Animal Wellness Action Applauds Oregon Congressional Delegation for Working to Protect Iconic American Horses

Rep. Kurt Schrader

Rep. Kurt Schrader

We gave folks a chance to self-police, but the abusive behaviors continued.”
— Rep. Kurt Schrader

SALEM, OREGON, USA, August 27, 2019 / -- The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96. The measure, led by U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, co-chair of the Congressional Veterinary Medicine Caucus, received the full support of the entire Oregon Delegation: Reps. Greg Walden, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus; Peter DeFazio; and Suzanne Bonamici. Each of the Members voted in support of the bill and were cosponsors of the legislation as well.

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 5 days at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are both cosponsors of the Senate companion bill on, S. 1007, led by the senior U.S. Senator from Idaho, Republican Mike Crapo, that mirrors the House passed legislation.

“People are disgusted and heartbroken when they hear the facts about soring and the barbaric torture inflicted upon these intelligent and sentient horses,” said Emily AhYou, Oregon State Director at Animal Wellness Action. “Industry self-regulation has failed. We’re fortunate to have so many compassionate lawmakers in Oregon that are willing to lead the effort to crack down on this egregious practice. Without them and the work of groups like Animal Wellness Action and others, this cruelty would continue indefinitely”.

“Most Americans were unaware of this brutal and secretive practice,” said Joshua Marquis, Director of Enforcement at Animal Wellness Action, and longtime former Oregon District Attorney. "As someone who has prosecuted animal cruelty for over 30 years, I was surprised that this horrible practice was taking place and glad AWA has taken a leading role in calling it out."

“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), lead sponsor of the PAST Act in the U.S. House. “We gave folks a chance to self-police, but the abusive behaviors continued.”

“This legislation will close loopholes that enable the cruel practice of “soring” horses,” said U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). "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."

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

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 Oregon 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 Schrader 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, and check out the latest edition of The Political Animal: Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration left with bloody nose and black eye by press and the City of Nashville by clicking here.

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
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