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June 8, 2009

New Video Exposes Tennessee Walking Horse Cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States released a new video exposing the extreme suffering endured by some Tennessee Walking Horses. Known for their distinctive gait and willing natures, these and other gaited horses have long been victims of a cruel method of training known as soring.

Soring is the intentional infliction of pain to a horse's feet, using caustic chemicals and metal chains, which produce an exaggerated, high-stepping gait. This artificial gait is prized in some Tennessee Walking Horse shows, primarily among Big Lick trainers and judges.

Soring is so cruel that in 1970, Congress passed the Horse Protection Act and gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to inspect horses at horse shows, sales and exhibitions for signs of soring, and to prosecute individuals found in violation of the law. However, enforcement of state and federal anti-soring laws has been thwarted by political pressure from industry insiders, allowing the practice to persist.

"This deliberate infliction of pain upon these defenseless creatures is blatant animal cruelty. It is brutality in the name of entertainment — opposed by horse advocates and many responsible leaders in the industry — and it must be brought to an end," said Keith Dane, The HSUS' director of equine protection. "This new video will inform the public, the media and members of Congress of this inhumane practice and put violators on notice that their criminal abuse of horses will be exposed."

To see the video, click here

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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