A week after congressional efforts to end soring failed, Senators are reviving familiar legislation to amend the Horse Protection Act.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced Senate Bill 2957 — the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2018 on Thursday, May 24, 2018.
“For more than 400 years, horses have been a part of Virginia’s culture,” according to a statement attributed to Warner. “But despite a federal ban, horse soring — an act that deliberately inflicts pain on these animals — continues in some segments of the Walking Horse industry. This bipartisan bill will finally put an end to this cruel and abusive practice.”
The latest PAST Act is similar to previous legislation of the same name, as well as the recent amendment to the House farm bill that failed to pass through the House Rules Committee.
According to Warner’s statement, if the legislation passes into law, it would:
• Eliminate self-policing and require the United States Department of Agriculture to assign a licensed inspector if the show’s management indicates its intent to hire one.
• Ban action devices and pads on “specific horse breeds that have historically been the primary victims of story.”
• Elevate the severity of soring to a felony with a penalty of as much as 3 years incarceration, $5,000 fine per violation and permanent disqualification for three-time violators from horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions.
Text of the current bill is not available at this time.
The bill, which has been introduced in previous years by Warner and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, has been endorsed by a number of organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Horse Council (AHC). The House also has introduced its own version, H.R. 1847 PAST Act. According to Julie Broadway, president of the AHC, the bills are identical.
“The American Horse Council applauds the leadership of Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) for introducing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2018,” according to a statement attributed to Broadway. “Although ‘soring’ — which is the practice of inflicting pain on a horse’s limb to produce an accentuated gait — has declined since Congress enacted the Horse Protection Act in 1970, the PAST Act will build on this progress by modernizing inspection and revising penalties for violations.”
Crapo and Mike Inman, CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, were not available for comment.