The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund Respond to USDA’s Decision Not to Commit to Increasing Protections of Horses Under Federal Horse Protection Act 

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund are criticizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture for proposing to withdraw a regulation that would have protected horses from the cruel and unlawful practice of “soring.”

In response to a May 12 order issued by District Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the USDA had multiple options that would have protected horses, as required by the Horse Protection Act and as envisioned in a 2017 rule finalized by the agency. The USDA could have reinstated that 2017 rule or moved forward swiftly with the promulgation of a strong new rule, as it has been promising the public for over 18 months.

Shockingly, USDA instead said in a court filing that it plans to simply withdraw the 2017 rule. USDA committed only to take six months (or more if it decides to ask the court for even more time) to do the bare minimum required to comply with the procedural law but proposed to do nothing to increase protections for horses.

This is particularly concerning as the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has been reviewing USDA’s new proposed rule on the same subject since September 2022, significantly longer than the standard 90 days that OMB takes to review rules. While USDA has decided to withdraw the 2017 rule, they are doing so with absolutely no guarantee of any new rule coming into place.

The Humane Society of the United States fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, we takes on puppy mills, factory farms, the fur trade, trophy hunting, animal cosmetics testing and other cruel industries. Through our rescue, response and sanctuary work, as well as other direct services, we help thousands of animals in need every year. We fight all forms of animal cruelty to achieve the vision behind our name: a humane society.

Learn more about our work at Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast. 

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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Media contact
Melissa Smith: 231-360-7676