Priscilla Presley Comes to Sacramento to Speak Out Against Horse ‘Soring’

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SACRAMENTO -- Horse advocates of California gathered in Sacramento, to bring awareness to a new Federal Bill aimed to eradicate a practice called "soring."

Actress Priscilla Presley was one of the celebrity advocates who spoke on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States.

"Elvis and I had horses, and two of them were Tennessee walking horses. They are horses we're talking about now, subjected to soring. Thank God our horses weren't sored," Presley said.

Presley said soring is an inhumane practice, little-known by people outside the show horse industry.

"They wrap their legs. Put caustic chemicals on, Saran wrap and then chains on," Presley said.

Soring is the intentional infliction of pain to the lower limbs of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds.

"It's cruel, it's inhumane and it's illegal. The whole purpose is to get the horse to step higher, so it produces this artificial gait called the 'Big Lick,' or the bastardized version if you will, of the running walk," Keith Dane, senior advisor on equine protection for the HSUS said.

Since the 1970s, there have been efforts in Congress to end soring.

But due to underfunding, lobbying, and loopholes, Dane said the show horse world is allowed to police themselves.

So, the the controversial and illegal practice has continued.

The reason is, at shows, the "Big Lick" scores high. It gets ribbons, awards, prize money and endorsements.

"It is a very high-rising gait, which is beautiful to the eye, yes, but what they do behind the scenes is not even to be explained," Presley said.

In July, the US Department of Agriculture just proposed a new rule that would eliminate self-regulation.

Instead they would have a third party inspector, overseen by the USDA, to police illegal soring practices.

It would also prohibit the use of inhumane soring instruments.

Now humane organizations across the US are hoping more people know about soring, and get the federal bill to become law.

"Time is of the essence, and we need people to get on board," Presley said.

For more information on the proposed new regulations, head to humanesociety.org/hparule and send a comment to the USDA.