“…horses are subjected to chemical or mechanical irritants to enhance their gait…”
USDA‘s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing regulation changes to revise and strengthen the Horse Protection Act regulations to better protect horses from the cruel and inhumane practice of soring.
Soring is when certain gaited breeds of horses are subjected to chemical or mechanical irritants to enhance their gait and provide a competitive advantage in shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.
The new proposal would change current regulations to make two significant changes:
- USDA would train, license, and screen all horse inspectors. Currently, horse industry organizations handle these responsibilities. Under the proposed rule, inspectors would be independent veterinarians or animal health technicians who are licensed by USDA and have no affiliation with any horse industry organizations. USDA would oversee this new group of independent inspectors.
- USDA would prohibit the use of all action devices, pads, and foreign substances that may be used to sore horses. Action devices include: boots, collars, chains, or rollers that are placed on a horse’s lower leg to accentuate the animal’s gate. Pads (or weights) are often stacked and inserted between the hoof and shoe and then tightened in place with metal bands around the hoof. In reference to foreign substances, the rule would prohibit chemical irritants such as mustard oil, diesel fuel, kerosene, and lubricants.
The proposed changes would bring the Horse Protection Act regulations into alignment with existing standards established by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
The public is invited to weigh in on this meeting. Public meetings will be held throughout the country, for people to come and offer additional comments. To find the locations and register to attend, you can go here.