A frame captured from video of a Humane Society of the United States investigation show the measures taken to produce the exaggerated stride of Tennessee Walking Horses. In the video, horses are struck with clubs, shocked and have their hooves treated with chemicals and mechanical devices.Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
On the heels of a televised Humane Society of the United States video showing abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, the federal government is moving toward stiffer, mandatory penalties for horse soring and other related violations.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that the agency will implement a new rule on July 9 requiring organizations that inspect horses to assess minimum penalties to violators of the Horse Protection Act, including violations from soring Tennessee Walking Horses.
Soring uses metal devices or chemicals that make the legs of Walking Horses extremely tender so they exaggerate their natural high-stepping gait.
Under the tougher rules, suspensions for one week to three years would bar show participation for violators and would apply not just to trainers, but also to horse owners, transporters and others associated with the horses’ abuse, USDA officials said.
Currently, horse show-based organizations licensed by the USDA and certified by the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service help the USDA in inspecting horses for soring and other violations.
The new rule would require the inspectors of those organizations to assess the same level of federally mandated penalties in any horse show they are inspecting.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.
Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...