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

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Alabama Ladies Auxiliary Horse Show postponed

    The 9th Annual Alabama Walking Horse Ladies Auxiliary Show, scheduled for May 2, will be postponed due to the fact of the Morgan County Celebration Arena not being available and to the current situation with COVID-19... Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Collector's Mindy

    Collector’s Mindy passed away April 3, 2020 following severe health complications that could not be resolved. Foaled on June 1st, 1995 this 25-year-old mare was special right from the start, sharing her birthday with her owner/rider Amy Ann McCormick... Read More
  • Celebration makes plan for Spring Fun Show

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration continues to make plans to hold the Spring Fun Show on its traditional Memorial Day weekend date. This year that date would be May 21-23. Given the uncertain status of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on events, the Celebration continues to also look at contingency plans. Read More
  • Germantown Charity cancels annual show

    It is with heartfelt disappointment that the Germantown Charity Horse Show must announce the rescheduling of our June 2-6, 2020 show. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the 72nd Annual Show is rescheduled to June 8-12, 2021. Read More
  • Obituary – Jim H. Ellis, Jr

    Mr. Jimmy "Jim" H. Ellis, Jr. age 50 of Orrville, passed away on April 1, 2020 at Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma. He was born February 2, 1970 to the late Jimmy H. Ellis, Sr. and the Mildred Martin. Read More
  • A letter from the TWHBEA President

    First, let me say how proud I am to be part of this industry and Association. From the trainers along with Tony Edwards and others setting up and feeding those affected [by] the tornado in Nashville, to FAST providing gift boxes to our friends in the medical field... Read More
  • Medical Professional Salute: Joyce Marie Claxton

    The Walking Horse Report would like to thank you for your service to our nation, our communities and our Walking Horse Industry as we all try and deal with this pandemic that our country is facing... Read More
  • Obituary – Ruby Bilbrey

    Mrs. Ruby Bilbrey passed from this life on Wednesday evening, surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Overton County, Tennessee on November 21, 1931 to the late Charlie & Hessie Stover Parrott. Ruby was a 1953 graduate of Livingston Academy and a member of the Free Communion Church of Christ.  Read More
  • Upper Cumberland cancels show

    The Upper Cumberland Walking Horse Show, scheduled for May 9, at Hyder-Buks Pavilion in Cookeville, Tennessee, has been canceled. TTU has canceled all events at Hyder-Burk’s through the middle of May. Read More