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MHC Legislative Blog
Your action is needed now to help end the cruel practice of horse soring!
 
The Maryland Horse Council has long supported the passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act in the US Congress. This act would prohibit the use of certain practices such as the use on show grounds of stacks, pads, action devices, and hoof bands on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and related breeds (such as Spotted Saddle Horses) that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring. Unfortunately, despite strong support from the horse industry, veterinary community, law enforcement and animal protection organizations (and the bipartisan co-sponsorship of a majority of both houses of Congress) the bill has yet to receive a vote. Now the US Department of Agriculture is stepping forward through its authority under existing federal law (the Horse Protection Act) to implement some important components of the PAST Act. USDA has decided to move forward with new regulations that will close loopholes in the current system of enforcement and go a long way to help eliminate soring.  The agency has put a proposed rule out for a public comment period of 60 days, ending on September 26, 2016.

The regulatory changes proposed in the rule include:
-          The elimination of the use on show grounds of stacks, pads, action devices, and hoof bands on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and related breeds (such as Spotted Saddle Horses) that perform with an accentuated gait that raises concerns about soring, and
-          The elimination of the system of industry self-policing, and in putting in place the implementation of a new system of independent third party inspectors trained, licensed and overseen by USDA APHIS personnel.

The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/26/2016-17648/horse-protection-licensing-of-designated-qualified-persons-and-other-amendments
 
Please make your voices heard by submitting comments on the proposed rule on the government website at this link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2011-0009
 
Also, USDA will be conducting a public meeting at  USDA-APHIS headquarters, 4700 River Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737; Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016; beginning at 9 a.m. Online registration is available here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/horse-protection-amendments
Anyone can also listen in or register to speak at the virtual meeting. 
 
Please take a moment to add your voice to end this cruel practice! Deadline for submitting comments is September 26, 2016.

 

Published in Legislative