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Hawai‘i Reps Help Pass Soring Bill

August 25, 2019, 12:28 PM HST
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US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

The US House of Representatives recently passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693. US Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Ed Case co-sponsored the bill.

The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking and Spotted Saddle Horses, according to a press release from the Animal Wellness Foundation.

Soring is the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene, or inserting sharp objects into the horses’ hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the Big Lick. It’s been prevalent in the equine world for 60 years.

“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), lead sponsor of the PAST Act. “We gave folks a chance to self-police, but the abusive behaviors continued. The bill that was passed today will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties and banning incentives to sore horses. This is a historic day. I am grateful for my colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this legislation across the finish line and for the beautiful horses that we love so much.”

US Senator Mazie Hirono is also a co-sponsor of the Senate companion bill, S. 1007, that mirrors the House legislation.

US Rep. Ed Case

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The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses’ hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the “Big Lick,” has plagued the equine world for six decades.

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The PAST Act would ban the use of large stacked shoes and ankle chains, and would also eliminate the existing system of self-regulation by the industry and toughen penalties for violators of the Horse Protection Act. It’s supported by Animal Wellness Action, the American Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the United States Equestrian Federation, the National Sheriff’s Association and the Hawai‘i Veterinary Medical Association.

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