I’m appalled by the deceptive claims made in a recent opinion piece (“Tennessee Walking Horse Is The Most Inspected Breed in the U.S.,” June 25). Such blatant misinformation is beyond the pale, and it warrants a correction.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act is popular, commonsense legislation that would update existing federal law to finally end the torturous practice of horse soring. The big lick faction of the walking horse industry has had nearly 40 years to stop the abuse, and it has failed. Soring persists in this show circuit, unchecked by a corrupt self-regulatory scheme. The PAST Act will end this racket and make enforcement more efficient and more effective, at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
Opponents of the PAST Act consistently trot out deceptive rates of “compliance” with the Horse Protection Act, but those numbers are bogus. These figures include only violations issued by the industry inspectors, not the violations found by USDA when it does spot inspections. The vast majority of violations are found on big lick horses and the high overall compliance rate cited is based largely on the inspections of the many horses that are trained and shod naturally, which are almost 100 percent compliant.
But Congress and the public won’t be fooled. Growing outrage about widespread abuse in the “Big Lick” show circuit is hurting the industry’s bottom line. The horse industry, including the American Horse Council and the United States Equestrian Federation support the PAST Act. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners are also on board with this legislation. Even most Tennessee Walking Horse owners and many other breed groups and horse industry organizations are calling on Congress to ensure a sound and thriving future for Walking Horses. More than 350 bipartisan U.S. senators and representatives have joined the horse industry’s calls for reform. It’s time to pass the PAST Act.