A federal regulation intended to protect Tennessee Walking Horses against the soring practice has come to a halt under the Trump Administration.
The regulation involved a rule change which the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced on January 14. The new rule would prohibit the practice of soring, or making the horse's hooves or legs painful in order to get the exaggerated movement valued in the show ring.
Tennessee Walking Horses are known for their animated gait, and can be trained to achieve a desirable gait naturally. Additionally, the rule would prohibit the use of soring action devices, such as pads soaked in chemicals, on horses.
The regulation was met with support by many in the equine industry, but the Trump Administration has halted the rule change's progress. In order for the rule to be effective, it needed to be published in the Federal Register. The rule was scheduled to be published this past Tuesday.
Unfortunately, on President Trump's first day in administration, the White House issued a memorandum requiring all unpublished rules to be withdrawn and sent back for review. This doesn't necessarily mean that the rule is dead, as the Trump Administration could review the rule and decide to move forward with it. But until that happens, the rule's progress toward becoming law has been halted.
Trump has chosen former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to act as agriculture secretary, though it has not yet been confirmed whether Perdue will assume the position. Hopefully once an agriculture secretary is confirmed, the rule could move forward again.
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