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USDA Proposal to Strengthen Horse Protection Act

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seeks public input on a proposed rule to strengthen Horse Protection Act requirements. Announced last week, the proposed changes aim to eliminate horse soring, a cruel and inhumane practice that gives horse owners and trainers an unfair advantage in walking horse competitions.

Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but to be more successful in competitions, some owners and trainers use improper training methods to exaggerate a horse’s gait. The methods may cause the horse to suffer from physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving.

USDA’s Jenny Lester-Moffitt says, “By strengthening the HPA regulations, we can all work to eliminate soring, which will improve the welfare of horses competing in these shows and level the competitive playing field.” You can submit comments by searching for the proposal at

APHIS will consider all comments received on or before October 20, 2023.

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