The American Horse Council announced Wednesday that it has submitted comments on the proposed amendments to the Horse Protection Act by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Today (Wednesday, Oct. 26) is the last day to share your stance on the proposed changes to the HPA.
Although the AHC applauds and supports the effort to end soring, it’s concerned about the language used in the proposed amendments.
“The AHC strongly opposes soring and believes action is needed to stop the soring of ‘big lick’ Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses,” AHC President Julie Broadway says. “However, the AHC believed it was necessary to voice concerns that certain provisions of the proposed rule are too broadly written, not sufficiently defined, and could cause confusion for the horse show industry.”
In its comments, the AHC strongly urges the USDA to explicitly limit the changes to those breeds that use soring techniques — Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses.
“Like all industries, the horse show industry requires clarity in any regulatory regime that impacts its operation,” the AHC comment states. “Soring is a problem that is well defined and limited to a very specific segment of the horse industry; however, as written, the proposed rule is unclear regarding exactly which breeds or disciplines the USDA plans to extend the proposed ban on actions, practices, devices, and substances. This is unacceptable to the horse industry and must be clarified.”
This specificity is one of the reasons why the AHC supports the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress.
“The PAST Act (S. 1121/ HR 3268), which is supported by most major horse show organizations and a majority of Congress, includes prohibitions similar to the proposed rule,” the AHC comment states. “However, the PAST Act explicitly limits such prohibitions to Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses. This specificity not only ensures that the problem of soring is addressed, but makes it certain that the rest of the horse show industry is not negatively impacted.”
The AHC letter goes into great detail regarding its stances on a variety of proposed changes including prohibited actions, practices, devices, substances, weighted shoes, horse protection inspectors, show farrier requirements and record keeping requirements.