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We’ve seen more public furor in the past 40 days about eliminating soring than since the 1970 passage of the Horse Industry Act to eliminate equine cruelty.
In early June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued stronger federal rules that impose serious penalties against anyone found to be soring horses. There will now be mandatory minimum penalties for violating the law.
Over the years, industry inspectors had cited some trainers for soring, but penalties were not consistent and provided no incentive to stop the abuse.
Even politicians are finally weighing in. As one example, Tennessee state representative Janis Sontany wrote in The Tennessean that “Soring has been a well-kept dirty secret in this industry and it’s time for this nonsense to end.”
In mid-June, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) called for a ban on the use of action devices and performance packages that can be used to intentionally inflict pain in order to accentuate a horse’s gait.
While illegal act for over 40 years, AVMA president Rene Carlson says soring continues to plague the industry. “America’s veterinarians are asking the USDA to prohibit the use of action…