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Industry must continue to pay attention to PAST Act



Calls to legislators are requested

By Sadie Fowler

In what has been a long fight, the PAST Act, which was first introduced to Congress in 2013, continues to be a focus of the animal rights movement — and with the change in leadership in the House of Representatives, it has the potential to be a much larger thorn in the side of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.  

With the change to a democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the PAST Act has new life with a chance to be moved forward through committee and to the floor for debate and a vote. The democrats enacted a new rule where as any bill with 290 cosponsors would be mandated to move through with committee with a hearing and vote.  

It is imperative that industry supporters voice their concerns about the PAST Act to their legislators and ask them to support alternative legislation, which has also recently been introduced by Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who represents our state in Congress.

Currently, the House version of the PAST Act has 188 cosponsors.  Industry participants must continue to call, email and write their elected officials to urge them not to sponsor this devastating legislation. 

To fully understand the potential impact of the PAST Act, please know this legislation would not only eliminate the equipment used by performance horses, but would also devastate all facets of the breed by making the burdens to host horse competitions virtually impossible.

Rep. DesJarlais has introduced an alternative piece of legislation, H.R. 1157 to amend the Horse Protection Act. DesJarlais’ bill calls for objective, science-based inspections to replace the current highly subjective methods, increased penalties for violators and for the creation of a single inspection entity and standard so that all Tennessee Walking Horses would compete fairly and with the same standard for welfare.  

The Horse Protection Act has its focus on the elimination of soring and the promotion of fair competition, which are the two tenants of DesJarlais bill.  

The PAST Act goes way beyond the intent of the Horse Protection Act will set a standard, starting with the walking horse, for the elimination of all show horses, regardless of the breed.  

Upon its initial introduction in 2013 by Rep. Ed Whitfield, documentation was released that showed Whitfield’s wife, an HSUS employee, along with other members of HSUS, actually drafted the PAST Act. Since that time,

Whitfield left Congress under an ethics investigation and the leadership at HSUS has been replaced because of allegations of misconduct by the previous leadership.

Please make your voice heard on this important matter.

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