New USDA Rules Aim At "Ending The Inhumane Practice Of Horse Soring"

Monday, July 25, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Monday announced proposed changes to strengthen enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and "end inhumane practices known as soring, which cause horses to suffer physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving."

APHIS enforces the HPA, a federal law that prohibits horses subjected to soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. The HPA also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. APHIS works with the horse industry to protect against such abuse and to ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.

“As tasked by Congress, the HPA’s ultimate goal is to completely end the inhumane practice of soring,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea.  “The recommended changes will ultimately help us end soring altogether by giving USDA direct control over the inspection process, and banning the use of certain equipment and training devices is allowed under existing regulations. We believe an independent pool of APHIS-trained inspectors, combined with a ban on inhumane training methods, will be a more effective deterrent to the cruel and inhumane practice of horse soring.” 

The proposed rule makes two significant changes: 

  • APHIS would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors.  The new cadre of inspectors would be veterinarians and veterinary technicians who would be required to follow APHIS rules and standards of conduct. 
  • APHIS would ban the use of all action devices, pads, and foreign substances at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.  This would align the HPA regulations with existing equestrian standards set forth by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, and will be available for public comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009.  It can be viewed online today at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.  Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Sept. 26.

Additionally, APHIS is announcing five public meetings to seek additional comments and feedback from the public.  Those meetings are scheduled for: 

Humane Society of the U.S. officials hailed the ruling, saying that it "contains significant reforms to end the cruel practice of horse soring – in which caustic chemicals, chains, hard objects, cutting and other gruesome techniques are used to injure the front legs and hooves of Tennessee walking horses, racking horses and related breeds. The goal of this abuse is to force the animals to perform an artificially high-stepping gait known as the big lick, which is rewarded in the show ring."

HSUS officials said the new proposed regulations fulfill a number of the requests in a February 2015 rulemaking petition that HSUS filed with USDA and are consistent with key elements of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R.3268/S.1121, including doing away with the failed system of industry self-inspections and banning the stacked shoes, chains and other devices that are integral to the soring process.

The PAST Act has 264 cosponsors in the House and 50 in the Senate, it was stated.

Keith Dane, senior advisor on equine protection for The HSUS, said, “While a handful of politicians doing the bidding of sorers have so far blocked passage of the PAST Act, horses are being tortured for competitions and the corrupt industry self-policing has lost all credibility. It’s time for all equestrians, animal lovers and humane-minded people across America to say enough is enough and support toughening the regulations.”


Accident At Red Riding Hood Trail Causes Substantial Power Outage At Lookout Mountain, Ga.

East Ridge Making Progress On Road Improvements; TPC Printing And Packaging Is Expanding

Woman Shot On Curtis Street On Sunday Afternoon


An accident on Red Riding Hood Trail has caused substantial power outage at Lookout Mountain, Ga., officials said. Red Riding Hood was closed between the intersections of Cinderella and Aladdin, ... (click for more)

Roads in East Ridge were the main topic under discussion at the council meeting. Money was approved for building new roads, repaving old ones and maintaining public access for another. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police were notified of a shooting victim at a local hospital on Sunday afternoon. Police responded at 1:35 p.m. to a call of a shooting that was said to have occurred near ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Accident At Red Riding Hood Trail Causes Substantial Power Outage At Lookout Mountain, Ga.

An accident on Red Riding Hood Trail has caused substantial power outage at Lookout Mountain, Ga., officials said. Red Riding Hood was closed between the intersections of Cinderella and Aladdin, officials said at 10:16 p.m. EPB was on-site and was planning to work through the night if necessary. (click for more)

East Ridge Making Progress On Road Improvements; TPC Printing And Packaging Is Expanding

Roads in East Ridge were the main topic under discussion at the council meeting. Money was approved for building new roads, repaving old ones and maintaining public access for another. Mayor Brian Williams announcedthat repaving, which has been needed and talked about for a long time was given approval by the East Ridge City Council at a meeting Thursday night. A paving contract ... (click for more)

Opinion

Neighbors Unite To Express Concerns About New Apartment Complex - And Response

Response to: Neighbors to Planned 708-Unit Apartment Complex Register Their Disapproval Clarifying the Record As a member of the large group who gathered to express their concerns about the proposed 708-unit apartment complex, I am writing to express my appreciation for and pride in our community. Our community is primarily made up of small, diverse, and unorganized neighborhoods. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Avoid Electric Cars Like The Plague

A Friday article on Chattanoogan.com read in part: “Chattanooga will be home to the nation’s largest electric vehicle ‘living testbed,’ thanks to $9.2 million in funding for a project proposed by the city and scientists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with municipal, private industry and research partners. Funding will come from a $4.5-million U.S. Department ... (click for more)

Sports

Lookouts Lose Third Straight To Montgomery

The Chattanooga Lookouts came home on a high note last Tuesday after winning five of six games on the road at Birmingham. That badly-needed momentum didn’t last long as the Montgomery Biscuits came to town this week and did the same thing, winning five of six and the last three in a row following Sunday’s 9-6 victory at AT&T Field. The Lookouts collected 11 hits and they ... (click for more)

WindStone Chosen As Host Site For 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Regional

Twelve golf facilities across the nation, including WindStone in Ringgold, Ga., have been named host sites for the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Regionals taking place in September. Nearly 200 teams of junior golfers ages 10-17 will enjoy two days of competition. Through PGA Jr. League, kids ages 17 and under learn and play golf on co-ed teams, wear numbered jerseys ... (click for more)