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Shoptalk: Congressmen Introduce Rival Horse Protection Bills

Competing bills that aim to amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) have been introduced in the 115th Congress.

The bills introduced by Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., are distinctly different, yet are familiar.

DesJarlais’ Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2017 (H.R. 1338) proposes to define “objective inspection” as “using only inspection methods based on science-based protocols (including swabbing or blood testing protocols) that (a) have been the subject of testing and are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results; (b) have been subjected to peer review; and (c) have received acceptance in the veterinary or other applicable scientific community.”

In addition, it calls for the establishment of a single industry enforcement body in the form of a Horse Industry Organization (HIO). The HIO could consist of nine appointees. The Tennessee agriculture commissioner would appoint two of the board members, while the Kentucky agriculture commissioner would appoint another two. These four individuals, in consultation with the Walking Horse Trainers Association, would then appoint two representatives from the walking horse industry. These six appointees then would appoint three more members. The current HPA is enforced by multiple HIOs that have differing rules and enforcement guidelines.

Yoho’s legislation — H.R. 1847 — is the reintroduction of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. The bill would increase penalties for those convicted of violating the HPA. It also would forbid the use of action devices, performance packages, stacks and some chains in training and performance. If passed into law, the…

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