THETA, TN – The Tennessean Washington Bureau Chief Paul Barton is closely following the progression of the PAST ACT as the days tick down on the legislative “Countdown Clock” for passage of the historic amendment to the Horse Protection Act..
Reporter Paul Barton contacted the Congressional Offices of:
- Ed Whitfield(R-KY)
- Marsha Blackburn (R-TN
- Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
- Mark Warner (D-VA)
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Here is the article:
Anti-soring bill finds its 300th sponsor
WASHINGTON ““ The number of House co-sponsors for a bill to better protect walking horses from soring has reached 300, supporters said Thursday.
Meanwhile, the two lead sponsors of identical Senate legislation called for leaders in that chamber to allow a floor vote.
The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act has passed the Senate Commerce Committee but remains bottled up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where a PAST Act opponent, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, is vice-chair.
Of the House bill’s 300 co-sponsors, 114 are Republicans and 186 are Democrats. The lead House sponsor is Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield, and the last to sign on was Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat.
There are 57 Senate co-sponsors.
“This critical legislation has more bipartisan support than nearly any other bill in Congress. We strongly urge House leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and pass the PAST Act,” Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement.
“The abuse of Tennessee walking horses has gone on long enough, and so has Congress’ delay in acting on this bill.”
Widely seen as cruel, soring involves using caustic chemicals, chains, special pads and other devices on a walking horse’s legs and hooves to produce an artificially high step, referred to as the “Big Lick.”
Blackburn, however, contends the Tennessee walking horse industry is almost always compliant with the Horse Protection Act of 1970, the current anti-soring statute. She has proposed alternative legislation designed to strengthen the 1970 law with a program of scientific testing.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander also has an alternative to the PAST Act that calls for more rigorous testing of horses to detect soring.
But PAST Act supporters say the Blackburn and Alexander bills largely protect the status quo and fail to eliminate the “action devices” used in soring.
In the Senate, the two lead sponsors of the PAST Act are Sens. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican and Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia.
“We remain hopeful we can move this bipartisan legislation to a vote this year,” said Warner spokesman Kevin Hall.
“Ending this abuse of horses has the support of overwhelming majorities in both houses. It’s hard to imagine we would not be able to get to a vote on such broadly supported, bipartisan legislation.”
And Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said, “Senator Ayotte is continuing her efforts to advance her legislation, and she is hopeful the full Senate will take it up it soon.”
The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has declined comment on whether the measure will be brought up for a vote.
Contact Paul C. Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @PaulCBarton