A pair of Congressmen have once again introduced legislation that would amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which forbids soring, to stiffen penalties for those convicted of the practice.
Introduced on March 30 by Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), HR 1847, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, would increase penalties for those convicted of violating the HPA. It would also forbid trainers from using action devices, performance packages, stacks, and some chains in training and performance. The legislation would also require the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if Tennessee Walking Horse show management indicates intent to hire one.
The legislation is identical to the measure Yoho introduced in 2015, but which never became law.
Meanwhile, on March 2, Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) intrudoced HR 1338, the Horse Protection Amendments, a PAST Act alternative. The bill, which mirrors legislation previously introduced by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), would amend the HPA to establish new testing criteria for horses protected under the legislation. In addition, the measure would establish new inspection protocols, based on veterinarian input, which would be administered by a single Horse Industry Organization.
Finally, said DesJarlais Spokesman Brendan Thomas, HR 1338 is intended to protect Tennessee Walking Horses and the industry. That bill remains pending.
The reintroduction comes after a new USDA rule which, among other things, bans the use of action devices in the sale and exhibition of Tennessee Walking Horse and Racking Horses, approved just before former-President Barack Obama left office was frozen by executive order when President Donald Trump took office. Such freezes are frequently imposed when a new administration takes office so new department heads can review unpublished regulations, policy-related statement, budgets, and relevant legislation.
The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is reviewing HR 1847.