December 9 - Horse Protection Act enacted
The Horse Protection Act (HPA) was enacted on December 9, 1970. The HPA prohibits horses subjected to a process called soring from participating in exhibitions, sales, shows, or auctions.
In enforcing the HPA, Animal Control (AC) oversees the Designated Qualified Person (DQP) program. DQP's are trained and licensed by USDA-certified horse industry organizations or associations to detect sored horses. DQP's are responsible for barring from shows horses that do not meet the HPA regulations. To ensure DQP's continue to adhere to HPA standards, AC personnel conduct unannounced inspections at horse shows and sales.
For those who violate the HPA, APHIS can impose criminal or civil charges. If convicted, violators can spend up to 2 years in prison, receive penalties of up to $5,000, and be disqualified for 1 or more years from the right to show, exhibit, or sell horses through auction sales. Trainers can be disqualified for life.
In addition to the HPA, many State and local governments have passed animal welfare legislation. The public is encouraged to work with Federal, State, and local officials as well as local humane organizations to help eliminate inhumane treatment of animals.