Animal Wellness Action Applauds U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell for Working to Protect Iconic Alabama State Racking Horses

Rep. Terri Sewell

Rep. Terri Sewell

We applaud Rep. Sewell for her terrific work to help end the practice of soring that has marred the show horse world and the Great State of Alabama for six decades,”
— Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action

SELMA, ALABAMA, USA, August 28, 2019 / -- 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. Rep. Terri Sewell voted in support of the measure. In an unexplained twist, Rep. Martha Roby, a cosponsor of the PAST Act, voted against the measure along with Reps. Bradley Byrne, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Mike Rogers, and Gary Palmer – siding with animal abusers.

The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Alabama Racking, Tennessee Walking, 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 Alabama Racking Horse was recognized by the USDA in 1971. It is known for a distinctive single-foot gait. In 1971, the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America, headquartered in Decatur, Alabama, was formed as the breed registry. Its goal is to preserve the breed in a natural state with little or no artificial devices that enhance gait, and the PAST Act would eliminate the artificial devices currently used in Racking Horse shows such as the World Celebration held in Priceville in September.

Neither U.S. Senators Doug Jones, nor Richard Shelby have cosponsored S. 1007, the Senate companion bill led by the senior Senator from Idaho, Republican Mike Crapo, that mirrors the House passed legislation.

“We applaud Rep. Sewell for her terrific work to help end the practice of soring that has marred the show horse world and the Great State of Alabama for six decades,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, native Alabamian, and former world grand champion Racking Horse owner. “I am disappointed that the rest of the Alabama delegation, including my hometown Representative, Bradley Byrne, chose to side with animal abusers, and call on Senators Jones and Shelby to join in cosponsoring S. 1007 in the Senate.”

"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 bottom line is you are either for animal cruelty, or you are against it,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), lead Republican sponsor of the House PAST Act.

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 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 Alabama 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 Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL), cochairs 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.

Check out what Members of Congress have to say about the PAST Act 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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Alleged "pressure shod" sored horse in Alabama

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