WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) released the following statement commending the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement on Monday of proposed changes aimed at ending the practice of horse soring – the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ feet to achieve the high stepping “big lick” gait:
“For several years I have worked to raise awareness of the inhumane practice of horse soring. The USDA’s proposal yesterday comes as welcome news in this effort and incorporates two significant portions of a bill I originally helped sponsor to combat these cruel practices.
“Under the proposal, the USDA would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors. The current system relies on the practice of self-policing that has proven both ineffective and corrupt. In fact, the USDA’s own Office of Inspector General concluded in a 2010 audit that the current inspection program was not effective in preventing abuse.
“Second, the new proposal would align the Horse Protection Act regulations with mainstream equestrian standards by banning the use of action devices, pads, and foreign substances at events. These devices have been condemned by the veterinary community and leading horse industry groups as playing an integral part in horse soring and cause pain and damage to the horse’s feet.
“I look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack to finalize these proposed rules so we can rid the industry of these bad actors. There is absolutely no reason for these cruel practices to continue as these violators cast a dark shadow on the beauty of this magnificent breed.”
Click HERE to view a letter Whitfield led to Secretary Vilsack in 2014 on the subject of horse soring.
Click HERE to view the official press release from the USDA.