Animal rights

Letter | Support bill to prevent abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses

May 25, 2014 

As a current board director for Saint Frances Animal Center, an animal legal advocate and someone with immense respect for horses, I am deeply disturbed at the treatment of “big lick” Tennessee Walking Horses.

Trainers pursuing this artificial gait deliberately injure horses’ legs with caustic chemicals or wedge objects into the tender soles of their feet in a practice called “soring.” This inhumane treatment is done solely for purposes of award seeking at horse shows. It has been illegal for decades; however, the law desperately needs updating to effectively eradicate this barbaric practice.

For this reason, I support The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 1518/S. 1406). This crucial legislation will make necessary reforms to the Horse Protection Act by increasing penalties, banning devices used in the soring process, and giving the United States Department of Agriculture the tools needed to enforce the law.

The bill is endorsed by the American Horse Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the veterinary medical association of every state including South Carolina, the National Sheriffs Association and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Please give support to U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, who has co-sponsored the PAST Act, H.R. 1518/S. 1406. However, South Carolina senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, have not yet joined the bipartisan group of more than 300 members of Congress in cosponsoring the act. It is time for them to stand behind the only bill that will preserve the horse industry’s reputation and protect horses.

The writer lives in Surfside Beach and is District Leader Volunteer for the Humane Society of the United States in S.C. Congressional District 7.

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