The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, by a vote of 333 to 96. U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) joined Reps. Steve Cohen, and Jim Cooper in a courageous vote for the measure that’s long been opposed by members of the pro-soring coalition such as Reps. Scott DesJarlais, and Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander.

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 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee is set crown a “Big Lick” World Grand Champion on Saturday night.

“We applaud Rep. Tim Burchett for his courageous vote to end the abusive practice of soring that runs rampant in Tennessee,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, lifelong Republican, and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “Quite honestly, I had lost all faith in the Tennessee Republican Party until Burchett cast his vote in support of the PAST Act. He is a true American hero, with real guts, and both the Tennessee Walking Horse and the great State of Tennessee are fortunate to have Burchett working to end the abuse that has marred the breed and the state for six decades.”


“Timing is ripe, and the majority of Americans want to see Congress work to protect these iconic American horses upon whose backs our country was built upon,” said Animal Wellness Advocate Priscilla Presley. “U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should swiftly schedule a vote on the PAST Act, and execute the will of the American people, and I call on him to do so!”


“The bottom line is you are either for animal cruelty, or you are against it,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), lead Republican sponsor of the House PAST Act.


“I support the humane treatment of all animals and remain committed to ending the cruel practice of soring,” said Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), lead Republican sponsor of the PAST Act in the U.S. Senate. “I appreciate the House’s movement on the PAST Act. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to see that the legislation moves in the Senate and that current animal welfare laws are enforced.”


The PAST Act 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, the American Quarter Horse Association, American Saddlebred Association and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association.

Check out what Members of Congress are saying about the PAST Act by clicking here.


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.