The Horse Protection Act (HPA) was passed in 1970 by
Congress to eliminate the practice of soring by prohibiting the showing or selling
of sored horses.
The HPA outlines
procedures for inspections at horse shows and sales for compliance with the HPA
conducted by Designated Qualified Persons (DQP) or Horse Protection Inspectors
(HPI) who can find a horse in non-compliance and disqualify the entry from
Originally the HPA specifically mentioned three breeds of
horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddlehorses.
Under the Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service
(APHIS), which is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), proposed changes to the HPA , released on July 26, 2016, language has
been changed in reference to what breeds the HPA applies to, reading “Tennessee
Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and related breeds”. The language, in some
areas, even goes as far to say “Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, or
related breeds of horses that perform with an accentuated gait that raises
concerns about soring.”
Additionally, under the changes to the HPA, horse show
management assumes the responsibility to have 2 Horse Protection Inspectors
(HPI), and a farrier designated to assist with inspections, maintain all
records for 6 years (instead of the current 90 days) and provide a designated
inspection area (with APHIS regulated specifications) free of charge. APHIS
suggests these costs be passed down to the exhibitors in order to not put a
financial strain on the horse show.
What this means to you…
If the APHIS proposed changes to the HPA are enacted,
Saddlebreds, Morgans, Hackneys, Friesians, and any other breed of horse that
APHIS chooses, can be subject to the regulations of the HPA if APHIS feels that
there is evidence of soring taking place in that particular breed. In addition
to being no longer able to use pads, wedges, or bands in the breed’s shoeing,
this will open up said breed to random inspections at horse shows where HPIs,
who under the new amendments to the HPA, are trained by APHIS, and are not
required to be veterinarians or farriers, that will determine if an exhibitor’s
horse is sore and disqualify it from competition.
What can I do?
Report to Regulations.gov search “Horse Protection Act”,
and click on the comment box next to the heading “Horse Protection; Licensing
of Designated Qualified Persons and other Amendments” and leave a comment.
The comment period ends September 26, 2016.
For additional information and comment suggestions please