Start of Gaited Horse Show Season Heightens Commitment by AVMA, AAEP and USDA to End Abusive Practice of Soring
Schaumburg, IL - Soring, illegal for more than 40 years, is the abusive act of intentionally inflicting pain on gaited horses through the use of chemical irritants, broken glass wedged in between a horse's shoe pads and sole, or overly tightened metal hoof bands. The extreme pain caused by these abuses forces the horse to lift its legs faster and higher, perhaps increasing its chance of winning in show rings across the country.
"It's time for this egregious form of animal cruelty to end," says Dr. René Carlson, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors are doing everything possible to detect evidence of soring before horses are allowed to compete.
Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, USDA inspectors are only able to attend a small number of the shows being held. It is going to take a team effort to put an end to the inhumane practice of soring horses, so America's veterinarians stand in support of government regulators and the walking horse industry in their horse protection efforts," said Carlson.
In 2011, the USDA documented 587 violations of the Horse Protection Act while attending only 62 of the 650 or so gaited horse events held that year.
The USDA cited participants in the 2011 National Trainers' Show with 49 violations of the Horse Protection Act - the third highest number of violations for a single USDA-inspected show that year.
Prosecution of violators has met strong political opposition, challenging USDA's efforts at enforcement and creating an environment where recidivism is the norm.
"For that reason, America's veterinarians are standing right beside USDA inspectors in urging the strengthening of the Horse Protection Act. Everyone -- inspectors, judges, trainers, riders and even spectators at these shows must take responsibility for ending soring. A zero-tolerance policy being promoted by these shows would set a significant tenor for the entire show season," Dr. Carlson added.
To assist in the return of the walking horse gait back to its natural beauty, the AVMA has created an educational video