Letter: Protecting horses

April 27, 2014 

As a walking horse trainer and enthusiast, I support HR 1518 / S 1406, the federal PAST Act, which will reform the federal Horse Protection Act to end the cruel horse "soring": a horrifying practice in which trainers pursue the exaggerated "Big Lick" gait by burning horses' legs with caustic chemicals, or wedging hard objects into the tender soles of their feet. It's well-documented that this illegal, barbarous treatment persists throughout the Tennessee walking show horse industry, and it's time for the practice of torturing horses to win prizes at horse shows to end.

The PAST Act will end the failed industry self-policing system, ban the devices that are part and parcel of the soring process, and crack down on perpetrators of the abuse with heightened penalties. I'm proud that my senator, Mike Crapo, has already signed on as co-sponsor to this important legislation.

I urge Rep. Labrador and Sen. Risch to join Sen. Crapo and the bipartisan group of more than 300 other co-sponsors, and to urge House and Senate leadership to move the PAST Act forward and bring it to a vote. This anti-crime legislation isn't expected to cost taxpayers additional money, and horses deserve strong protection from this torturous practice.

NYA BATES, Melba

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