Sen. Toomey has cosponsored a bipartisan bill – known as the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act -- authored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) that would end the abusive practice known as soring -- in which show horse trainers apply blistering or burning agents, lacerations, sharp objects, or other substances or devices to a horse's limb to intentionally make each step painful, forcing a horse to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait that is rewarded in show rings.
"Soring is inhumane, unnecessary, and cruel. We need to toughen federal laws to help end this abusive training tactic which exists only for entertainment and shows,” said Sen. Toomey.
“We applaud Sen. Toomey for joining with us in cosponsoring the bill to make soring a felony and outlawing the use of all action devices. Sen. Toomey joins this bipartisan movement, along with Sen. Casey and 17 Congressmen and woman of Pennsylvania,” said Marion G. Latshaw, President, Pennsylvania Pleasure Walking Horse Association.
In 2010, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General conducted an audit of the federal Horse Protection Program, which found that show horse trainers often go to great lengths to evade federal law prohibiting soring and requiring them to train horses using humane methods. The USDA Inspector General made several recommendations, including establishing stiffer penalties and abolishing the self-policing practices currently allowed under existing regulations, in which Horse Industry Organizations are able to assign their own inspectors to monitor horse shows.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST ACT:
• Eliminates self-policing by requiring the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if the show's management indicates its intent to hire one. Licensed or accredited veterinarians, if available, would be given preference for these positions.
• Prohibits the use of action devices and pads on horse breeds that have been the victims of soring. Action devices, such as chains that rub up and down an already-sore leg, intensify the horse's pain when it moves, so that the horse quickly jolts up its leg.
• Increases the penalties on an individual caught soring a horse from a misdemeanor to a felony subject to up to three years' incarceration, increases fines from $3,000 to $5,000 per violation, and for a third violation allows permanent disqualification from participating in horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions.
Numerous groups have endorsed the bill, including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Horse Council, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
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