GOOD NEWS FOR THE HORSES!
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
House Veterinarians and Bipartisan Lawmakers Team Up to Make Soring a Thing of the PAST
“Good news for horses: a bipartisan group of more than 100 members of Congress, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, joined together as original cosponsors of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act introduced last night in the U.S. House. Led by Reps. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., who are both veterinarians and co-chairs of the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus, along with the leadership team of Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., David Jolly, R-Fla., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., this crucial legislation, H.R. 3268, aims to stop the intentional torture of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds just for ribbons and prizes.
The Senate version of the PAST Act was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va., and S. 1121 now has 43 cosponsors (nearly half the Senate) and continues to build momentum.
In 1970, Congress passed the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to stop “soring”—a barbaric practice in which unscrupulous trainers injure the horses’ hooves and legs to induce an unnatural, high-stepping gait prized in some show rings. In some case, the trainers apply caustic chemicals, including diesel fuel and mustard oil, and cook it into the horses’ flesh by wrapping their legs in plastic, jam painful objects into their tender hooves, and use a host of other gruesome techniques to make it hurt for the horses to step down.
However, the law is weak and soring remains widespread in a small segment (an estimated 10 percent) of the Tennessee walking horse industry. These trainers have soring down to a science, and they continue to devise new ways to inflict pain on their victims while concealing evidence of the cheating and cruelty—all to produce the artificial “Big Lick” gait and gain unfair advantage at horse competitions.
After decades of abuse, it’s high time that Congress takes action. The PAST Act will do what’s needed—amend the existing law to end the corrupt system of industry self-policing, ban the use of devices implicated in the practice of soring such as chains that strike against horses’ sore legs and heighten the pain, strengthen penalties, hold all those involved accountable, and make the act of soring a horse illegal.
The PAST Act has broad support across the board, from more than 60 horse organizations (such as the American Horse Council) to major animal protection groups to veterinary groups, including the American Association of Equine Professionals, American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and state veterinary groups in all 50 states. The National Sheriffs’ Association, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Tennessee walking horse enthusiasts intent on cleaning up their sport, celebrities, and many others are among the more than 600 groups and individuals who have endorsed this legislation.
Among horse industry professionals, one of PAST’s supporters is world-renowned horseman and educator, Monty Roberts. Known as the “Horse Whisperer,” Roberts has been an instrumental force in reshaping the horse world by fostering a nonviolent training approach called “Join-Up.” Roberts notes, “Soring is one of the most despicable training methods I have ever come across in my lifetime of protecting horses. It’s incredible to me that an industry based on the intentional infliction of pain to an animal could still exist in America. Congress should finally bring an end to this blatant cruelty and pass the PAST Act without delay.”
Walt Taylor, founder and past president of the American Farriers Association and founder and current president of the World Farriers Association, has been a farrier (trimming and shoeing horses’ hooves) for more than 65 years and has witnessed firsthand the abusive methods used to exacerbate these breeds’ natural gaits. According to Taylor, “the needless suffering of horses caused by greed and gratuitous abuse must stop….I find it unconscionable to abuse horses for monetary gain, fame or fashion.” “
Continue reading HERE
To help make this a law, call your two Senators and Representative and thank them if they have cosponsored. If they have not co-sponsored urge them politely to cosponsor. Follow up with a handwritten letter.
Find your congressmen HERE
See the list of H.R. 3268 co-sponsors HERE
See the list of S. 1121 co-sponsors HERE
Addtionally, create an account on Popvox.com and comment in support of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. Letters are more powerful and handwritten letters are even more powerful. Other social media should be used such as the forum that Popvox supplies. You can make as many comments as you like BUT, your elected official will only receive the first one you have written so take your time in composing what you want to say.
All comments are public and can be seen by other legislators and their staffers. If you sent a letter, the only legislators that will see it is yours! Writing your comments on proposed legislation on Popvox allows the sponsors and co-sponsors to see your comments on proposed legislation.
Advocacy groups, organizations and companies can also sign up for accounts on Popvox and make comments on legislation.
SIGN UP POPVOX HERE
POPVOX LINKS TO Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act
How Popvox works:
How is my message sent to Congress?
Comments left on POPVOX are delivered to your Representative and/or Senators in Congress. Your POPVOX home page displays the status of the delivery of your message.
POPVOX delivers messages to Congress electronically* because that’s how the offices prefer to receive them. Your message goes into the office’s database that lets them track their constituents’ sentiment on bills and group similar letters together for their replies. (Printed letters and faxes are so much harder for offices to process. Your name and address would be keyed into their database by the nearest intern, and what you wrote will probably never be seen by a policy staff member.)
*A number of Congressional offices do not accept electronic delivery from third party services. In those cases we will actually print out your message walk down to Capitol Hill and deliver your message in person.
How long does it take for Congress to get my letter?
Letters on POPVOX are typically delivered to Members of Congress within 6 hours.
Throughout the day, POPVOX staff are busy keeping our delivery system up to date with each of the 541 Congressional offices. Each office accepts electronic mail in a slightly different way, and POPVOX must keep up with each office’s frequent changes to their systems. Additionally, while most offices accept most mail electronically, letters from constituents with unusual addresses are often not accepted electronically and must be printed out and delivered in person, which creates an additional delay. Fewer than 5% of letters take more than 4.5 days.
For comparison, postal mail sent to Congress may take more than two weeks to be delivered, as all postal mail is irradiated for safety reasons before its arrival in the Capitol.
In addition to delivering your letters, POPVOX staff are working with Congressional staff on improving Congressional mail systems to make this process better for everyone.