As a Kentuckian, I support HR 1518/S 1406, the PAST Act, which will reform the federal Horse Protection Act to end the torturous practice of "soring" walking horses for the sake of a high-stepping show gait. This anti-crime bill will increase penalities, ban devices used in the soring process, and give the USDA the tools it needs to enforce the law and finally end the abuse. I'm proud that Congressman Whitfield, who has the courage to take a stand against this cruelty, is the original sponsor of the PAST Act.
I am dismayed that Sens. McConnell and Paul caved to the scant supporters of the grotesque "Big Lick" spectacle, and cosponsored Sen. Lamar Alexander's sham "alternative bill." Alexander's bill codifies the failed self-regulation scheme, fails to provide any meaningful deterrents to violators, and leaves the devices used to torture horses in place. In short, it preserves the abusive status quo.
Sens. McConnell and Paul have turned away from the interests of law-abiding horse industry participants and the welfare of Kentucky's horses in favor of a small cult of lawbreakers in the walking horse show circuit. They should ditch Alexander's bill and join Rep. Whitfield in protecting horses and the horse industry.