The End of Horse Soring? Change Is Coming!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 4:45pm

Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations

Last month, I told you about soring in the Tennessee walking horse industry and the illegal infliction of pain on the feet of horses using chemicals and devices to create an exaggerated gait. We have raised this cruelty crisis with high level officials and urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide stronger regulation of this abusive industry. In recent weeks, we've redoubled our efforts to push for change, and we are starting to see a response.

New rules released today by the USDA take an important step toward eliminating these unethical and cruel practices. The rules make it mandatory for the industry groups responsible for monitoring shows to issue fines and suspensions to those caught soring horses. We applaud this move because we know that mandatory fines send a signal to trainers who profit from torturing horses that their abuse will no longer be treated as business as usual.

What Else is Needed to Stop This Cruelty?
Many horse advocates and USDA's own Inspector General all agree that self-inspection won’t get the job done. Violations must be uncovered in order for fines and suspensions to occur. Industry oversight doesn't work and continuing a system of industry self-policing is likely to perpetuate the same problems. The facts speak for themselves: Even though USDA inspectors attended only 8 to 10% of shows in 2011, they found over half of all violations reported. We cannot rely on the industry to report its own misdeeds.

While the new rules are a true sign of progress and deliver a clear message that violations will not to be tolerated, industry self-regulation is not the long-term solution. It's time for Congress to finally take the power out of the hands of criminals. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to use your voice for these underprotected animals.

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Horses I would love to help thats jus cruel to do soring

CJ Mauger

Anything cruel is zero tolerance.

Leda Burdett Brown

The sentences are getting better, but in my opinion people who feel the need to hurt animals rank the same to me as child molestor! I could never have enough restraint as our fine officers who discover and live this each and every day. I never hestitate to rescue and call for suspension, bit I could never come face to face with the horrid individuals that do this!!

Sheila Vandergriff

High fines$$$$$$$$$


WTF! are you kidding me.... some people are just disgusting.

audreyonna dozier

does the sickness know no end


Could require that any horse who's going to be in a show be licensed at about $1000. This could (a) discourage people from showing their horses, and (b) provide funding to increase the inspections, investigations, etc. Then when someone is found guilty, a very punitive fine on the order of $5000 (I think this would require some big changes, as cruelty cases have in the past been treated almost like misdemeanors).


why discourage people from showing their horses? i used to show my horses and i can assure you that the majority of horse show participants love their horses and treat them like royalty. the problem lies with those few individuals that dont. a better solution is a lifetime ban on riders, trainers, and owners of horses that are found to have been sored. it wont stop them from doing it, but they could only get caught once. another solution would be to ban all artificial methods of altering a horses natural gait in the ring... including pads.

Ami Miller-Smith

the only answer, in my opinion, to this whole soring issue is not fines, it's <STOP AWARDING THE HIGHEST STEPPING HORSES!> if the high stepping horses were not winning, people would have no reason what so ever to sore their horses. it's not rocket science people! fines wont stop them, due to people will threaten to hurt or kill the inspectors if they dont pass their horses to show. (ive heard of this happening) along with people will find new ways to pass inspections. also, pads serve no purpose on these horses too. i mean would you want to jog around for 4 or 5 minutes straight (or longer), wearing 4-5 inch platform shoes, lifting your knees as high as you can, along with 20%-30% of your body weight being carried on your back?!! no one would want to do that, so why make those horses? bottom line, the only way to stop this to these horses is for the breed associations to put a stop to the winning horses being the highest steppers, along with do away with the stupid pads!!! changing the rules, changes the treatment of the horses. why cant the horses just go natural?

Stacy shafer

This must be stopped'