This week, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) issued a joint statement of support for H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012.
“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 members of Congress and urge them to pass H.R. 6388.”
The bill, as written, would strengthen penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act and improve USDA enforcement of the act. Specifically, H.R. 6388 would:
- Make the actual act of soring, or directing another person to cause a horse to become sore, illegal;
- Require the USDA (rather than the industry) to license, train, assign and oversee inspectors enforcing the Horse Protection Act;
- Prohibit 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;
- Increase 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;
- Allow 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 AVMA’s Soring Resource Page. Materials include a video, factsheet, backgrounder, AAEP’s white paper and the AVMA’s and AAEP’s official positions on the issue.