The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed changes to the 1970 Horse Protection Act to “end inhumane practices known as soring, which causes horses to suffer physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving.”
The changes would give the USDA more direct control over the policing process to help completely end the inhumane practice, according to the rule.
“Soring is when they take the horses and put chemicals on their legs and wrap plastic around them so they burn,” said U.S. Humane Society District 8 Leader Volunteer Peri Gallucci of Chelan. “The horses are forced to stand, and they’ll put chains on them.”
Horses are often left for days, and the abuse forces horses to lift their front legs unnaturally high in the show ring, known as the “Big Lick” gait, Gallucci said.
The 1970 Horse Protection Act struggled to put an end to the abuse because of the lack of oversight in the industry, Gallucci added.
“It was supposed to stop all this abuse, but it’s a self-policing industry,” Gallucci said. “The USDA rule will add training through the USDA, and they will also help regulate the industry. Another important part is this rule would not raise anyone’s taxes in order to do this.”
The USDA is asking for public comment on the proposed rule in order to move forward, with a deadline of September 26, 2016 for all comments. To provide feedback, visit the public comments page for the proposed rule.
“A lot of people don’t want to see, know or hear about issues like this, but it still happens whether you acknowledge it or not,” Gallucci said. “At this point in time it’s a turning point in history where people can participate and help protect the animals by sending a quick email.”
Gallucci said comments can also be sent to federal legislatures including Congressman Dave Reichert, Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray.
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)