Our work to end soring of Tennessee Walking Horses

After six long years the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 693) received a vote on the U.S. House floor in July 2019 and the American people have spoken. The measure passed by a vote of 333-96.

Here’s what members of Congress had to say about the PAST Act that would end the abusive practice of soring that’s marred the equine world for six decades.

“I am pleased the House passed the PAST Act with strong bipartisan support today. This legislation will close loopholes that enable the cruel practice of “soring” horses. I thank Rep. Schrader for being a champion of animal welfare issues and building on the legacy of my late friend, Senator Tydings. I urge Senator McConnell to take up this bipartisan legislation without delay.”
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09)
chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, the subcommittee which has jurisdiction over the PAST Act

“I am immensely proud to have played a role in the passage of this bill and of the bipartisan collaboration of the entire Illinois delegation in helping end the despicable practice of horse soring. This legislation is long overdue and will protect these magnificent horses from unscrupulous trainers. The PAST Act moves to the Senate with a clear message—the American people will not stand for animal cruelty in any form.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader, DVM (D-OR-05)

“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice. We gave folks a chance to self-police but the abusive behaviors continued. The bill that was passed today will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. This is a historic day and I am grateful for my colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this legislation across the finish line and for our equine athletes who provide us with inspiration and pleasure.”

Former Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-03)

“As a veterinarian and lover of animals, it is time we end the inhumane practice of horse soring. I want to thank House Leadership for bringing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act up for a vote today and my colleague and fellow veterinarian Rep. Kurt Schrader for championing this bill with me over the years. The walking horse industry had plenty of time to self- police and change their ways, but they decided to press on. They have failed to take advantage of this opportunity and now it is time for horse soring to end.”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09)

The natural gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse is a wonder to behold and has long been revered by horse lovers . The practice of soring—burning, cutting, lacerating—these beautiful creatures just to exaggerate their gate and win shows is beyond reprehensible. I am so pleased that more than 300 House members are sponsoring The PAST Act. How we treat animals is a reflection of our national character. Today, we can be proud that the House has spoken loudly on behalf of the horses and those who love horses.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

“I strongly support protecting horses from this cruel practice and the PAST Act will put in place additional safeguards for horses, so they can lead safe lives, free from unnecessary abuse and pain.”

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-06)
Vice Chairman of the U.S. House Republican Conference

“For too long, these beautiful creatures have been severely abused and mistreated. The use of corrosive chemicals, chains, screws and nails on horses should end.”

Former Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02)

“My reason for supporting the PAST Act is simple: soring is cruel and inhumane. I share the outrage of my constituents at those who chose to abuse animals and it’s time we finally implement laws that are already on the books banning this practice.”

Former Rep. Cunningham (D-SC-01)

“As a lover of all of God’s creatures, I’m proud to support the Prevent all Soring Tactics [PAST] Act. It’s an unfortunate reality that horse abuse is still rampant in this country. The bipartisan PAST Act will protect horses from the cruel and inhumane practice of deliberately inflicting pain and suffering for show purposes and it’s long past time for Congress to act.”

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13)

“The PAST Act is an important piece of legislation in our fight to protect the safety and wellbeing of horses. Despite the presence of previous laws outlawing the practice of soring, or deliberately causing pain to a horse’s leg to change gait patterns, it continues to be common practice. The PAST Act will help remedy this problem by adding enforcement and increasing penalties for this abusive practice. We are encouraged by the broad support this bill has garnered from both sides of the aisle and associations across the country, and will continue our efforts to end animal abuse and support animal rights.”

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45)

“The PAST Act amends the Horse Protection Act of 1970 to end the abusive practice known as horse soring. Soring involves intentionally injuring horses’ hooves and legs to exaggerate the leg motion for horse show competitions. Even though it has been illegal for more than 50 years, it is still widely practiced. The bill will strengthen current regulations by improving U.S. Department of Agriculture enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. I will stand up for animal welfare and support legislation to stop inhumane treatment. Harming horses and other animals is inconsistent with our Orange County values.”

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-VA-08)

“It is way past time to end the barbaric practice of horse soring. Abusive trainers were given the chance to self-police, but it is obvious Congress must step in. I thank Congressman Schrader for his leadership on the PAST Act, in addition to the vast majority of my colleagues in Congress cosponsoring this important legislation.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06)
former Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

“Horse soring is a cruel and sad practice that must come to an end. I’m pleased to be a cosponsor of H.R. 693 and to see it pass. This bipartisan legislation will prevent these beautiful animals from being mistreated by the walking horse industry and provide protection from future soring practices. I hope to see the Senate pass this legislation so we can get it to the President’s desk for his signature.”

