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Editor’s note: In July 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The intended purpose of these proposals was to combat soring. Previous attempts to address soring through legislation have stalled in Congress. The USDA would bypass the legislative process by instituting these changes. To read these changes, visit americanfarriers.com/usda.
However, the language within the proposed changes to the HPA is ambiguous. Many farriers are concerned about the broad application of this language.
In September 2016, the USDA provided an amendment to the HPA proposal that would limit shoe weight, regardless of any other guideline to less than 16 ounces. You also can read this amendment at americanfarriers.com/usda. Following the amendment announcement, the following letter was submitted to the USDA by Randy Luikart.
At time of press, the USDA was still collecting public input on this matter and no measure had been adapted.
The USDA’s additional proposed amendments to the Horse Protection Act pertaining to shoe weight limits on aged horses at shows, auctions and exhibitions is interesting. Ideological amendment proposals such as this are not based on science and are completely impractical in benefiting the welfare of the horse.
Proposed laws addressing farrier techniques must follow the laws of physics and biomechanics, not be formulated on subjective interpretation.
The art and science of farriery has been in place for centuries. The standards for shoeing horses were set when horses were used for transportation, farming and delivery. Those standards exist and…