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house Bill H.R. 693

Should Punishments for ‘Soring’ Horses to Exaggerate Their Gait Be Increased?

Argument in favor

The practice of soring horses in order to exaggerate their gaits is cruel, inhumane, and illegal but inadequate enforcement and weak penalties for this practice have allowed it to continue. By enhancing inspection and penalties for engaging in this practice, this bill will protect horses from being subjected to an unnecessarily cruel practice.

burrkitty's Opinion
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07/24/2019
Cruelty to animals is cruelty to animals. Declawing cats. Docking tails and ears. Debarking dogs. Soreing horses. Debeaking chickens. Continuous confinement in tiny cages, pens, or feedlots, indiscriminate breeding, poor husbandry and minimal to no veterinary care. It’s all cruelty. It’s animal abuse for profit, amusement, or convenience and that is F’ed up. It’s not just our companion animals that suffer either. Our domestic food animal are commonly mistreated as well. Visit a factory farm or feedlots. It’s eye opening. I’m no vegan, but there are certain animal products I won’t buy because I know the animals lived in squalor and misery. I can’t and won’t support that. “We are as gods to beasts of the field. We order the time of their birth and the time of their death. Between times, we have a duty.” - Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
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David's Opinion
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07/25/2019
If people are still doing it, then the penalties are not harsh enough.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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07/24/2019
Anything that does not come naturally to animals in the way of training which causes unnecessary pain or danger of injury to the animal should be prohibited. Any animal. Those who continue to take part knowing it is prohibited should be required to pay steep fines, have their animals taken from them and be required to go through the same activity they put their animals through. Curt too bad you can’t read. It’s actually a tripartisan bill in honor of a recently deceased Senator. But you can’t write anything but “Never Trust a Demoncrat Bill”. You just make yourself look foolish.
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Argument opposed

While there was a point in history when Tennessee Walking Horses were subject to cruel soring practices for purely aesthetic purposes, that era in the breed’s history has passed. Today, there are stringent inspections that protect the horses and make this bill unnecessary. Additionally, were it to pass, this bill would likely have negative impacts on farriers’ livelihoods.

JTJ's Opinion
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07/24/2019
This is not appropriate for the federal government. This is a state issue.
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PolicyVsParty's Opinion
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07/25/2019
No more federal laws governing states rights. This is no longer a prominent issue and the current laws can keep it in check or states can implement their own more stringent penalties for this crime. No more federal over reach.
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Forestdog's Opinion
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07/25/2019
A) This is not a federal issue. Leave it to the States to regulate, if necessary. B) Don't create new laws if you're not going to enforce existing laws.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed July 25th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 333 Yea / 96 Nay
    IntroducedJanuary 22nd, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 693?

This bill — the PAST Act — would amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 to expand soring regulation and enforcement at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions, including by establishing a new system for USDA inspection of horses for evidence of soring. Additionally, this bill increases both civil and criminal penalties for engaging in soring practices.

The soring of horses is a practice that includes various actions (including applying caustic chemicals to horses’ front limbs or inserting sharp objects into their hooves) taken on horses’ limbs to produce higher gaits and exaggerate their leg motions in an artificial gait known as the “Big Lick.” These practices may cause pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness. Even though this practice has been illegal for over 50 years, it remains widely practiced. The species affected by this practice, which is rampant throughout the Southeastern U.S., are Tennessee Walking, Racking and Spotted Saddle Horses.

This bill’s full title is the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act.

Impact

Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses; horse breeders and owners that practice soring; soring as a practice among horse owners and breeders, particularly in the Southwestern U.S.; and the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 693

$8.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost about $8 million (at $2 million per year) over the period 2019-2024.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced this bill to increase penalties for horse soring and thereby end this abusive practice

“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice. We gave them a chance to self-police but the practice continued. Our bill will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. It’s time for Congress to act and put an end to this abusive practice.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), who is Rep. Schrader’s co-chair on the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, adds

“I am honored to join my fellow veterinarian, Rep. Kurt Schrader and various organizations who support the end of Horse Soring. As a veterinarian and lover of animals, we must continue to keep the pressure on a select group of bad actors in the Walking Horse industry. They must comply with existing law and stop this illegal practice for good.”

Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Asociation, expresses support for this bill:

“I’ve seen horses’ feet that have been sored so badly they looked like pizza with the cheese pulled off, and it’s long past time to end the rampant abusive practice of soring that I’ve personally witnessed since childhood. We are going to get a vote and take a big step toward eradicating the soring plague that’s marred the breed for more than sixty years, and I applaud the U.S. House Members for their dedication and support.”

American Farriers Journal notes that although this bill is aimed at owners and trainers, farriers who shoe Tennessee Walkers, Spotted Saddle Horses and racking horses could see negative impacts to their livelihoods from this bill. In American Farriers Journal’s May/June 2018 issue, Greenville, Tennessee farrier Scottie Lamons said: 

“[This bill is] going to affect a lot of us who shoe Walkers, racking horses and the Spotted Saddle Horses. It’s going to throw five-gaited horses that rack, like Saddlebreds, into the picture, too. They’re eventually going to get to where they don’t want pads on any of these horses.”

While he acknowledges the Walking Horse industry’s history, Lamons argues that it has changed dramatically, negating the need for this bill

“I know the Tennessee Walking Horse has a bad image. Probably 25 or 30 years ago, yeah, there were some people doing some stuff that they didn’t need to be doing. Now, the horses have to go through about five stages of inspections before they can even go. They’ve cleaned it up a lot over the last 20 to 25 years. These horses are treated very well.”

This bill has the support of 307 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 226 Democrats and 81 Republicans, in the 116th Congress, and has been added to the Consensus Calendar. Its Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), has 39 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 32 Democrats, five Republicans and two Independents, and has yet to receive a committee vote.

Last Congress, Rep. Yoho introduced this bill with the support of 289 bipartisan cosponsors, including 191 Democrats and 98 Republicans, and it didn’t receive a committee vote. Similarly, the Senate companion bill last Congress, sponsored by Sen. Crapo, had 45 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 39 Democrats, four Republicans and two Independents, and also didn’t receive a committee vote.

This bill received its 290th bipartisan cosponsor on May 23, 2019, which triggered the House Rule to move it onto the Consensus Calendar and a debate and vote on the House floor. When this key cosponsor was obtained, Rep. Schrader said

“The PAST Act is an easy, bipartisan solution that every Member of Congress should be able to get behind, as is evidenced by the support from well over half of the House of Representatives. Surpassing this significant number of cosponsors means we can utilize the new Consensus Calendar rule, adopted this Congress. Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books banning this cruel practice for decades. Our bill will strengthen and improve current regulations by allowing USDA to step in since self-policing has flat out not worked over the last 20 years. I thank all of my colleagues for their support and look forward to taking a vote in the House soon as we seek to put an end to this abusive practice once and for all.”

This bill has the support of the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and the veterinary medical associations of all 50 states. In total, over 280 groups have expressed support for this bill.

Reps. Schrader and Yoho first introduced this bill in 2013, but at that time a handful of influential lawmakers blocked floor votes on it despite overwhelming support in both chambers. Past iterations of this bill have all enjoyed broad bipartisan support, with 307 cosponsors (H.R. 1518 in the 113th Congress), 272 cosponsors (H.R. 3258 in the 114th Congress) and 289 cosponsors (H.R. 1847 in the 115th Congress) each year.


Of NoteThis bill is named in honor of the late Sen. Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland, who served in the Senate from 1965-1971. Sen. Tydings was the sponsor of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, and he devoted his life to to ending the practice of soring. When this bill received its 290th cosponsor, Ben Tydings Smith, Sen. Tydings’ grandson, said:

“My grandfather would be so thrilled about this news. He cared so deeply for these horses and I know he is probably looking down with a big smile on his face.  On behalf of the Tydings family, thank you to all the sponsors and cosponsors for your generous support.”

Although soring cases have decreased since a law banning the practice went into effect in 1970, a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General found that the current enforcement system is inadequate and violations continue to be widespread.

