Fresh calls to end ‘deliberate torment’ of Tennessee walking horses: US senators unite across parties

  • Almost half the US Senate has joined forces to call for “swift action” to end the “deliberate torment” of soring.

    Led by Michael Crapo and Mark Warner, 48 senators from both political parties have written to agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to publish a rule developed under him during the Obama administration.

    H&H reported in 2017 on the rule, which was aimed at stamping out the barbaric practice of “soring” Tennessee walking and other horses; using physical and chemical means to cause pain and exaggerate the horses’ movement into the high-stepping “big lick” gait.

    It was hoped the rule would have “eliminated a failed system of industry self-policing and the use on Tennessee walking horses and racking horses of devices integral to soring”, but it was put on hold when Donald Trump took over as president and has not been resurrected.

    Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said: “It’s long past time for USDA to strengthen its weak regulations to stop one of the worst cruelties imaginable – where scofflaw trainers deliberately torment horses to get them to fling their front legs high, just to win a ribbon in a show ring.

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    “It’s like forcing an Olympian to train with broken glass in her shoes so the pain will make her leap higher over the hurdles. Secretary Vilsack was trying to fix this in January 2017 and now he can do so straight away, as this strong bipartisan letter urges him to do.

    “We commend Senators Crapo and Warner for their outstanding leadership and all the legislators who joined this crucial effort.”

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