Tennessee delegation divided on the PAST Act

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Lawmakers on Capitol Hill recently delivered a blow to horse soring. That’s the practice of using chemicals, pressure or devices to cause pain to the front feet and legs of horses when they touch the ground, and found to be used on Tennessee Walking Horses.

Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN) says the practice of horse soring needs to stop in his state. (Source: Gray DC)

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted on legislation that would increase penalties if a horse is found to be a victim of the abusive technique, eliminating these horses from competition for extended periods of time.

The PAST Act also creates a new inspection system under the Department of Agriculture, creating teams of experienced individuals, sending them in to inspect these horses. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) helped lead this effort as an original cosponsor. He says the practice needs to stop.

“I wish we all cared about animals and understood that these techniques are barbaric and cruel and we’re against them for any animals,” said Cohen.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) says this legislation is too broad. He says folks in the industry care about these animals and thinks this legislation does not reflect that.

“I think it does not address the realities of the industry. And it comes from the standpoint that they actually think there are major abuses going on when there are not,” said Fleischmann.

The PAST Act is awaiting passage in the Senate. Lawmakers are on recess for the rest of summer.

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