Skip to content

USDA Proposes Changes to End the Inhumane Practice of Soring



Editor's Note:  The following is a press release from USDA.  Click here to view the USDA released Fact Sheet on the proposed rule.

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2016--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced proposed changes to strengthen enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and end inhumane practices known as soring, which cause horses to suffer physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving.

APHIS enforces the HPA, a Federal law that prohibits horses subjected to soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. The HPA also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse and to ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.

“As tasked by Congress, the HPA’s ultimate goal is to completely end the inhumane practice of soring,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea.  “The recommended changes will ultimately help us end soring altogether by giving USDA direct control over the inspection process, and banning the use of certain equipment and training devices is allowed under existing regulations. We believe an independent pool of APHIS-trained inspectors, combined with a ban on inhumane training methods, will be a more effective deterrent to the cruel and inhumane practice of horse soring.” 

The proposed rule makes two significant changes:

APHIS would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors.  The new cadre of inspectors would be veterinarians and veterinary technicians who would be required to follow APHIS rules and standards of conduct. 

APHIS would ban the use of all action devices, pads, and foreign substances at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.  This would align the HPA regulations with existing equestrian standards set forth by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

 The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register July 26, 2016, and will be available for public comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009.  It can be viewed online today at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.  Consideration will be given to comments received on or before September 26.

Additionally, APHIS is announcing five public meetings to seek additional comments and feedback from the public.  Those meetings are scheduled for: 

Tuesday, Aug. 9 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Wednesday, Aug. 10 in Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, Aug. 16 in Sacramento, Calif.
Tuesday, Sept. 6, in Riverdale, Md.
Wednesday, Sept. 15, a call-in virtual public meeting.

More information about those meetings – including how to participate – can be found on the Animal Care website at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/horse-protection-amendments

Comments may also be submitted either by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009 or by postal mail/commercial delivery to: Docket No. APHIS-2011-0009, Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD, 20737-1238.  Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov website and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 799-7039

More Stories

  • Honors loves all

    A huge crowd met Honors and Larry Edwards at the Celebration Saturday evening, Sept. 2, 2017, at the meet and greet for 2016 WGC Honors in front of the Blue Ribbon Club on the final night of the Celebration. Read More
  • WGC A Gin To Win visits TN State Fair

    Friday, September 15th, Abernathy Stables traveled to the Tennessee State Fair to exhibit current Three-Year-Old World Grand Champion, A Gin To Win. The Tennessee State Fair has been going on for more than 150 years and this year the Fair’s theme is “Tennessee Proud.” Read More
  • Celebration announces host hotel for Tunica Fall Classic

    The Celebration is pleased to announce that they have selected The Gold Strike Resort and Casino to again serve as host hotel for the Tunica Fall Classic, scheduled for November 2-4, 2017.  Read More
  • Bob Nelms passes away

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Bob Nelms. Mr. Nelms is the father of walking horse trainer, Robert Nelms of College Grove, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Maverick fights his way to the top

    He’s had a solid, steadily upward moving career that’s landed him so close more than once. Finally, the nine-year-old stallion — with the help of his tenacious owners, a dedicated trainer, and a supporting staff of many — earned the roses. Read More
  • McConnell honored as Trainer of the Year

    Many would say that this trainer loves his profession and has a lifetime of dedication promoting this great breed. This gentleman has trained and shown some of the best horses that this industry has ever seen. He is a master showman that enters the show ring with a competitive spirit and passion to win. Read More
  • Goodness Gracious - Maverick Helps Bring Back That Feeling

    In a word … enthusiasm. That’s how many described the overall sentiment and success of this year’s 79th annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, where classes were deep, quality was high and even history was made while tradition preserved. Read More
  • Thomas honored with humanitarian award

    In conjunction with the family of the late Evan Lloyd Adamson, The Celebration presented one of its most prestigious awards, the Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award, to Mark Thomas. The award is named in honor of the former Celebration ringmaster, association member, and director.  Read More
  • Farewell to number 1026

    We have an honored tradition at the Celebration. It’s time to pay tribute to an individual who is living part of Celebration history. Tonight, we again mark history, as we have for all previous World Grand Champions. We officially retire this back rider number from further Celebration competition.  Read More
  • Auxiliary honors U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais

    Each year the Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary presents its merit award to someone who is actively helping the walking horse industry. This year, that award is presented to Congressman Scott DesJarlais.  Read More