The FY2021 Agriculture Appropriations Package, scheduled for votes by the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations and the full Appropriations Committee this week, doubles to $2 million the funding for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 while maintaining the current ban on horse slaughter in the United States by defunding the inspection of horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil.
“We applaud Reps. Sanford Bishop and Jeff Fortenberry for their leadership of the subcommittee and for providing additional funding to enforce the 1970 law that made it a crime to intentionally sore the feet of horses at Tennessee Walking Horse shows,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action (AWA) and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association. “We're also pleased that their bill maintains the ban on the slaughter of our iconic American horses for human consumption in the U.S. The Congress must pass a ban on exports of live horses for slaughter, but the ban on U.S-based slaughter plants is a key part of the larger effort to stop horse slaughter throughout North America.”
AWA and the Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) have led the charge to eradicate the painful practice of soring–intentionally injuring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses' legs to achieve an artificial high-step known as the “big lick” that's prized in the Southeastern U.S., and worked to successfully pass the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act through the U.S. House in July of 2019. The increase in HPA enforcement funding will also help fund the PAST Act if the Senate approves the House bill and it becomes law.