates a penalty structure that requires horses to be disqualified for increasing periods of time based on the number of violations; and
  • Allows for permanent disqualification from the show ring after three or more violations.
"The passage of H.R. 6388 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and significantly increase the effort to end the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horse," said AAEP President Dr. John Mitchell. "The AAEP encourages all veterinarians to contact their legislators to voice support for the bill and help end the cruel soring of these beautiful animals."

For more information on the AVMA and AAEP’s efforts to stop this egregious abuse of horses, visit our Soring Resource Page. Materials include a video, factsheet, backgrounder, reporting procedures, AAEP’s white paper, and the AVMA’s and AAEP’s official position on the issue.

To learn more:

The amendment bill was introduced to Congress on September 13, 2012. Read The Hoof Blog's coverage of the press conference to stiffen enforcement of the Horse Protection Act by banning action devices and padded shoes.

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