Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 | 2 a.m.
As someone with immense respect for horses, I am appalled at the treatment of Tennessee walking horses, which are forced to perform the “big lick.” Trainers pursuing this artificial gait deliberately injure horses’ legs with caustic chemicals or jam painful objects into the tender soles of their feet in a practice called “soring,” all for the sake of a flimsy blue ribbon. This practice has been illegal for decades, but these so-called trainers have been finding loopholes around the law and its regulations, which are badly in need of an update.
The good news is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed a rule that would ban devices used in the soring process and abolish the industry’s failed self-policing system, replacing it with independent inspectors licensed and trained by the USDA.
I hope the USDA will move quickly to finalize this rule before the end of the Obama administration so we can finally end the cruel practice of horse soring. We all have an opportunity to speak for these majestic and gentle horses that are being abused by heartless trainers. Please submit your comments in support of this rule at humanesociety.org/hparule.