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USDA Adopts New Rule To Crack Down On The Abusive Soring Of Gaited Horses.

FINALLY – a federal regulatory victory for show horses subjected to the cruel practice of soring! 

After decades of effort by advocacy groups, a new USDA rule to combat horse soring was adopted! The rule closes the loopholes in the outdated 1970 Horse Protection Act and will finally crack down on the abusive soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited breeds (soring = to make sore). Trainers illegally sore horses by inflicting chemical and mechanical pain to the forelegs and hooves which forces horses to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait in the show ring known as the “Big Lick.”

The new rule bans all action devices and weights and eliminates the failed, self-policing of inspections by the horse show industry. The South, including Georgia, is a hotspot for soring. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners fully support the new regulations.

Many thanks to those who submitted public comments to the USDA/APHIS!

For more information:

AVMA position statement on horse soring:

Final USDA/APHIS Rule (2024):

A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses (2021):

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