Horse Lovers Get Involved To Help Movement Over Cruelty to Horses

Published 06/26 2014 02:09PM

Updated 06/26 2014 02:27PM

The debate over animal cruelty to certain types of horses has reached the national level and now several local horse lovers are getting involved.  Even traveling to our nation's capitol in an effort to persuade lawmakers to create an act that would protect the Tennessee Walking Horse.

In this exclusive report, WFFT's Rohma Siddiqui traveled to Kendallville to meet with several horse owners who have helped to spear head the movement.

Last week, horse owners from our region made their way to Capitol Hill.  Mindy Lightner, President of the World Walking Horse Association met with WFFT to explain the changes that her group is asking for.

"The PAST Act is the 'prevent all soring tactics act'.  It's an amendment to an existing law called the Horse Protection Act in 1970.  The Act was passed and became a law and essentially it makes it illegal to do what's called soring to a particular breed of horses called the Tennessee Walking Horse.

The "Big Lick" is a type of very popular gait performed by show horses in competitions.  Indiana farm owner Beth Conway explains the practice in detail.

"They'll wrap the horses there's an area right on the horse's hoof called the cornet, similar to our cuticle and you know how sensitive our cuticles are that's just as sensitive on a horse so they make the skin sore by chemicals and they put heavy weights or chains on that and it just causes the horse to react in pain and lift it's feet higher."

"The big lick horses wear horse shoes about ten times the size of this one here. A lot of people compare it to stilettos for humans, pretty much for the rest of your life."

Supporters of the Act see the resale of these types of horses as a danger to potential future owners, because they will not be made aware of the problems facing the horse when it comes to it's personality and demeanor.

"Well I think it's important the horses that come up here for sale have suffered a lot of mental and physical abuse so someone like me that just wants to enjoy them you're inheriting at a bad expense or emotional response. You just want to enjoy your horse on the trail and they're damaged."

WFFT reached out to local federal lawmakers, Senator Coats, and Donnelly along with Congressman Marlin Stutzman prior to airing this story.  Senator Coats' office was the only lawmaker to respond in an email to WFFT.

A Senate Staff Member writes, "As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Coats supported the bill when the Commerce Committee approved it unanimously in April. It has yet to be voted on in the full Senate."

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