Maryland has a long history of producing some of the nation's finest horses. In 1970, efforts to end the cruel practice of "soring" in horses were led by Maryland Sen. Joseph Tydings.

The Horse Protection Act, which resulted from his work, outlawed the practice of applying caustic chemicals to the lower legs of gaited horses. These "sored" horses are then ridden with chains around the sensitive areas; the chains rub up and down, causing the horse to pick its legs up higher in an attempt to get away from the pain.

Unfortunately, this abuse continues today despite the law. A bill currently under review in Congress would help to eliminate soring by banning the use of chains and the heavy platform shoes that are used with them. It would also put the U.S. Department of Agriculture in charge of the inspectors who check horses for signs of soring. Currently, industry groups license and train their own inspectors, a system akin to putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house.

As a Maryland native and horse lover, I urge Rep. Andy Harris to co-sponsor the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. The Maryland Veterinary Medical Association and the Maryland Horse Council both endorse this bill as do over 300 members of Congress. Congressman Harris needs to follow their lead by cosponsoring this anti-crime bill.

Donna Moore, Oxford, Pa.

The writer is a veterinarian.

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