WASHINGTON—The Humane Society of the United States today honored two members of Congress as its 2021 Humane Horsemen of the Year: U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen and Brian Fitzpatrick. The award is presented on an annual basis and honors individuals who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to protecting American equines.
Reps. Cohen and Fitzpatrick have been tireless in their efforts to outlaw an abusive horse training practice known as soring and have been leaders in generating support among their colleagues for the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 5441). The two also continue to lead efforts to end the slaughter of American horses with their long-standing support of legislation banning the practice here in the U.S. and the export of horses for slaughter, including the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (H.R. 3355). Both bills are cosponsored by a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives because of their efforts.
They are longtime members of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, which works on a bipartisan basis to advance the passage of animal welfare legislation in the House.
Rep. Cohen, the lead Democratic sponsor of the PAST Act, has spoken out strongly against soring in his home state of Tennessee—one of the places the practice is most prevalent. Soring involves trainers burning, disfiguring and maiming the front legs and hooves of Tennessee walking horses and other related breeds to produce a pain-based, artificial high-stepping gait prized in some competitions. For their entire show lives, these gentle horses suffer from abject cruelty—all for a cheap blue ribbon.
“I appreciate the Humane Society of the United States recognizing my work preventing harm and promoting the safe treatment of horses—from the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses to the welfare of wild horses and burros in the West. It’s an honor to be named the Humane Society’s Humane Horseman of the Year,” stated Rep. Cohen.
Rep. Fitzpatrick, who is the Republican lead on the PAST Act, understands the importance of bipartisan support of animal welfare legislation and represents a district in which many horse businesses operate.
"I am truly honored to receive this year's Humane Horseman of the Year Award," said Rep. Fitzpatrick. "In this Congress, I will continue to champion this issue and advance both H.R. 5441, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would end the brutal abuse tactics used on show horses, and H.R. 3355, the Save America's Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, which would fully ban the transport of horses for the purpose of slaughter."
Keith Dane, senior director of equine protection at the Humane Society of the United States, stated, “We are pleased to honor Representatives Fitzpatrick and Cohen for their longstanding commitments to protecting horses. As a lifelong horseman and equine advocate, I am one of countless Americans who recognize and appreciate their dynamic work on behalf of horses.”
The PAST and SAFE Acts were recently heard by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and the Humane Society of the United States is urging leadership to move the legislation forward to a vote in the full House.