The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act – the horse industry’s top animal welfare priority – lays out a common-sense solution to prevent the continued practice of taking action on a horse’s limb to produce a higher gait that may cause pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness. The bill establishes a new system for inspecting horses for soring, revises penalties for violations of the Act, and modifies enforcement procedures.
In late July 2019, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “U.S. Sen. Joseph Tydings (PAST) Act” (H.R. 693) by a vote of 333 to 96. The horse industry is now focusing its efforts on the Senate, where Sens. Crapo (R-ID) and Warner (D-VA) have introduced S. 1007, legislation which includes provisions identical to the House version of the bill. Although S. 1007 has won more than 50 cosponsors since introduction in April 2019, Senate leadership has referred the legislation to the Commerce Committee, where it has not yet moved.
Status: While the horse industry congratulates the House of Representatives for its historic, bipartisan passage of H.R. 693, AHC urges senators to join the growing list of bipartisan supporters of S. 1007, and co-sponsor the PAST Act. AHC also urges the Commerce Committee to pass this common-sense equine welfare measure, as currently drafted.
Investigations in the European Union several years ago found that horse meat had been mixed with beef in food. This prompted concerns about the misleading sales of beef and concerns about the introduction into the food supply of medications and drugs that may have been in the horsemeat. These incidents have changed the focus of legislation introduced in Congress to prohibit the sale of horses or horsemeat for human consumption. While bills had been introduced in the last several Congresses to prohibit the slaughter of horses for food, more recent bills cited health concerns as the rationale for legislation dealing with the slaughter of horses for food. Although lawmakers have introduced bills every year in congress since 2001 to outlaw slaughtering horses, so far none has passed.
Status: In early 2019, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) re-introduced the SAFE Act of 2019 (H.R. 961) to prohibit the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and the export of horses for slaughter. The bill would make it illegal under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to knowingly sell or transport horses or parts of horses in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption. On January 29, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Committee conducted a hearing on “improving safety and transparency in America’s food and drugs,” panel members received testimony related to the bill. Although AHC has no formal position on this legislation, staff attended the hearing and will continue to monitor its progress on behalf of the membership
In March 2019, Reps. Tonko D-NY) and Barr (R-KY) reintroduced the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 1754). The bill would establish the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority as an independent, private non-profit corporation with responsibility for developing and administering an anti-doping and medication control program for Thoroughbred, Quarter, and Standardbred horses that participate in horse races; and the personnel engaged in the care, training, or racing of such horses. In June, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 1820, a companion measure in the Senate. On January 28, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Committee conducted a hearing on the bill and received testimony from a variety of witnesses. Although AHC has no formal position on this legislation, staff attended the hearing and will continue to monitor its progress on behalf of the membership.
“Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act” or the “PACT Act” was signed into law by President Trump on November 25, 2019. The bipartisan bill, which passed the House and Senate earlier in the year, will outlaw purposeful crushing, burning, drowning, suffocation, impalement or other violence causing “serious bodily injury” to animals. Violations could result in a fine and up to seven years’ imprisonment. The PACT Act has been cheered not only by animal welfare groups but also by many members of law enforcement who want federal tools. Without a federal ban, it’s hard to prosecute cases that span different jurisdictions or that occur in airports, military bases and other places under federal purview. The legislation outlines exemptions for humane euthanasia; slaughter for food; recreational activities such as hunting, trapping and fishing; medical and scientific research; “normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practice”; and actions that are necessary “to protect the life or property of a person.” AHC will monitor implementation of the new law.