A press release from the Animal Wellness Foundation last week celebrates the recent passage in the U.S. House of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, a measure designed to prevent a particularly cruel practice against certain show horses:
The PAST Act 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.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined as a cosponsor of the Senate companion bill on July 30th, S. 1007, led by the senior U.S. Senator from Idaho, Republican Mike Crapo, that mirrors the House passed legislation. Senator Cory Gardner has not cosponsored the Senate PAST Act but was formerly a cosponsor of the House bill when he served in the Lower Chamber in the 113th Congress. Colorado Governor Jared Polis was also a longtime supporter of the PAST Act during his time in the U.S. House as well.
“Soring involves cruel and intentional infliction of pain on a horse’s legs and hooves purely for sport,” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-02). “No horse should be made to suffer for competition. Though laws have been on the books for decades banning this inhumane practice, horse soring still runs rampant. The PAST Act would strengthen and improve current regulations and ensure that this practice finally comes to an end. I am proud to be a cosponsor of and advocate for this legislation because it is time for Congress to step-in and halt this brutal and unnecessary practice.”
The PAST Act passed by an overwhelming 333-96 margin. In the Colorado House delegation, the only member voting no was Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who has never in his career allowed distasteful optics to get in his benefactors’ way:
“We applaud the Members of the Colorado Delegation who voted 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. “We’re disappointed that Doug Lamborn sided with abusers, [Pols emphasis] but the landslide support for the bill is a powerful signal to the U.S. Senate that it should pony up and end this cruelty to horses once and for all.”
Folks, we’ll concede that we are not experts in the field of animal husbandry in general or horsekeeping in particular. But even a brief look at the practice of “soring” horses to produce this trademark showy gait suggests that it is extremely cruel, with only an anachronistic “benefit” to a class of people who are somehow able to enjoy watching an animal prance about oddly without an attack of conscience from the realization that the animal is prancing like that because it is in severe pain. Realizing that, “soring” lumps in with cockfighting and other such practices that are unambiguous animal cruelty and should most certainly be outlawed.
But apparently Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is down with animal cruelty? Perhaps a horse was mean to him as a child? Being on the losing end of such a lopsided vote to outlaw this barbaric practice makes it a question worth asking–even of El Paso County’s infamously uncouth but perennially safe dullard of a congressman.