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Tennessee Walker Soring PAST Act
 By Winniefield Park   •   5th Mar 2019   •   280 views   •   0 comments


Another bill in front of the current congress is commonly known as the PAST Act or Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693. Although that is how it appeared when first presented, it has now been renamed in honor of Joseph D. Tydings, a senator who helped pass the first Horse Protection Act of 1970. U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act will close gaps in the laws that govern soring.

Soring, the practice of putting physical or chemical irritants on or in a Tennessee Walking Horse’s legs or hooves to encourage an artificial high-stepping gait called the ‘big lick’ has been a contentious issue for decades. Since the mid-1900s, Tennessee Walking Horses were shown in a competition that demonstrated this gait, and the practice of putting physical or chemical irritants, stacked shoes or spikes on or in a horse’s legs or hooves to encourage an artificial high-stepping gait, began.

By the 1970s, the cruelty it inflicted on the horses was recognized and laws were put in place to eliminate it. But, soring has persisted despite laws banning and the general condemnation of the public who understand the pain and cruelty involved. A great part of the problem with the laws that did exist was that they were left to be enforced by those within the industry. This has proved ineffective.

The public became more aware of the problem with the sharing of online video and photos showing horses in extreme pain, and who endured horrific ‘training’ practices that were made to perform. As a result, some sources report that attendance of both fans and competitors at big lick competitions is waning. Tennessee Walking Horse fans are starting their own groups that have nothing to do with producing a horse with such an unnatural action. Yet other defend the practice and claim that attendance numbers are stable and claim no harm is being done. Others want the competitions simply eliminated.

There’s no question, as there is in anti-slaughter legislation, of whether the leaders in the horse industry in general would like to see the practice of soring come to an end. It is supported by “The American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and the veterinary medical associations from all 50 states.”1

U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act is supported by over 75% of the representatives in congress. The act would close the loopholes that allowed the industry to police itself. The current act to be proposed would not only make soring of any type illegal, it will also ensure that competition inspectors be replaced by USDA certified inspectors.

A number of acts, including PAST, SAFE and the Horse Racing Integrity Act which would affect doping have been stalled, but with the recent changes in the senate it is hoped that with so much support from senate representatives, that they will be brought to vote and enacted.



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1Animal Wellness Action: U.S. Reps. Schrader, Yoho, Cohen, and Estes Introduce “U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act, Press Release 22-Jan-2019
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