The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released US Department of Agriculture (USDA) video footage purporting to find evidence of soring at a recent walking horse event, then pulled it from the internet.
The AVMA posted the video on its YouTube channel on Friday, then later took the video off-line.
The Tennessean reported that an AVMA media contact had confirmed that the USDA had allowed the AVMA to put up the video.
“After it went up, they requested we take it down.”
The footage shows USDA veterinarians inspecting a horse to determine if it has been subject to the abusive practice of soring at what the AMVA described as a recent event.
Soring, illegal in the US for more than 40 years, is the harmful act of intentionally inflicting pain on Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited breeds through the use of chemical and physical means, such as hard acrylic wedged in between a horse’s shoe pads and sole, the application irritants like kerosene or cinnamon oil, or overly tight metal hoof bands.
The pain caused by these caustic agents and/or physical devices induces the horse to lift its legs faster and higher, increasing its chance of winning in competitions.
The video, shot earlier in August, shows USDA inspectors testing for and apparently finding evidence of soring, the AVMA said.
Recently, the 84,000-member veterinary body praised Congress for introducing legislation, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406), which would give the USDA greater authority to enforce regulations and penalize those involved in soring.
“This USDA video underscores the concern that the cruel and illegal practice of soring is still a big problem in the walking horse industry,” AVMA chief executive Dr Ron DeHaven said.
“This is why the AVMA fully supports passage of the PAST Act.
“Despite the fact that soring has been illegal for more than 40 years under the Horse Protection Act, we are still seeing these inhumane practices inflicted on the nation’s walking horses.
“This new USDA video footage illustrates the need for the PAST Act to strengthen the USDA’s ability to prevent soring and the resulting suffering of the horses who are victims of this practice.”