Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Soring of Horses Definition:

The intentional infliction of a sore upon a horse to affect their gait.

The soring of horses is both defined and prohibited in the United States Code, Chapter 18 as follows:

"The term sore when used to describe a horse means that (a) an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse (b) any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse, (c) any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or (d) any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of a horse by or under the supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State in which such treatment was given."

Wish the horse never soredIn Lewis v Secretary of Agriculture, Justice Godbold of the United States Court of Appeals used these words to describe the facts at hand:

"'Senator's Mr. Big' is a Tennessee Walking Horse. Such horses are prized for their unique gait. Striving for this high-stepping gait, some horse owners participate in the inhumane practice of soring, which involves applying mechanical devices or chemical substances to the forelimbs of the horse.

"Soring causes pain to the horse when it attempts to place a forefoot on the ground, and the forelimb is then thrust forward. This artificially produces the unique gait naturally produced through years of training and championship bloodlines."

In Stamper v Secretary of Agriculture, Justice Boochever of the United States Court of Appeals provided the background behind the prohibition of this animal cruelty activity in the United States:

"Tennessee walking horses have a high-stepping gait or walk, achieved through selective breeding and training with equipment called action devices.

"Unfortunately, the walk also can be created artificially in less talented horses by making the horse's forelimbs sore. The resulting pain causes the horse quickly to lift his feet when he walks, producing the desired gait. The sores can be produced by use of nails, tacks, injections, blistering agents or misuse of action devices.

"These practices are cruel to the animal and threaten the Walking Horse industry and the breed itself, because winning horses are highly valued as studs.

"To end this cruelty and to protect the breed's natural ability to walk in its distinctive fashion, Congress enacted the 1970 Horse Protection Act, which imposes penalties for showing or exhibiting sore horses.

"In 1976, continuing reports of horse-soring prompted Congress to amend the Act to expand the Department's enforcement authority. Most relevant here, Congress revised the definition of sore to eliminate requirements that the soring be done with the intent to affect the horse's gait ... and it added a statutory presumption that a horse is sore if it manifests abnormal sensitivity or inflammation in both of its forelimbs or hind-limbs."

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