As a business person I appreciate the drive to de-regulate. Businesses are the engines of growth in our economy and it is important to ensure that there is an environment where they can thrive. This translates to high employment and better living standards for all. The problem now, though, is that in our President’s thrust for de-regulation, many things have gone on hold and are likely to be rolled back. One of them is the protection against Horse Soring.
Horse Soring is one of the most cruel abuses against horses in the name of profit. It includes placing shards of glass, nails and burning chemicals such as acid in the hoofs of Tennessee walking horses, and related breeds, to cause them to lift their legs high in an unnatural gait, called The Big Lick. The horses are then forced them to walk on four-inch stacks while chains bang against their sores to them to exaggerate their steps in front of judges of the shows.
Congress, in 1970, passed the Horse Protection Act in an attempt to outlaw this barbaric practice, but there were so many loopholes that it didn’t protect them. The HSUS, and veterinarian organizations everywhere, have been fighting this practice since the 1950s.
In 2010 the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a two-year study that exposed how trainers in the industry evade detection and continue to use horrific practices to attain the Big Lick. It concluded that stiffer penalties were necessary for offenders and an overhaul of the USDA’s regulations were necessary. The self-policing system in place clearly did not work. There was enormous bi-partisan support in the House and the Senate.
As a result of bureaucratic bungling, the Office of the Federal Register failed to publish the rule in a timely manner and the rule got swept up in a broader Trump administration policy to freeze any rulemaking actions still in progress. The USDA has now withdrawn this rulemaking action and the horse abusers are free to continue the abuses. This rule would have saved the horse by eliminating the failed system of industry self-policing.
This is a good example of why waving a wand of de-regulation does not work in every instance. There are too many unscrupulous animal abusers who can only be stopped by enacting laws to prevent their actions. If you agree, please call your Senator to let him/her know that you want Horse Soring stopped and to support any rules that would make this happen. These beautiful creatures need us to protect them. Click here to find your Senator’s contact information to make a quick call: Senator List