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Blackburn Introduces Legislation Competing With H.R. 1518

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has introduced competing legislation to Congressman Ed Whitfield’s H.R. 1518, commonly referred to as the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) act. Congressman Whitfield’s bill is an HSUS sponsored piece of legislation that would cripple the show horse industry in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds. The legislation calls for a ban of all action devices, pads and weighted shoes in these three breeds, which has raised concerns in other show breeds who do use action devices, pads and weighted shoes to enhance their gait, but who clearly are not soring their horses. The PAST legislation also calls for an elimination of the Horse Industry Organization (HIO) system and would turn complete enforcement responsibility of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) over to the USDA who are woefully underfunded to take on such a responsibility. 
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn introduced H.R. 4098, named the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013, which amends the Horse Protection Act which focuses on the elimination of the current HIO system but that would create a single independent HIO to enforce the HPA under the USDA’s guidance. The Horse Protection Amendments Act also creates inspection protocols that use objective, science-based methods to replace the current subjective protocols (palpation and visual inspection) being used. The protocols will be “conducted using only inspection methods based on science-based protocols (including swabbing or blood testing protocols) that – 

(A) have been the subject of testing and are capable of producing scientifically reliable, reproducible results;
(B) have been subjected to peer review; and
(C) have received acceptance in the veterinary or other applicable scientific community.”
Within 180 days of enactment of the legislation, the “Secretary shall prescribe by regulation the establishment of a single horse industry organization (HIO).”  The HIO shall be governed initially by a board consisting of the following:
(A) Two individuals each appointed by the Commissioners of Agriculture of Tennessee and Kentucky

(B) Two individuals representing the industry by the above four persons in consultation with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association
(C) Not more than three individuals shall be appointed by the six individuals above
The HIO will issue policies requiring any person licensed with the HIO or an immediate member of such person to be free from conflicts of interest or any association with the industry.  Within 90 days of formation of the HIO, the Secretary shall revoke the certifications of the existing HIOs previously certified.
H.R. 4098 will have all of Congresswoman Blackburn’s fellow Tennessee Republicans as co-sponsors, Phil Roe (1st District), John J. Duncan (2nd District), Chuck Fleischmann (3rd District), Scott DesJarlais (4th District), Dianne Black (6th District) and Stephen Fincher (8th District).  Also, Congressmen Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) and Andy Barr (R-KY-6) from Kentucky were also co-sponsors.  Rogers serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.   Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV-3) signed on as a co-sponsor as well.

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