Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan-Backed Bill To Prevent Horse Abuse Passes U.S. House

Jul 25, 2019
Press Release
Cracks Down on “Soring”-- the Maiming of Horse Legs for Shows, Competitions. “We need to end this inhumane practice”



WASHINGTON -  The U.S. House today passed legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) to prevent the practice of deliberately and permanently maiming a horse’s foot, ankle or leg in order to make them perform better at horse shows and competitions.

“The practice of horse “soring” is nothing less than animal torture,” Buchanan said upon passage of The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. “We need to end this inhumane practice by making clear that anyone who abuses horses in this manner will be prosecuted.”

The practice of intentionally inflicting pain on a horse in order to achieve an exaggerated prance-like stride has been illegal for over 30 years. But shockingly, the law allows the Tennessee walking horse industry self-policing authority, which has allowed the abhorrent practice to continue. An undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States showed trainers at a major horse farm in Tennessee soring horses by burning them with chemicals, using heavy chains, and unnatural horse shoes. The PAST Act would end the self-regulating system and strengthen criminal penalties against those who abuse horses.

In 2018, Buchanan urged Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to strictly enforce all Horse Protection Act laws.

Last week saw big wins for Buchanan’s animal protection agenda. The U.S. House passed Buchanan’s Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act (RAWR Act), which allows the State Department to offer rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of wildlife traffickers around the globe. Buchanan also held a press conference with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) to urge passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which now has more than 275 bipartisan cosponsors. The PACT Act outlaws and makes it easier to prosecute those involved in the gruesome killing of animals. Also last week, Buchanan was honored by the Humane Society for his work to end the dog and cat meat trade.

Buchanan, co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, received an A rating from the Humane Society for his leadership and votes in 2018. He is also a past recipient of the Humane Society’s “Legislator of the Year” award. He recently opposed the Interior Department’s announcement that it would move to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species protection.

His strong record of defending animals also includes opposing weakening protections for the Florida manatee and panther, as well as urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore a database of animal cruelty information that the department removed suddenly and without notice.