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 towards
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)