|00:00:00||IMPORTANT TIMELY ISSUE AFFECTING THE HORSES OF OUR COUNTRY.|
|00:00:03||IT'S CALLED SOARING.|
|00:00:04||SOARING IS THE ACT OF DELIBERATELY CAUSING PAIN TO EXACERBATE THE LEGS.|
|00:00:14||DESPITE BEING ILLEGAL FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS, IS STILL FAR TOO OFTEN BY MANY OWNERS AND TRAINERS TO WIN IN THE SHOW RING.|
|00:00:21||TODAY I HOPE THAT I CAN PERSUADE YOU, MY FELLOW MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, TO TAKE INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE, TO OPPOSE THIS CRUEL AND ILLEGAL PRACTICE AND TO INCREASE THE SUPPORT FOR THE USDA'S HORSE PROTECTION PROGRAM.|
|00:00:33||HORSES ARE SOARED IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT WAYS.|
|00:00:36||COST OF MATERIALS SUCH AS KEROSENE OR MUSTARD OIL ARE APPLIED TO THE LOWER LEG.|
|00:00:41||THIS MAKES THE HORSE'S LEG SENSITIVE SO UNCERTAIN CRUEL DEVICES SUCH AS CHAINS ARE PLACED AGAINST IT CAUSES SEVERE PAIN, CAUSING THE HORSE TO LIFT ITS LEG HIGH AND EXAGGERATING THE GAIT.|
|00:00:55||AND ALSO TRIMMING THE HOOF EXCESSIVELY, INSERTING DEVICES BETWEEN THE SHOE PADS AND THE SOLE OF THE HORSE AND FRANKLY IMPROPER SHOEING TECHNIQUES.|
|00:01:06||NO MATTER THE TECHNIQUE, ITS PURPOSE IS TO CAUSE THE HORSE PAIN SO IT LIFTS ITS LEG HIGHER AND FASTER.|
|00:01:13||WHILE TRAINING MAY -- MANY HORSES RECOVER FROM THAT HARM, OTHERS SUFFER IRREVIRSIBLE HOOF DAMAGE.|
|00:01:26||THE MENTAL DAMAGE DONE TO THE HORSE CAN MAKE ITS REHABILITATION DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE.|
|00:01:32||SOARING IS SO EGREGIOUS IT'S BEEN ILLEGAL IN THIS COUNTRY FOR OVER 40 YEARS.|
|00:01:38||THE HORSE PROTECTION ACT WAS PASSED IN 1970.|
|00:01:41||SO WHY, 40 YEARS LATER, ARE WE STILL HAVING THE SAME CONVERSATION?|
|00:01:44||THE PROBLEM LIES WITHIN THE CULTURE OF SOME OF THOSE IN THE WALKING HORSE INDUSTRY WHERE UNETHICAL TRAINERS, UNETHICAL OWNERS NOT ONLY CONTINUE THIS PRACTICE BUT USE TRICKS TO DECEIVE DETECTION.|
|00:01:56||SUBSTANTIAL FINANCIAL GAINS COME FROM WINNING HORSE SHOWS AND THIS MAKES SOARING APPEALING TO MANY UNSCRUPULOUS OWNERS AND TRAINERS.|
|00:02:03||IT IS A SHORTCUT THAT OVERSHADOWS THE BALANCE AND COLLECTION SEEN IN THE BEAUTIFUL NATURAL MOVEMENT OF HORSES THAT PERFORM TRACK AND GATES.|
|00:02:14||THESE GATES CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT SOARING BY INVESTING PROPER TIME, TRAINING AND CONDITIONING ON THE HORSE.|
|00:02:19||THE HORSE PROTECTION PROGRAM AT USDA SERVES AS A REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT FOR THE HORSE PROTECTION ACT.|
|00:02:24||UNFORTUNATELY, DUE TO BUDGET CONSTRAINTS, USDA INSPECTORS ONLY ATTEND A SMALL FRACTION OF THE SHOWS.|
|00:02:30||IN 2011, USDA DOCUMENTED 587 VIOLATIONS OF THE ACT WHILE ATTENDING ONLY 62 OF THE 600 TO 700 SHOWS HELD THAT YEAR.|
|00:02:42||FISCAL YEAR 2012 WAS THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE HORSE PROTECTION PROGRAM THAT IT ACTUALLY RECEIVED MORE THAN $500,000 IN FUNDING.|
|00:02:50||IN FEBRUARY OF THIS YEAR, BARNEY DAVIS, A TRAINER, WAS CONVICTED OF SOARING AND SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN PRISON AND FINED $500,000.|
|00:02:58||IN MARCH, JACKIE MCCONNELL AND THREE OF HIS ASSOCIATES WERE CHARGED WITH 52 COUNTS OF VIOLATING THE HORSE PROTECTION ACT.|
|00:03:07||THESE RECENT CHARGES, INCLUDING THE FIRST TWO CONVICTIONS IN TWO DECADES UNDER THE U.|
|00:03:12||S. HORSE PROTECTION ACT HAVE BROUGHT INCREASED ATTENTION THIS HORRIBLE ABUSE.|
|00:03:17||THESE INDICTMENTS AND PROSECUTIONS ARE LONG OVERDUE AND APPLAUD U.|
|00:03:20||S. ATTORNEYS AND USDA CIVIL SERVANTS WHO COURAGEOUSLY WORK TO END THIS PRACTICE.|
|00:03:26||BUT ADEQUATELY FUNDING THE HORSE PROTECTION PROGRAM HELPS TO REDUCE THE PREVENTION OF THIS PRACTICE.|
|00:03:35||IT IS SERIOUS THAT THE HORSE PROTECTION FUND BE ADEQUATELY FUNDED AND END THIS CRUEL PRACTICE.|
|00:03:41||FINANCIAL BACKING MUST BE SUPPORTED, NOT HAMPERED BY THIS CONGRESS.|
|00:03:45||THE AMERICAN VETERINARIAN ASSOCIATION CONDEMNED THIS FOR OVER 40 YEARS.|
|00:03:50||I CALL FOR A STOP TO THIS HEINOUS ABUSE OF AMERICA'S HORSES.|
|00:03:53||WE IN CONGRESS NEED TO STAND UP AS WELL, SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS EGREGIOUS FORM OF ANIMAL CRUELTY.|
|00:04:00||IT IS TIME FOR SOARING TO END.|
|00:04:02||AND I YIELD BACK.|
