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Letter: Ayotte helps the horses

I join with New Hampshire horse lovers to say thank you to Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her support and advocacy for the federal “PAST” Act.

The bipartisan Prevent All Soring Tactics Act successfully passed through the Senate Commerce Committee last month and has an excellent chance of becoming law.

Horse “soring” is the brutal and barbaric practice of intentionally injuring or disfiguring a horse’s legs in order to cause severe pain so that the animal will prance and step higher in competition. The injuries are caused by caustic chemicals, or by physical restraints such as improperly fitted shoes or chains.

Soring has been illegal since the federal Horse Protection Act was passed in 1970, but due to chronic underfunding, the USDA has not been able to adequately enforce the law. A system of self-policing using “Designated Qualified Persons” is in place, but it is not effective.

A normally compassionate person could never condone such a practice, but soring is still quite common among Tennessee walking horses, racking horses and spotted saddle horses.

The PAST Act would eliminate self-policing by Horse Industry Organizations, prohibit the use of all soring devices and increase penalities from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Please call Ayotte’s office or send her a note today to thank her for her courageous leadership efforts to protect our gentle and beloved equine friends.

JEAN SLEPIAN

Stoddard

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