The Big Lick’s Ban
The USDA announced changes to the Horse Protection Act that may prove monumental toward ending the abusive practice of soring.
The new rule bans the use of stacks, chains, and other cruel devices. It also eliminates what critics call a corrupt inspection process that allowed potential abusers to enforce the law.
Soring has been illegal under federal law for more than 40-years. Some horse trainers continue to use the barbaric method in the “performance” or “big lick” segments of the Walking Horse industry. Soring is the act of causing pain to a horse via chemicals or action devices in order to change the horse’s natural gait.
“Horse soring is a stain on Tennessee’s reputation… today’s move by the USDA begins to wipe that stain away,” Wayne Pacelle, of The HSUS, said. “Hurting horses so severely for mere entertainment is disgraceful, and I put this abuse in the same category as dogfighting or cockfighting…”
Opponents of the rule change have said their horses’ value would dimish without the ability to use stacks and chains.
The changes are being published in the Federal Register in the coming days. The ban of action devices, along with the training and licensing of new inspectors will be effective 30 days after the publication.
The rest of the rule will be effective January 1, 2018.