Belmont Stakes Horse Racing

For decades horses have endured torture to their front legs for the sake of a special gait. Some SC representatives voted against H.R. 693 which ended the practice.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96, last week.

The measure seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses' front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses' hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the "Big Lick,” has plagued the equine world for six decades.

Ninety-five of the 96 individuals who voted against the PAST Act were Republicans. The other was an Independent. Three South Carolina representatives were among those who would have seen horse soring continue. They are Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman and William Timmons.

Local representative Tom Rice voted in favor of the measure.

“We applaud Reps. Budd, Walker, Price, McHenry, Hudson, Butterfield, and Adams for their key role in overwhelmingly passing the PAST Act to end this barbaric and indefensible practice that has marred the horse show world for decades,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “The landslide vote in support of the bill is a powerful signal to the Senate that it should saddle up and end this cruelty to horses once and for all.”

“For too long, these beautiful creatures have been severely abused and mistreated. The use of corrosive chemicals, chains, screws and nails on horses should end.” - Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-06), Vice Chairman of the U.S. House Republican Conference.

The PAST Act would ban the use of painful large stacked shoes and ankle chains and would also eliminate the existing system of self-regulation by the industry and toughen penalties for violators of the Horse Protection Act. It's supported by Animal Wellness Action, the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff’s Association, and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association.

The PAST Act has been blocked for years by a handful of well-placed lawmakers, but a new House rule triggering consideration of any measure that attracts 290 or more cosponsors brought the issue to the floor. PAST attracted 308 cosponsors.