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22)

“Horses have a special place in American culture and they deserve additional protections from needless cruelty. I am proud to support the PAST Act to end the painful practice of horse soring, and I am pleased to see this bill pass the House with strong bipartisan support.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07)

“Congress took action to prevent soring tactics in 1970, but it’s time we strengthen penalties for abusers. All of us should care deeply about improving current regulations, as well as banning practices like chemical burn and stacked horseshoes. We must end the culture of animal abuse that prioritizes blue ribbons and unscrupulous trainers over our horses. The PAST Act will bring greater transparency to our horse competition community and help ensure that all horses are protected.”

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52)

“Horse soring, though an outdated and horrific practice, continues across our country. I cosponosored the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act because it’s past time to protect horses and stop this cruel practice.”

Rep. David Price (D-NC-04)

“Unfortunately, the cruel practice of horse soring still exists today. This legislation provides the much needed oversight and enforcement to ensure that this abusive practice is put to an end.”

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL-08)

“Animals should be treated in a humane manner and I’m pleased to support this important legislation that will better protect horses from abuse.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13)

“Horse soring is a cruel and inhumane practice that Congress must stop now. Even though this practice has been illegal for over 50 years, it’s still widely done. That is why Congress needs to pass H.R. 693, which will improve USDA enforcement and strengthen penalties for violating the law.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-02)

 “I’m glad to join such a broad and bipartisan group of my colleagues in voting to pass the PAST Act. This year’s bill had over 300 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, which should send a strong message that Congress and the American people are fed up with the cruelty of horse soring. There’s no justifiable reason to force an animal to endure the excruciating pain of soring tactics, especially when that reason, in this case, is to simply win a trophy. The Senate should follow our lead, and take a vote to end the practice of horse soring.”

Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS-04)

“As a cosponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, I am pleased to see this bill have overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. House. This overdue legislation will protect horses from the abusive and harmful practice of soring by improving enforcement, increasing penalties and banning incentives to continue horse soring. It’s past time the PAST Act becomes law.”

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA-53)

“We need to stand up for animals who cannot stand up for themselves and end horse soring for good,” said Rep. Susan Davis. “It is a cruel practice that should have been outlawed decades ago. As a proud cosponsor of the PAST Act, I am pleased to see Congress finally taking action to end this abuse.”

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA-18)

“I’ve been proud to support legislation that protects animal rights throughout my time in Congress. Horse soring is cruel, and we must strengthen existing law with tougher enforcement and bigger penalties to ensure it comes to an end. That’s why I cosponsored the PAST Act – and why I am looking forward to voting for it.”

Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01)

“Horse soring is a cruel, unethical and illegal practice that has thrived because of lax enforcement for far too long. Unfortunately, certain horse trainers have taken advantage of the system, failed to self-police and are forcing horses into a lifetime of suffering. As a longtime supporter of animal rights, I know that it’s well-past time we take action and finally end this abuse.”

Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Lead sponsor of the PAST Act in the U.S. Senate

“I support the humane treatment of all animals and remain committed to ending the cruel practice of soring. I appreciate the House’s movement on the PAST Act. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to see that the legislation moves in the Senate and that current animal welfare laws are enforced.”

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)

“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.”

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-02)

“Decades ago, lawmakers came together to oppose the cruel practice of horse soring. Sadly, this abusive practice continues today. With the PAST Act, Congress is once again coming together to oppose this cruelty with a singular voice. We are saying: ‘this practice is cruel and abusive; it ends now.”

Former Rep. T.J. Cox (D-CA-21)

“I am committed to protecting animals from being subjected to cruelty or inhumane treatment. Horse soring is an unnecessary and abusive procedure, and I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the PAST Act along with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY-25)

“The practice of soring is abusive and reprehensible. It is despicable to endanger the health and safety of horses simply for human sport. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that seeks to strengthen USDA oversight and enforcement as well as bring harsher punishments to those who continue this inhumane practice.”

Former Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03)

“It’s time to put an end to the practice of horse soring once and for all. The PAST ACT is commonsense legislation that helps do away with an outdated practice that can cause pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness. I’m proud to support this overwhelmingly popular bipartisan legislation to end animal cruelty.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-06)

“I am proud to cosponsor and vote for the Present All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would eliminate the practice of horse soring. It is time Congress pass legislation to protect horses from mistreatment and end this barbaric practice of inflicting pain to a horse’s hooves to achieve an artificial gait used in horse shows. I will continue to be a strong advocate for this important cause and work together with my colleagues to pass animal protection laws.”

Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09)

“Though horse soring was outlawed long ago, this inhumane practice is still occurring to this day. This legislation will strengthen regulations and increase penalties for offenders, so we can finally put an end to this senseless abuse.”

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06)

“As an animal lover, I am a proud cosponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to end the cruel practice of horse soring in Pennsylvania and across the nation. The time is now for Congress to enact this legislation and put a stop to animal abuse.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-01)

“Inflicting pain on horses at shows and sales is a cruel practice that must end. We simply cannot trust the industry to police itself. I’m proud to help pass this important legislation and I will continue to strongly advocate from the halls of the Capitol to end animal cruelty.”

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-13)

“The practice of horse “soring” is nothing less than animal torture. We need to end this inhumane practice by making clear that anyone who abuses horses in this manner will be prosecuted.”

Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA-07)

“As a passionate, lifelong advocate for the protection of animals I am proud to support legislation to end this abusive practice. Intentionally inflicting pain upon horses to win prizes is unthinkable, and strengthening and improving current regulations to prevent this practice is imperative.”

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20)

“As co-chairman of the Congressional Horse Caucus, I am proud to support this legislation that will bring an end to horse soring. By strengthening penalties and banning the use of devices associated with soring, the PAST Act will ensure that these majestic animals are protected from this inhumane and painful practice.”

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24)

“Horse soring is cruel, painful and unnecessary—we’re working to end this harmful and dated practice, and we’re doing it in a bipartisan way. I’m glad to stand alongside my colleagues to pass the PAST Act and put a stop to abusive horse soring.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06)
Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce

“This bill has received endorsements from hundred of equine and veterinary organizations, including more than 60 state and national horse groups and all 50 state medical veterinary associations. I thank Representative Schrader for his continued leadership and it’s time that Congress pass this legislation and put an end to soring once and for all.”

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC-13)

 “The PAST Act will ensure we have a more efficient system in place to protect them [the horses] from inhuman and cruel suffering. I thank my friend, the vet from Florida for his work and let you know that our Tennessee Walkers thank you as well.”

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA-01)

“We’re here because we want to improve the sport and strengthen it, not weaken it. It is my hope that we can continue to work on these and other issues together to ensure a better industry for all of those involved.”

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV-04)

“Horse soring has been outlawed since 1970, but the practice continues to this day. These poor animals are still being tortured due to our lack of enforcement. It is time for Congress to act and pass the PAST Act.”

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13)

“Horse soring is a cruel practice that should be done away with. I’m proud to co-sponsor the PAST Act, bipartisan legislation that protects these majestic animals from such an inhumane, outdated procedure.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01)

“As a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, I am committed to fighting animal cruelty in all forms. The PAST Act would protect horses from undue pain and distress, and I am proud to endorse this important piece of legislation.”

Rep. Jos Neguse (D-CO-02)

“Soring involves cruel and intentional infliction of pain on a horse’s legs and hooves purely for sport. No horse should be made to suffer for competition. Though laws have been on the books for decades banning this inhumane practice, horse soring still runs rampant. The PAST Act would strengthen and improve current regulations and ensure that this practice finally comes to an end. I am proud to be a cosponsor of and advocate for this legislation because it is time for Congress to step-in and halt this brutal and unnecessary practice.”

the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07)

“Soring is a cruel and inhumane practice that puts the welfare of horses at risk. The PAST Act would help put an end to this abusive procedure by strengthening current regulations and bringing transparency to the horse competition industry. I am pleased that the PAST Act is named in honor of my late friend, Senator Joseph D. Tydings. A tireless fighter for animal rights, Joe devoted his life to ending the practice of soring.”

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

“Horses have been a part of our Commonwealth’s history and culture since the settling of Jamestown, and like all animals, they deserve to be treated with care and compassion. Now that the House has voted, on a bipartisan basis, to protect these animals from the cruel practice of inflicting deliberate suffering for show purposes, the Senate must act.”

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-06)

“Horses are beautiful animals which have sadly become victims of this cruelty, which inflicts pain on their feet to win prizes. It needs to stop and Congress needs to act. I’m glad to support Rep. Yoho and his legislation to end horse this horrifying practice once and for all.”