Animal Wellness Action Press Release
U.S. Reps. Schrader, Yoho, Cohen, and Estes Introduce “U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act”
Washington, D.C. — Today veterinarian U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL) were joined by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) Ron Estes (R-KS), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Chris Collins (R-NY) in introducing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693. The bill was renamed the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST Act in honor of the late Senator Joe Tydings who was known as the “Father of the Horse Protection Act” of 1970 and passed away last fall.
The PAST Act was first introduced in 2013 and garnered the support of 290 cosponsors in the House in the 115th Congress, a new mark that indicates that more than two-thirds of all House members are publicly signed on to the legislation as supporters. The measure amends the Horse Protection Act to close loopholes that have allowed soring – the intentional infliction of pain to Tennessee Walking Horses’ front limbs to produce an exaggerated high stepping manmade gait known as the “big lick” – to persist for nearly half a century.
“We applaud the Members for reintroducing the PAST Act and recognizing the late Senator Joe Tydings,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “It is right and fitting to name the bill after the lawmaker who led the fight to pass the original Horse Protection Act. It’s long past time to end the rampant abusive practice of soring that I’ve personally witnessed since childhood, and Congress should swiftly bring this measure to a vote.”
“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice,” said Rep. Schrader. “We gave them a chance to self-police but the practice continued. Our bill will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. It’s time for Congress to act and put an end to this abusive practice.”
“I am honored to join my fellow veterinarian, Rep. Kurt Schrader and various organizations who support the end of Horse Soring. As a veterinarian and lover of animals, we must continue to keep the pressure on a select group of bad actors in the Walking Horse industry. They must comply with existing law and stop this illegal practice for good,” said Rep. Yoho.
The PAST Act 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. It is one of the most widely supported bills in the U.S. Congress. U.S. Senators Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Mark Warner, D-Virginia, plan to introduce a companion bill in the near future. Their bill last year attracted nearly half of all Senators as sponsors.
Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.