Animal torture is animal abuse, no matter the reason it is perpetrated. For those of us who love horses, the problem is soring. Soring is an abusive practice in which trainers pursue the artificial “Big Lick” gait by burning horses’ legs with caustic chemicals, or wedging hard objects into the tender soles of their feet: torturing gentle horses for the sake of a blue ribbon at a horse show. It’s repulsive, it’s prohibited, and it’s well-documented that these actions continue throughout the Tennessee walking show horse industry.
The abuse is reprehensible and the breed’s reputation is tarnished by the failure of a small but resolute criminal segment of the industry to change. As an animal advocate, I am disappointed that Senators McCain and Flake as well as Rep. Salmon are not yet cosponsoring the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S.1406. The PAST Act will end the shady industry self-policing system, ban the use of devices associated with soring, and boost penalties to more effectively crack down on this abuse. It’s even supported by our own Arizona Veterinary Medical Association. The time has come for this criminal activity perpetuated on innocent horses to end and I ask my representatives to take a stand against crime.