Commentary: Horse commission makes wise move to stop horse abuse

This editorial appeared in The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Kudos to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for withholding taxpayer subsidies of horse torture.

Commission members wisely balked at renewing the Kentucky Walking Horse Association's eligibility for state breeders' incentives.

The breeders fund, which comes from a state tax on Thoroughbred stud fees, provided more than $387,000 to walking-horse owners in 2007, including some who had been cited for violating the federal law against "soring."

The practice of intentionally injuring a show horse's lower legs to manufacture an extraordinarily high step has been outlawed for decades.

But compliance has been spotty, and show exhibitors often just put their horses on a trailer and leave when U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians show up to inspect horses for signs of "soring."

The commission left the door open for the walking-horse group to re-apply for the incentive program.

Approval should continue to be withheld until there are credible safeguards against abuse of horses and the law.