Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Humane Society Legislative Fund

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today we recognize the Humane Society Legislative Fund.


The Humane Society Legislative Fund worked to bring together stakeholders in the equine advocacy realm to lobby for the passage of humane legislation at the federal level.

On September 10, 2019, equine advocates from across the country came to Capitol Hill to speak to key members of Congress about passing human legislation. Members from Homes for Horses Coalition, a network of equine rescues and sanctuaries, and veterinarians from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association joined officials from Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to meet with legislators.

The groups came together to show their collective support for equine welfare legislation including the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act and the Horseracing Integrity Act.

The SAFE Act  would permanently ban domestic horse slaughter and the transportation of horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Each year more than 80,000 American horses are shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter for consumption overseas.

The PAST Act passed the House this summer with an overwhelming 333 to 96 vote, so advocates focused on increasing support for the bill in the Senate. The measure proposes urgently needed reforms to end horse soring—a cruel practice that inflicts pain on the horse’s feet and legs to produce an exaggerated gait known as the “Big Lick.” The PAST Act will eliminate the use of devices integral to the soring process, end a corrupt industry system of self-policing and increase fines and criminal penalties for violators.

The Horseracing Integrity Act will ban race-day medication, create a uniform medication policy for all 38 racing jurisdictions and substantially increase out-of-competition testing for racehorses. The bill proposes to grant independent control over rule-making, testing and enforcement oversight regarding drugs and medication to a new authority created by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). This same agency is recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for the Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports in the United States.

The groups that gathered on Capitol Hill represent policy, rescue and veterinary perspectives. The Homes for Horses Coalition has saved countless horses each year from the slaughter pipeline, helping to rehabilitate rescues so that they can go on to live happy, productive lives as companion animals.

As veterinary professionals, the members of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association can speak to what qualifies as humane euthanasia and reject what occurs to horses at foreign slaughterhouses. As individuals who prescribe routine medications to horses, they are also qualified to  share their concerns regarding the doping of racehorses and the effects of illegal drugs on the health of racehorses. HSVMA members also have an acute understanding of the pain inflicted on horses who are sored and forced to perform in agonizing pain.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund helped to bring together these stakeholders to share their perspectives with members of Congress in the interests of passing life changing bills. You too can have an impact by contacting your members of Congress and asking him or her to support the SAFE Act, the PAST Act, and the Horseracing Integrity Act—together we can create a more humane world for horses!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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