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December 11, 2013

Priscilla Presley Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Protect Tennessee Walking Horses from Abuse

  • To produce an exaggerated gait, trainers inflict painful injuries on walking horses’ hooves or legs. Chad Sisneros/The HSUS

Priscilla Presley has put her support behind federal legislation to protect horses from lives of constant pain. She joins The Humane Society of the United States in urging Congress to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2013, H.R. 1518/S. 1406. The bill is critical to ending the cruel practice of “soring”—the deliberate infliction of pain to gaited horses in order to produce an unnatural high-stepping gait for competitions. 

Presley said: “Over the years, Elvis and I owned several Tennessee walking horses, and I know them to be gentle, graceful creatures. Today, 43 years after the passage of the federal Horse Protection Act that was intended to end the terrible practice of ‘soring,’ these horses continue to suffer at the hands of abusive trainers. I’m calling on Congress to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to finally end this torture.”

Tell Congress to protect horses by supporting the PAST Act

Keith Dane, vice president of equine protection for The HSUS, said: “The horse-loving public is fed up with the ‘Big Lick’ subculture of cruelty and deception, and the PAST Act holds the key to bring that abuse to an end. We welcome Ms. Presley’s voice to the chorus of support for the bill, and we urge Congress to act promptly to pass it.”

The PAST Act—introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., in the House and Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va. in the Senate—would amend the Horse Protection Act, which Congress enacted in 1970 to stop soring. The PAST Act will 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.

Presley adds her voice to a cast of noted horse-loving celebrities and horse industry professionals who previously expressed their support of the bill. Celebrities who have endorsed the PAST Act include: fitness expert Jillian Michaels; pop singer Ke$ha; singer-songwriters Emmylou Harris,  Lynn Anderson and Mary Ann Kennedy; actors Wendie Malick, Viggo Mortensen, Kelly Carlson, Loretta Swit, Alexandra Paul, and Dawn Olivieri; television personality Jenna Morasca; and director/author Joe Camp.

Horse industry professionals who have endorsed the PAST Act include: top riders Georgina Bloomberg and Karl Mikolka; Olympic equestrians Steffen Peters and Jan Ebeling; natural horsemanship expert and clinician Pat Parelli, horse trainer and author Monty Roberts; trainer, clinician and author Leslie Desmond; host of “Unbridled,” Susan Kayne; and host of “Best of America by Horseback,” Tom Seay.

The bipartisan legislation been cosponsored by 244 Representatives and 28 Senators and has the support of a diverse coalition of horse industry, veterinary, and animal protection organizations, including the American Horse Council, American Saddlebred Horse Association, United Professional Horsemen’s Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

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

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