|00:04:04||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN YIELDS BACK.|
|00:04:06||THE CHAIR RECOGNIZES THE GENTLEWOMAN FROM SOUTH DAKOTA, MS.|
|00:04:09||NOEM, FOR FIVE MINUTES. MS.|
Mr. SCHRADER. Madam Speaker, today I rise to discuss an important and timely issue negatively affecting the welfare of the horses of this great country. It's called ``soring.'' Soring is the act of deliberately causing pain to exaggerate the leg motion of high-gaited horses, such as Tennessee Walking Horses.
This inhumane practice, despite being illegal for almost 40 years, is still used far too often by many owners and trainers to win in the show ring. Today, I hope I can persuade you, my fellow Members of Congress, to take interest in this issue, to oppose this cruel and illegal practice, and to increase the support for the USDA's Horse Protection Program.
Horses are sored in several different ways: Caustic materials, such as kerosene or mustard oil, are applied to the lower leg. This makes the horse's leg sensitive so that, when certain cruel devices like chains are placed against it, it causes severe pain, causing the horse to lift its leg high in an exaggerated gait. There are other common approaches also, like trimming the hoof excessively, exposing sensitive tissues, inserting devices between the shoe pads and the sole of the horse and, frankly, improper shoeing techniques. No matter the technique, its purpose is to cause the horse pain so that it lifts its leg higher and faster.
While rest and training may allow some horses to eventually recover from that harm, others suffer irreversible hoof damage and are actually crippled for life. The harm caused by soring is not just physical. The mental damage done to the horse can make its rehabilitation difficult, if not impossible.
Soring is so egregious that it has actually been illegal in this country for over 40 years. The Horse Protection Act was passed in 1970. So why, 40 years later, are we still having the same conversation? The problem lies within the culture of some of those in the walking horse industry, in which unethical trainers and unethical owners not only continue this practice but use tricks to deceive detection. Substantial financial gains come from winning horse shows, and this makes soring appealing to many unscrupulous owners and trainers. Soring is a shortcut that overshadows the balance and collection seen in the beautiful natural movement of horses that perform racking gaits. These gaits can actually be achieved without soring, rather by investing the proper time, training, and conditioning on the horse.
The Horse Protection Program at the USDA serves as regulatory enforcement for the Horse Protection Act. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, USDA inspectors only attend a small fraction of the shows. In 2011, USDA documented 587 violations of the act while attending only 62 of the 600 to 700 shows held that year. Fiscal year 2012 was the first time in the history of the Horse Protection Program that it actually received more than $500,000 in [Page: H2820] funding.
In February of this year, Barney Davis, a Tennessee trainer, was convicted of soring, fined $4,000, and was sentenced to a year in prison. In March, nationally known trainer Jackie L. McConnell and three of his associates were charged with 52 counts of violating the Horse Protection Act. These recent charges, including the first two convictions in two decades under the U.S. Horse Protection Act, have brought increased attention to this horrible abuse.
These indictments and prosecutions are long overdue, and I applaud the U.S. Attorneys and USDA civil servants who have courageously worked to end soring. Yet adequate funding of the Horse Protection Program is critical for the enforcement of this act and for the prevention of this abusive practice. It is imperative that USDA's Horse Protection Program be adequately funded, ensuring the end of this cruel practice. Financial backing must be supported, not hampered, by this Congress.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has condemned soring for over 40 years. I join my fellow veterinarians across America in calling for a stop to this heinous abuse of America's horses. We in Congress need to stand up as well and speak out against this egregious form of animal cruelty. It is time for soring to end. END