AAEP, AVMA call for passage of H.R. 6388 — Amendments to the Horse Protection Act
October 16, 2013
On Nov. 19, 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners issued a joint statement of support for the Amendments to the Horse Protection Act, H.R. 6388.
"Soring is an unconscionable abuse of horses that is used to produce a high-stepping gait – the "Big Lick" – and gain an unfair competitive advantage in the show ring. For decades we've watched irresponsible individuals become more creative about finding ways to sore horses and circumvent the inspection process, and have lost faith in an industry that seems unwilling and/or unable to police itself. The AVMA and AAEP are committed to strengthening the USDA's ability to enforce the Horse Protection Act and ending this abuse for good. We strongly encourage
everyone who cares about the welfare of horses to contact their member of Congress and urge them to pass
H.R. 6388," said Dr. Doug Aspros, AVMA President.
Soring, by definition from the Horse Protection Act (HPA) passed by Congress in 1976, is: (edited for length)
"(A) an irritating or blistering agent applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse, (B) any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted on any limb of a horse, (C) any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or (D) any other substance or device has been used by a person on a limb of a horse and, as a result, such horse suffers physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving; such term does not include such an application in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse."
Specifically, H.R. 6388:
• Makes the actual act of soring, or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore, illegal;
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• Requires the USDA (rather than the industry) to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors enforcing the Horse Protection Act;
• Prohibits the use of action devices (e.g., boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device that encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse) on any limb of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle horses, or Racking horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions and bans weighted shoes, pads, wedges, hoof bands, or other devices that are not used for protective or therapeutic purposes;
• Increases civil and criminal penalties for violations, and creates a penalty structure that requires horses to be disqualified for increasing periods of time based on the number of violations; and,
• Allows for permanent disqualification from the show ring after three or more violations.
"The passage of H.R. 6388 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and significantly increase the effort to end the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horse," said AAEP President Dr. John Mitchell. "The AAEP encourages all veterinarians to contact their legislators to voice support for the bill and help end the cruel soring of these beautiful animals."
For more information on the AVMA and AAEP's efforts to stop this egregious abuse of horses, visit the AVMA's Soring Resource Page.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, KY, was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary
profession and horse industry.
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 82,500 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. For more information, visit http://www.avma.org. F