Success: USDA Announces Rule to End Show Horse Mutilation

Target: Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Applaud decision to create a stricter law against horse soring, a process where horses’ legs are intentionally mutilated.

The USDA recently announced a strict new rule that will protect horses from soring, a process where the legs of Tennessee walking horses and other related breeds are mutilated to create a high-stepping gait. This is done for horse shows, where the exaggerated gait is prized by judges. To induce this unnatural gait, caustic chemicals are placed on the animals’ hooves and legs, severely burning them and causing extreme pain. While soring is illegal, it is currently very easy for trainers to get around the law. The USDA’s new ruling will make it much harder for trainers to use soring on their horses.

When the USDA’s new rule goes into effect on January 1, 2018, trainers will no longer be able to use stacks and chains on Tennessee walking horses. These barbaric tools cause even more pain while the horses legs are being burned by chemicals. The chains are also attached to the horses’ hooves, giving them the prized gait.

Most of the chemicals used in horse soring are already banned, but they are still often used by trainers. This is because trainers are allowed to self-police under the current Horse Protection Act (HPA). To combat this, the USDA’s new rule states that licensed Horse Protection Inspectors will investigate horse trainers to ensure that soring is not taking place. The managers of HPA-covered events will also have to submit records of their events to the USDA.

This victory for show horses comes after years of tireless work from animal advocates  and members of the ForceChange community, who signed petitions like this one. This success is a huge win for horses, but there is still more work to be done. The USDA needs to ensure that this new rule goes through and into effect during President-elect Trump’s time in office. Sign this petition to thank the USDA for protecting horses from senseless pain, and to urge them to be vigilant in ensuring that the rule goes through during the Trump presidency.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Thank you for creating a new, stricter rule against horse soring on Tennessee walking horses and other related breeds. While this process is illegal, it is currently easy for trainers to get around the rule. Your new rule explicitly bans many of the devices used in horse soring, including chains and stacks. The new rule also fixes many of the faults in the Horse Protection Act, ensuring more rigorous protections for the animals.

As you know, horse soring is an extremely cruel process used to induce the high-stepping gait trainers strive for. This gives trainers an unfair advantage at shows, while causing unnecessary pain for the horses. Your new, stricter horse soring law will save countless horses from this gruesome treatment. Thank you for standing up for show horses. Now, I urge you to ensure that this ruling goes into effect under the Trump administration.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mary B

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  1. Rosslyn Osborne says:

    After I saw my very first video clip of how the Tennessee Horses achieved their famous high step, I have never ever been able to watch these animal perform. I was sickened by the heinous torture of the beautiful animal. I was sickened by the judges at shows who would have known this was happening and yet continue to ignore the horror, and judge them.
    I sincerely hope and pray that every single ‘loop-hole’ is shut tightly and minimum jail sentences of ten years with huge fines and never being able to be near any equine species again is set in place for the perpetrators caught.
    I ask this in the name of all those innocent horses whose lives were a living hell and their death silenced.
    Thank you.

  2. It’s about frigging time! Yeah victory for horses!!!!

  3. Carol Haviland says:

    How about the use of ‘ginger’ in the anal area of the horse to raise the tail?
    That too should be ruled out. Very painful.

  4. Chris Siddall says:

    If the judges are aware of this practice then it follows that the owners/riders were also aware. This should STOP

  5. Nona VanDamme says:

    Not till 2018? questionable USDA can police this. USDA was not able to follow the regs in the horse slaughter plants in Cavel and Dallas Crown before they closed. NO pregnant or blind horse or foal under age 6 months was to be on that slaughter floor. what a joke, their method was turn away if we dont see it, we dont have to do any thing.AND millions are owed THE USDA from the inhumane horse transporters and after years and years THEY still have not collected the fines. So USDA is going to stop soring? its more the judges that have to step up to the plate too. Not celebrating yet..

  6. Who comes up with such dumb-ass ideas? This is totally unacceptable, stupid & cruel. This includes the idiotic mutilation of cutting a dogs ears & tail so that he raises the low esteem of owners! Get a life your brainwashed morons! Cut off your nose – you may look better to us!

  7. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Glad to learn this, however, I believe it when I see it❗????
    Signed & shared ????

  8. Christine Jones says:

    Was good news, but not any more. President Trump has withdrawn the rule. Not to say it won’t be reinstated, but I’m not holding my breath. Very disappointing.

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