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October 11, 2012

Jillian Michaels, Emmylou Harris, Georgina Bloomberg Urge Support for Federal Legislation to Protect Horses from Abuse

Jillian Michaels, Emmylou Harris, Georgina Bloomberg and a cast of noted horse-loving celebrities and horse industry professionals have thrown their support behind recently introduced federal legislation, H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012.

The bill will significantly strengthen the Horse Protection Act, originally passed in 1970 to stop the cruel practice of “soring” – the deliberate infliction of pain to gaited horses in order to produce an unnatural high-stepping gait for competitions. The Humane Society of the United States is working with some of Hollywood’s celebrity advocates, famous equestrians and horse trainers in support of this vital legislation to protect horses from lives of constant pain.

Celebrities who have pledged their support include: fitness expert Jillian Michaels; singer-songwriters Emmylou Harris, Mary Ann Kennedy and Lynn Anderson; actors Kelly Carlson, Loretta Swit, Alexandra Paul, and Dawn Olivieri; television personality Jenna Morasca; and director/author Joe Camp. Horse industry professionals include: top rider Georgina Bloomberg; natural horse trainer Pat Parelli; trainer, clinician and author Leslie Desmond; host of “Unbridled,” Susan Kayne; and host of “Best of America by Horseback,” Tom Seay.

“An end to the cruel practice of soring is long overdue, and support for this bill is clearly widespread throughout the horse-loving public,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. “Strengthening the Horse Protection Act will give the federal government the tools it needs to crack down on unethical trainers and owners who continue their illegal ways of abusing horses to cheat and win blue ribbons and profits.”

H.R. 6388, introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., would end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of certain devices associated with soring, strengthen penalties, and hold accountable all those involved in this cruel practice.

Although the Horse Protection Act was signed into law more than 40 years ago, the systematic abuse of Tennessee Walking horses continues unabated. Trainers have devised a gruesome array of techniques to make these majestic horses lift their front legs extremely high in the prize-winning, unnatural gait known as “the Big Lick.” H.R. 6388 is needed to strengthen the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement capabilities and end this torture for good.  

View video from The HSUS’ undercover investigation into the Tennessee Walking horse industry here.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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