APHIS withdraws horse inspection rule
The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced today it is withdrawing a 2016 proposed rule that would have amended the Horse Protection Act (HPA) regulations, and will make development of a new and improved HPA proposal a top regulatory priority.
APHIS said the action is being taken so the agency can consider more recent findings and research and incorporate the new information into a new proposed rule regarding soring, the illegal practice of using chemicals or mechanical devices to horses’ legs to provoke an artificial high-stepping gait.
The new information includes a 2021 National Academies of Sciences study, which examined the inspection methods used for identifying soreness in walking horses, new and emerging approaches for detecting pain, and use of the scar rule in determining compliance with the Horse Protection Act.
The report also made a number of science-based recommendations that APHIS will consider regarding revisions to APHIS’ HPA program and associated regulations.
The HPA is a federal law, enforced by APHIS, that makes it unlawful for any person to show, exhibit, sell, or transport sore horses, or to use any equipment, device, paraphernalia, or substance prohibited by USDA to prevent the soring of horses in such events.
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