WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96. Bipartisan North Carolina U.S. Reps. Ted Budd, Mark Walker, David Price, Patrick McHenry, Richard Hudson, G.K. Butterfield, and Alma Adams – all cosponsors of the measure – voted in support of the bill. U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, also a cosponsor of H.R. 693, changed his position by joining Reps. George Holding, David Rouzer, and Virginia Foxx in the anti-animal protection vote against the measure.
The measure seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses’ hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the “Big Lick,” has plagued the equine world for six decades, and is exhibited throughout the Tarheel State and highlighted at the North Carolina Championship Horse Show in Fletcher each October.
“We applaud Reps. Budd, Walker, Price, McHenry, Hudson, Butterfield, and Adams for their key role in overwhelmingly passing the PAST Act to end this barbaric and indefensible practice that has marred the horse show world for decades,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “The landslide vote in support of the bill is a powerful signal to the Senate that it should saddle up and end this cruelty to horses once and for all.”
“The PAST Act will ensure we have a more efficient system in place to protect them [the horses] from inhumane and cruel suffering. I thank my friend, the vet from Florida for his work and let you know that our Tennessee Walkers thank you as well.” – Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC-13), who championed the PAST Act on the House floor
“For too long, these beautiful creatures have been severely abused and mistreated. The use of corrosive chemicals, chains, screws and nails on horses should end.” – Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-06), Vice Chairman of the U.S. House Republican Conference
“Unfortunately, the cruel practice of horse soring still exists today. This legislation provides the much-needed oversight and enforcement to ensure that this abusive practice is put to an end.” – Rep. David Price (D-NC-04), a cosponsor of the legislation since it was originally introduced in the 113th Congress
“I am pleased the House passed the PAST Act with strong bipartisan support today,” said U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “This legislation will close loopholes that enable the cruel practice of “soring” horses. I thank Rep. Schrader for being a champion of animal welfare issues and building on the legacy of my late friend, Senator Tydings. I urge Senator McConnell to take up this bipartisan legislation without delay.”
The PAST Act would ban the use of painful large stacked shoes and ankle chains and would also eliminate the existing system of self-regulation by the industry and toughen penalties for violators of the Horse Protection Act. It’s supported by Animal Wellness Action, the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association.
The PAST Act has been blocked for years by a handful of well-placed lawmakers, but a new House rule triggering consideration of any measure that attracts 290 or more cosponsors brought the issue to the floor. PAST attracted 308 cosponsors, and was led by U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL), cochairs of the Congressional Veterinary Medicine Caucus, along with Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ron Estes (R-KS), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Chris Collins (R-NY). The Senate companion is led by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) has garnered 40 cosponsors.