November 19, 2015
What You Can Do to Stop Soring
End the cycle of cruelty in the Tennessee walking horse community
Soring is the practice of deliberately causing pain by applying chemical irritants, heavy metal chains and other devices to horses' front legs to force them to produce a high-stepping gait that wins ribbons and recognition at horse show competitions.
Soring was outlawed in 1970 by the federal Horse Protection Act, but it continues to be widespread in the Tennessee walking horse community, thanks to weak enforcement.
Here are six steps you can take steps to stamp out soring.
1. Get the facts
- Learn more about soring »
- Read about The HSUS's latest undercover soring investigation at a top Tennessee stable and an earlier investigation that led to federal charges against a renowned trainer »
2. Support the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act
Call and write to your U.S. senators and representative, and ask them to increase enforcement funding of, and close loopholes in, the Horse Protection Act by passing H.R. 3268/S. 1121, the PAST Act. Let them know it's time to fix the broken enforcement system that permits people to to flout the Horse Protection Act. You can use our sample letter as a guide to help you write your letter.
3. Take your message to social media
Facebook: Post on your legislators' Facebook pages, urging cosponsorship of the PAST Act to end soring. Already cosponsors? Thank them for their support!
- Eg. "Please cosponsor the PAST Act to protect horses from soring!"
- "Thanks for cosponsoring the PAST Act to protect horses from soring!"
Post the PAST Act action alert on your Facebook page—then post on your friends' pages too!
- Eg. "It's time to end soring! Please take action and share! #PassthePASTAct https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6675&s_src=fb_eqpost111215"
Twitter: Tweet at your legislators and urge them to cosponsor the PAST Act to end soring. Already cosponsors? Thank them for their support!
- Eg. ".@joesmith Please cosponsor the #PassthePASTAct"
- ".@joesmith Thanks for cosponsoring the #PassthePASTAct"
Be sure to use #PassthePASTAct in your message to connect with other advocates!
4. Report abuse; publicize the tip line
- If you witness soring at a stable, training barn or horse show, immediately report it to the horse show inspection authorities, your local law enforcement agency or the USDA Information Hotline, 202-720-2791. You may be eligible for The HSUS's reward.
- Be sure to follow up after the initial contact to make sure your complaint was registered. If you have additional questions or concerns, call our tip line: 855-NO-SORING (855-667-6746).
- Download and print our soring tip line flyer (PDF). Post it in barns, at shows or anywhere that members of the Tennessee walking horse community will see it.
5. Speak out in the media
- Write an op-ed or letter to the editor of your local newspaper, television station or horse industry publication.
- Draft your own letter or download and personalize our sample letter »
6. Inform the general public
- Post copies of The HSUS's fact sheet on soring in your veterinarian's office, your stable, tack shop or feed store.
- Use your Facebook page or Twitter feed to share links to The HSUS's investigative video, "Tennessee Walking Horses: Cruelty Behind the Scenes" and soring fact sheet.
7. Educate the equestrian community
- If you ride horses, talk to friends and fellow riders. Let them know that soring is not only inhumane and illegal, but also, sadly, widespread. Ask them to join you in sending letters to lawmakers urging vigorous enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
- At your local horse show, 4-H event or Pony Club rally, set up a display, including a poster illustrating the soring process and samples of chemicals used for soring: diesel fuel, hand cleaner, mustard oil and kerosene. Play our investigative video on a laptop or iPad.
- At events and around the barn, hand out copies of our soring fact sheet, and ask people to contact their legislators to demand an end to soring.
- Spread the word that The HSUS is offering a reward for tips on people who sore horses.