WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693 was approved in the House of Representatives by a vote of 333 to 96.

Previous versions of the bill failed to come to the floor for a vote. But a new rule requires measures with at least 290 sponsors to be move the measure to the Consensus Calendar and to a debate and vote on the House floor. On May 23, H.R. 693, secured its 290th cosponsor, triggering the new rule.

The measure amends the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 and crack down on the practice of "soring" Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses.

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“We applaud the House for overwhelmingly passing the PAST Act 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. “Today’s landslide vote is a powerful signal to the Senate that it should saddle up and end this cruelty to horses, that I've personally witnessed since childhood, once and for all.”

“I am pleased the House passed the PAST Act with strong bipartisan support today,” said U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “This legislation will close loopholes that enable the cruel practice of “soring” horses. I thank Rep. Schrader for being a champion of animal welfare issues and building on the legacy of my late friend, Senator Tydings. I urge Senator McConnell to take up this bipartisan legislation without delay.”

“Horse soring still runs rampant even though laws have been on the books for decades banning this cruel practice,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). “We gave folks a chance to self-police, but the abusive behaviors continued. The bill that was passed today will strengthen and improve current regulations by improving USDA enforcement, increasing civil and criminal penalties, and banning incentives to sore horses. This is a historic day and I am grateful for my colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this legislation across the finish line and for our equine athletes who provide us with inspiration and pleasure.”

“As a veterinarian and lover of animals, it is time we end the inhumane practice of horse soring. I want to thank House Leadership for bringing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act up for a vote today and my colleague and fellow veterinarian Rep. Kurt Schrader for championing this bill with me over the years,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). “The walking horse industry had plenty of time to self-police and change their ways, but they decided to press on. They have failed to take advantage of this opportunity and now it is time for horse soring to end.”

“The natural gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse is a wonder to behold and has long been revered by horse lovers,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), an original sponsor of the PAST Act. “The practice of soring — burning, cutting, lacerating — these beautiful creatures just to exaggerate their gate and win shows is beyond reprehensible.  I am so pleased that more than 300 House members are sponsoring The PAST Act. How we treat animals is a reflection of our national character. Today, we can be proud that the House has spoken loudly on behalf of the horses and those who love horses.” 

“My granddad would be so thrilled the PAST Act passed the House by such an overwhelming margin,” said Ben Tydings Smith, grandson of the late Senator Joseph D. Tydings. “He cared so deeply for these horses and I know he is probably looking down with a big smile on his face. On behalf of the Tydings family, thank you to all the sponsors, cosponsors, and Members of the House who voted to end soring and cement grandad’s legacy.”

A previous PAST Act was first introduced in 2013, but a few influential lawmakers blocked floor votes on the measure despite overwhelming support in both chambers. The sponsors of the bill named this year’s version after the late U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings (D-MD), who authored the Horse Protection Act of 1970 and worked for 48 years to close loopholes that the horse soring crowd used to complicate enforcement of the law. Tydings passed away last fall.

PAST is endorsed by hundreds of leading groups and individuals in the horse industry and veterinary, law enforcement and animal protection communities, including the American Horse Council, U.S. Equestrian Federation, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, the state veterinary organizations of all 50 states, key individuals in the Tennessee walking horse show world, National Sheriffs' Association, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and major newspapers in Kentucky and Tennessee (the states where soring is most prevalent).

The Senate companion bill, S. 1007, introduced in April by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Mark Warner,  D-Va., currently has 41 Senate cosponsors. The identical legislation was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in 2014.

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