first published in the September 2019 Equiery

by Carrie Hull, Publisher/Executive Director

Congress returns from August recess the first week of September. There are several bills on the agenda that have the ability to affect the horse community particularly equine welfare. After the US House of Representatives passed the historic Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 693) by a vast majority (333-96), it is imperative that we keep the momentum by contacting our US Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. The Senate version of the Bill (S. 1007) already has 43 co-sponsors. The PAST Act aims to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and finally end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. It should be noted that only one Maryland US Representative voted against the PAST Act in the House. Rep. Andy Harris had previously co-sponsored the bill, but he voted against its passage this year. Congressman Harris has not responded to The Equiery’s request for comment.

Again this session, the SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports) has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 961) and the Senate (S. 2006). The SAFE Act endeavors to end the export and transport of American horses, burros and other equines abroad to be slaughtered for human consumption. The Act also stipulated that horse slaughter operations (which have been closed domestically for years) will remain illegal in the United States. Currently, there are 167 co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives and 4 co-sponsors in the US Senate. Last year’s version of the bill (SAFE Act of 2018, H.R. 113) was co-sponsored by 219 Representatives.

Please consider writing your Representatives and Senators to ask them to support these bills. The passage of both bills will ensure help ensure the welfare of our Maryland horses for generations to come.