Decembers to Remember

In the world of horse rescue there are several dates that everyone should note. These are dates

that stand out as milestones in the effort to protect our nation’s equines.

Horse Protection Act of 1970 – passed by Congress and became effective December 9, 1970,

this Act is supposed to prevent the exhibition of ‘sored’ horses. This is particularly geared towardsCongress

Tennessee Walking Horses (TWH) that are often treated cruelly in order to make their beautiful

gaits more animated in the show ring. The use of caustic liquids, chains, and other harsh methods

has been a decades long disgrace in the TWH show world. The Law was amended in 1976 to

allow non­Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors to enforce the provisions of the Horse Protection

Act. Sadly, soring of walking horses continues today, but a stronger bill known as the Prevent All

Soring Tactics (PAST) bill has been introduced as companion bills to both the House and Senate.

The PAST Act, if passed by Congress, will forbid trainers from using action devices, including

metal chains and stacks and pads (also known as performance packages). In addition, it will

increase federal penalties for anyone soring a horse. It will also require the USDA to assign a

licensed inspector if any TWH show management indicates its intent to hire one.

For a list of all the House and Senate co­sponsors and other information about this bill, click here


The Wild Free­Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92­195) – Spearheaded by

Velma Bronn Johnson (Wild Horse Annie), this Act recognized free roaming horses and burros as

the living embodiment of the pioneering west and a part of the American culture. The Act was

signed by President Nixon on December 18, 1971. Several parts of the Act have been amended

in 1976 and 1978, but it remains a seminal victory in efforts to curb the abuse of our nation’s free-
roaming horses and burros.

Although many can argue about the effectiveness of the law and the continued round ups of

mustangs, the fact remains that this 1971 Act was a significant step towards bringing the plight of

mustangs to the attention of the American public.

Perhaps, during this season of giving, you will consider making a donation to one of the many

equine rescues and sanctuaries on our list of ‘liked’ pages. It is a great way to honor those who

worked to improve the welfare of equines in the U.S.

(Janey H. is the Resource Editor for Horses Without Homes Magazine)

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