A pair of Senators have reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in the continuing bipartisan bid to end horse soring.
Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, and Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, reintroduced the bill Thursday, June 24, 2021. If the bill passes into law, it will amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to enact several changes including how the horses are shod.
“For over 400 years, horses have been a quintessential part of Virginia’s culture and history,” Warner says. “I am proud to reintroduce the bipartisan PAST Act, which would protect horses from mistreatment and abuse by increasing penalties for individuals who engage in the harmful and deliberate practice of soring.”
Soring is the intentional application of substances or devices to horses’ limbs to inflict pain in order to achieve an exaggerated high-stepping gait in show rings. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General found that the practice persists despite inspections before shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions.
“I support the humane treatment of all animals and the responsible training of horses,” Crapo says. “Soring is cruel and inhumane and I remain committed to ending its practice. The PAST Act would finally end this horrible training operation.”
If enacted, the legislation would prohibit the use of action devices and pads on Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses and racking horses. The legislation defines action device as “any boot, collar, chain, roller, or other devices that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse in such a manner that it can rotate around the leg or slide up and down the leg, so as to cause friction; or strike the hoof, coronet band, fetlock joint, or pastern of the horse.” The legislation does not consider soft rubber or soft leather bell boots or quarter boots that are used to protect the foot as an action device.
In addition, the PAST Act would eliminate self-policing by requiring the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if the show’s management intends to hire one. It also increases the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony with a maximum of 3 years of incarceration, fines of up to $5,000 and permanent disqualification of three-time violators.
“The American Horse Council applauds the leadership of Sens. Mark Warner and Mike Crapo for re-introducing the bipartisan Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2021,” says Julie Broadway, president of the American Horse Council. “The PAST Act outlines a common-sense solution to prevent the continued practice of taking action on a horse’s limb to produce an accentuated gait during competition.”
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in 2017 that it finalized a rule that would enact many of the amendments contained within in the PAST Act. However, the rule was not published by the Obama administration before leaving office. The incoming Trump administration halted all unpublished rules and didn’t revisit it.
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