Horse welfare advocates had reason to hope that horse soring would finally be banned forever, only to find out that they might have to wait a little longer.
That’s because in the final days of the President Barack Obama’s administration, the Department of Agriculture had finalized regulations to update the Horse Protection Act. The regulation was to go into effect on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, when it was published in the Federal Register. However, when President Donald Trump took office Friday, he issued a memorandum that all unpublished rules were to be put on hold and sent back to their respective agencies.
“They pretty much put a hold on it,” Keith Dane, senior adviser for equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States, told USA Today. While he was hopeful the Trump administration would review the regulation, he also admitted, “It’s certainly possible the administration could decide to take no action."
According to The Horse Fund, an advocacy dedicated to protecting equines says that soring is "a painful practice used to accentuate a horse's gait. This is accomplished by irritating the forelegs through the injection or application of chemicals or mechanical irritants." For years, organizations, including the AVMA and AAEP, have pushed to make the practice illegal, only to be met with setbacks time and time again.
Dane, however, remains hopeful that the regulation will be approved. He believes the next agriculture secretary, either former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue or someone else, can push the bill to be finalized and published.
"Clearly the USDA wanted this rule to move forward,” Dane said. “But by the time they announced it had been finalized and the potential deadline to get it published before the new administration came in, something failed to happen.”