WASHINGTON—Animal protection organizations are reacting to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report that evaluated methods of detecting horse soring and that underscores the urgent need to eliminate the current system of self-policing in the Tennessee walking horse industry. Soring is the cruel practice of intentionally inflicting pain on the legs and hooves of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds to force the exaggerated show ring gait known as the “big lick.”  The report is the culmination of a thorough study lasting over a year conducted by veterinarians and other experts in animal health and behavior brought together by the National Academies. 

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, reacted to the report with the following statement:

“The recommendations on methods of detecting horse soring underscore the need to eliminate the failed system of industry self-policing that has enabled this cruel abuse for decades. Though some in the Tennessee walking horse industry hoped that the study would enable them to continue their abuse, the National Academies have delivered a thorough report that recognizes palpation as the gold standard for detection of soreness, embraces an enhanced rule on scarring and offers other constructive proposals designed to achieve more robust enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. Last year, we fought off attempts to enact an eleventh-hour proposal floated by the sorers and a group they teamed up with, which would have blocked these recommendations and other vital reforms provided for in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 anti-soring rule that we’re urging the Biden administration to swiftly reinstate. The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority of members of the House of Representatives approved in the last Congress, goes even further to protect horses, and we’ll be championing its passage in the 117th Congress.”

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