Congress must act to end cruelty to show horses

Priscilla with Max a rescue horse

Priscilla Presley is a leader among celebrities for taking action against horse cruelty. She is known for owning rescue horses where they reside at Graceland. ~ HfH

From: The Hill
By: Priscilla Presley

Priscilla with Max a rescue horse

Priscilla with Max a rescue horse

Every day, behind closed stable doors, Tennessee walking horses suffer immense pain at the hands of their trainers.

The horses’ legs are soaked with caustic chemicals and wrapped in plastic to “cook” their flesh. Hard objects are wedged into the tender parts of their hooves making each step painful. Trainers use these cruel practices to force horses to perform the exaggerated “Big Lick” gait prized at some horse shows. To further accentuate this extreme, unnatural gait, tall, heavy “stacks” are nailed to the horses’ hooves, and chains are hung around their legs that exacerbate the pain.

This abuse is unconscionable, and Congress passed the federal Horse Protection Act (HPA) in 1970 to stop it. But Big Lick trainers make every effort to evade detection of their crimes, and the industry has been permitted to police itself with devastating results.
The fight to stop this practice, called soring, is personal for me: Elvis was a big admirer of Tennessee walking horses and together we owned several. Visitors to Graceland can still see these beautiful creatures grazing outside the barn.

I’m proud to continue that legacy at Graceland, and to be a permanent part of Tennessee’s culture. The Big Lick subculture of cruelty and corruption is giving the state a bad name. I want to see soring become a part of Tennessee’s past, and the only way is for Congress to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518 / S. 1406.

The PAST Act’s needed reforms to the Horse Protection Act will finally close the door on soring by banning the devices involved in the soring process, increasing penalties for violations and ending the industry’s failed system of self-policing, a recommendation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General in a 2010 audit of the HPA enforcement program.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
1 Comment
  • Lauren

    Honestly, there should be laws against showing ALL horses. Go to any show for any breed or discipline and you will see cruelty. Horses who get beat with crops for refusing jumps, horses who get their mouths yanked all to heck because they spooked in the show ring, showmanship horses getting their noses yanked by the chain on the show halter, etc. This sort of behavior is just as unacceptable as the soring of Tennessee Walkers.

    May 28, 2014