Tennessee Walking Horses

Horse shoes are shown during a news conference, ahead of a House vote on a bill that would prevent Soring in training Tennessee Walking horses on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Horse soring is when humans intentionally injure horses' hooves or legs to make them step higher, creating an exaggerated gait known as the "big lick."

It is mainly practiced on Tennessee Walking Horses and similar breeds with naturally lofty gaits in order to win judges' favor at competitions. Alabama's state horse, the racking horse, also is a common victim of soring.

This cruelty is done by driving nails into their hooves, pouring caustic chemicals such as lye and acid, on their legs and feet. Forcing them to wear large, stacked shoes and ankle chains for years on end causes irreparable damage to their bones, joints and ligaments.

Some caring legislators introduced the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics), which would amend the Horse Protection Act to end the failed system of industry self-policing and use of these cruel devices and establish felony penalties for this cruel practice.

I am so disappointed that my U.S. representative, Markwayne Mullin, voted against this bill to prevent the cruelty of horse soring.

What kind of person would condone this needless cruelty? What kind of mind would want this to continue?

Thankfully, there were enough humane, sane representatives to pass it. I am just disappointed that my representative voted no, and you should be too.

Remember this at the polls.

Editor's Note: The PAST Act, H.R. 693, was approved by U.S. House in July by a 333-96 vote to expand regulation of practices that produce a higher gait in horses' limbs that cause pain, distress, inflammation and lameness.  It would establish a new inspection system for soring and expand enforcement at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions. It would increase fines from $3,000 to $5,000 and extend prison sentences from one year to three years.

The Oklahoma House delegation split the vote along partisan lines: Rep. Kendra Horn voted for the measure; Reps. Kevin Hern, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Mullin voted against. A Senate version of the bill is pending. 

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.

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