Washington Congressional Delegation Works to Protect Iconic American Horses; Dan Newhouse Stands Alone with Abusers

Rep. Dan Newhouse

Rep. Dan Newhouse

Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice.”
— Rep Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05)

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, USA, August 23, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96. U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck all voted in support of the measure, while Rep. Dan Newhouse broke from the majority of the Republicans in the House, and the delegation, standing alone with abusers and voting against the PAST Act. Each of the members that voted for the bill were also cosponsors except for McMorris Rodgers.

The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses' front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses' hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the "Big Lick,” has plagued the equine world for six decades. The “Big Lick” animal cruelty will be exhibited for the next 10 days at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee - where dozens of protestors gathered yesterday to speak out against the event.

Both U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, and Patty Murray are current cosponsors of S. 1007, the Senate companion bill led by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), that mirrors the House passed legislation.

“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05), the lead sponsor of the PAST Act in the House. "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.”

“I support the humane treatment of all animals and remain committed to ending the cruel practice of soring,” said U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the lead sponsor of the PAST Act in the Senate. “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.”

“We applaud the Members of the Washington delegation for their support of the PAST Act, and thank them for their key role in passing this legislation that will bring an end to six decades of horse abuse,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. "It’s disappointing to see Rep. Dan Newhouse side with abusers, but the overwhelming national support of the PAST Act should send a strong message to the Senate that it should saddle up and end this cruelty for good."

“Timing is ripe, and the majority of Americans want to see Congress work to protect these iconic American horses upon whose backs our country was built upon,” said Animal Wellness Advocate Priscilla Presley. “U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should swiftly schedule a vote on the PAST Act, and execute the will of the American people, and I call on him to do so!”

The PAST Act would ban the use of painful large stacked shoes and ankle chains and would also eliminate the existing system of self-regulation by the industry and toughen penalties for violators of the Horse Protection Act. It’s supported by the American Quarter Horse Association, Animal Wellness Action, the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and Washington Veterinary Medical Association.

The PAST Act has been blocked for years by a handful of well-placed lawmakers, but a new House rule triggering consideration of any measure that attracts 290 or more cosponsors brought the issue to the floor. PAST attracted 308 cosponsors, and was led by U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Veterinary Medicine Caucus, along with Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ron Estes (R-KS), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Chris Collins (R-NY). The Senate companion has garnered 43 cosponsors.

See what Members of Congress from across the nation have to say about the PAST Act by clicking here.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

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.

Marty Irby
ANIMAL WELLNESS ACTION
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Alleged "pressure shod" sored horse in Alabama


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