Soring is the act of intentionally inflicting pain on a horse's legs or hooves to make them perform in a high-stepping, artificial gait. The act of soring is most often seen in Tennessee Walking Horses that are show horses, though the inhumane act is also inflicted on other gaited breeds like spotted saddle horses and racking horses.
To help end this cruel practice, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is asking Congress to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. The AVMA notes that soring continues to be pervasive in the Tennessee Walking Horse show ring, where judges reward the awkward gait the horse adopts from the pain, called the “Big Lick” gait.
Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided some funding in an effort to reduce soring, people who sore their show horses have become adept at hiding the evidence of their cruelty. Additionally, the people inspecting the horses at shows are not employed by the USDA; many of them are industry insiders who have no reason to enforce the anti-soring laws.
If implemented, the PAST Act will provide the USDA with additional resources and the enforcement mechanisms needed to end soring; inspectors would have no affiliation with the Tennessee Walking Horse show industry and would be licensed by the USDA, with would give preference to veterinarians.
Read more at Veterinary Practice News.
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