Reps. Schrader and Yoho are two of only three veterinarians in the 116th Congress.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / georgeclerk)

AKA

U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019

Official Title

PAST Act, as amended

    Cruelty to animals is cruelty to animals. Declawing cats. Docking tails and ears. Debarking dogs. Soreing horses. Debeaking chickens. Continuous confinement in tiny cages, pens, or feedlots, indiscriminate breeding, poor husbandry and minimal to no veterinary care. It’s all cruelty. It’s animal abuse for profit, amusement, or convenience and that is F’ed up. It’s not just our companion animals that suffer either. Our domestic food animal are commonly mistreated as well. Visit a factory farm or feedlots. It’s eye opening. I’m no vegan, but there are certain animal products I won’t buy because I know the animals lived in squalor and misery. I can’t and won’t support that. “We are as gods to beasts of the field. We order the time of their birth and the time of their death. Between times, we have a duty.” - Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
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    This is not appropriate for the federal government. This is a state issue.
    Like (21)
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    If people are still doing it, then the penalties are not harsh enough.
    Like (46)
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    Anything that does not come naturally to animals in the way of training which causes unnecessary pain or danger of injury to the animal should be prohibited. Any animal. Those who continue to take part knowing it is prohibited should be required to pay steep fines, have their animals taken from them and be required to go through the same activity they put their animals through. Curt too bad you can’t read. It’s actually a tripartisan bill in honor of a recently deceased Senator. But you can’t write anything but “Never Trust a Demoncrat Bill”. You just make yourself look foolish.
    Like (33)
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    My representative, Doug LaMalfa, voted to allow the torture of horses to continue. He also voted against the raise of the minimum wage, and providing healthcare, hygiene, and decent food for detainees at the border. What kind of a person does that? Not a person of decency or honor. But I guess you lose those things along the way when you support trump, the most corrupt politician of all time!
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    Yes. We need to stop worrying about any person’s livelyhood when it comes to corrupt, unethical or immoral acts and behaviors against humans, wildlife, animals, environment, ecosystems and the planet. Stop allowing Conservatives to profit and benefit from harming everyone and everything.
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    What part of animal abuse do you not understand?
    Like (13)
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    No more federal laws governing states rights. This is no longer a prominent issue and the current laws can keep it in check or states can implement their own more stringent penalties for this crime. No more federal over reach.
    Like (13)
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    A) This is not a federal issue. Leave it to the States to regulate, if necessary. B) Don't create new laws if you're not going to enforce existing laws.
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    Immediately!
    Like (9)
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    I cannot believe our legislature has to deal with this at all! For the Love of God, why would this cruelty not be covered under any abuse laws for animals in the country, state or federal! That horse owners are so greedy to torture their pets. Horses are just a product to these greedy pigs. This is our world under Trumpian greed, cruelty and ignorance! These bastards "invest" in horse ownership to make money. It's a filthy industry full of filthy, greedy old white men who pay other powerful filthy old, greedy white men to turn a blind eye and vote NAY.
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    Well no surprise to me that LaMalfa is against raising penalties for animal abuse. He does not mind the abuse of humans by our government.
    Like (6)
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    Really?......What is WRONG with people?
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    Torture of any kind should be eradicated. A good breeder will breed for favorable traits.
    Like (5)
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    Any bill that saves animals pain caused by unscrupulous people who are just trying to make money from them at any cost is a good bill!
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    "Soring" means driving nails into the horse's foot to make it prance more. That's fucking insane. Yes increase enforcement.
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    Obviously, states are not protecting horses from this cruel practice, so a federal directive is in order. And leave it to Gosar to show his continuous disregard for the well being of animals (and humans at our border).
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    Anybody who puts any animal through such pain for their own gain and those who vote against legal action to abet that gain should be castrated with a dull knife. In particularone
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    First. Do I think horse soring is abhorrent? As a conservative, Yes. I also believe dog fighting and cock fighting are abhorrent along with beating the crap out of someone in a cage. But the reason I vote no is because I believe this is a STATES RIGHTS issue, not a federal issue. This type of a bill does nothing more that take up the time of the congress when they should be working on education, infrastructure, poverty, human trafficking, drugs, climate change and the like. The congress spends way too much time and money deciding whether or not the sun should come up in the east or west.
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    Protect horses from this painful procedure immediately!!!
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