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HSUS Tabs Rep. Yoho as Champion of PAST Act



The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been searching for a sponsor in the House of Representatives to re-introduce the PAST Act since the beginning of 2015.  Rep. Ted Yoho’s (R-FL) Communications Director, Brian Kaveney, confirmed that Rep. Yoho has agreed to introduce the controversial legislation, potentially as early as this week.

In the previous Congress, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced the PAST Act however the tactics used by Whitfield’s office, along with his wife and the HSUS landed Whitfield in hot water with his colleagues and he now faces ethics charges in front of the House Ethics Committee.  Whitfield’s wife, Connie Harriman-Whitfield is a paid lobbyist for the HSUS.

The decision by Rep. Yoho to introduce the pro-democratic legislation is an interesting one.  Rep. Yoho is a licensed veterinarian and in a meeting with industry representatives and Rep. Whitfield, he admitted that the pads and action devices did no harm to the horse.  However, the legislation he plans to introduce would ban the use of any pad, weighted shoe or action device.  Kaveney justified this stance by pointing out the bill would allow for therapeutic exemptions for some of the banned items.  That was not Rep. Yoho’s stance in the meeting held in 2014 as he plainly stated pads, action devices and weighted shoes did no harm to the horse in competition.

In the same meeting, Rep. Yoho assured industry representatives that he “would never support a Humane Society of the United States initiative,” but has now apparently changed course and will be the lead sponsor of one of the top priorities of the HSUS.

When asked about the HSUS involvement, Kaveney commented, “I believe the list of 270 plus supporters of the PAST Act including the Tennessean and Chattanooga Times Free Press are numerous enough to not pin one particular organization as the spearhead of this piece of legislation.”

Rep. Yoho also ran as a Tea Party Republican with an anti-big government stance yet the PAST Act takes enforcement completely out of the hands of private entities and turns all enforcement over to the USDA at a substantial cost to the taxpayer.  The apparent alliance of Rep. Yoho and HSUS goes against many of the values of the district Rep. Yoho represents and the major tenants of the Tea Party movement.

Kaveney concluded his comments, “He (Rep. Yoho) doesn’t view this issue as an overreach of the federal government.  As a veterinarian of 30 years, he feels this is a necessary move, considering this industry has had 40 years to self-regulate.”  What Kaveney did not mention is the USDA has been in charge of enforcement of the HPA, including conducting inspections at industry shows, since its inception.
 

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