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U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Josh Gottheimer Champion Passage of Anti Horse Cruelty Legislation in a Landslide, with 333 Votes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96. U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Josh Gottheimer, Chris Smith, Donald Norcross, Jefferson Van Drew, Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr., Mikie Sherrill, and Bonnie Watson Coleman – the entire House Delegation from New Jersey – voted in support of the measure.


The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses.  Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses' front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses' hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the "Big Lick," has plagued the equine world for six decades.


The bill had been blocked for years by a handful of well-placed lawmakers, but a new House rule, championed by Rep. Gottheimer and the House Problem Solvers Caucus that was implemented in January, now triggers consideration of any measure that attracts 290 or more cosponsors brought the issue to the floor. The PAST Act attracted 308 cosponsors and was led by U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Veterinary Medicine Caucus, along with Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ron Estes (R-KS), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Chris Collins (R-NY). The Senate companion bill is led by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and has garnered 40 cosponsors. 


 "We applaud the New Jersey House delegation for voting to pass the PAST Act, and we thank Chairman Frank Pallone for his key role in the passage of this bill 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. "The entire New Jersey delegation's support of the bill is a powerful signal to the Senate that it should saddle up and end this cruelty to horses once and for all."


"This bill has received endorsements from hundreds of equine and veterinary organizations, including more than 60 state and national horse groups and all 50-state medical veterinary associations," said U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ-06). "I thank Representative Schrader for his continued leadership and it's time that Congress pass this legislation and put an end to soring once and for all."


"New Jersey is home to thousands of companion, show, and sport horses. I believe we need to do all we can to protect horses from cruel practices like soring," said U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) . "That is why I was proud to co-sponsor the bipartisan PAST Act and I commend Congressman Schrader on his leadership combating this issue."


 "Horse soring is a cruel, unethical and illegal practice that has thrived because of lax enforcement for far too long," said U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). "Unfortunately, certain horse trainers have taken advantage of the system, failed to self-police and are forcing horses into a lifetime of suffering. As a longtime supporter of animal rights, I know that it's well-past time we take action and finally end this abuse."


The PAST Act, under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Pallone,  would ban the use of painful large stacked shoes and ankle chains and would also eliminate the existing system of self-regulation by the industry and toughen penalties for violators of the Horse Protection Act. It's supported by Animal Wellness Action, the American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation, National Sheriff's Association, and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association.


See what Members of Congress from across the nation have to say about the PAST Act by clicking here for our landing page.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.


Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that's why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don't. We believe helping animals helps us all.

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