A bid to prohibit the use of action devices, pad stacks and wedges when showing Tennessee Walking Horses will not be part of the Farm Bill.
The House Rules Committee declined to include amendment 90 to H.R. 2: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 — better known as the Farm Bill. The amendment was authored by U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).
“The bill was not made in order during the markup, so there will be no vote on it,” Matt Powell, Marino’s senior legislative assistant, told American Farriers Journal.
Mike Inman, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, is thankful that the amendment failed. Yet, he is critical of the tactic employed by the trio of congressmen.
“We were disappointed to see a congressman attempt to attach a rule that President [Donald] Trump had put on hold along with dozens of other ‘midnight rules’ that the outgoing administration had tried to push through,” Inman told American Farriers Journal. “This policy of holding new rulemaking until the new administration’s department heads can review and weigh-in on is exactly what the Obama and Bush administrations had done previously. This attempt to bypass the administration and department heads would set a very dangerous precedent if successful. Fortunately, this scheme did not prove successful as the amendment did not get attached to the House Farm Bill.”
The Marino amendment titled, “Section 11613: Licensing Of Designated Persons Under The Horse Protection Act,” was the final rule enacted by the United States Department of Agriculture on Jan. 13, 2017. The rule was withdrawn for agency review weeks later by the incoming Trump administration.
As it specifically pertains to farriery, the rule prohibits the use of all action devices — except certain boots — and all associated lubricants; as well as all pads and wedges on all Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses. Pads and wedges may be applied as a prescription when the horse is receiving therapeutic, veterinary treatment.
The rule also mandates that a farrier is physically present to assist horse protection inspectors (HPI) at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions “that allow Tennessee Walking Horses or Racking Horses to participate in therapeutic pads and wedges if more than 150 horses are entered.” If 150 or fewer horses are entered, a farrier will be on call.
The rule, and thus the amendment, largely mirrored the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which last was introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who also is a veterinarian. Marino, Cohen and Fitzpatrick all were co-sponsors of that bill.
The Marino amendment instructed the secretary of agriculture to submit the rule for publication into the Federal Register within 60 days of the Farm Bill being passed into law. The rule would have been implemented by the USDA within 1 year of the enactment of the bill. The rule involving pads and wedges, as well as the inspection and detention of horses, would have been enacted within 30 days of the passage of the bill.