U.S. Department of Agriculture report says show horses are at risk of abuse
At issue is the illegal practice of soring, which involves irritating the horse's foreleg and hoof to force the animal to walk with a certain gait.
Auditors at USDA, which oversees the animals' safety, said in an internal Agriculture Department report released Thursday that inspectors hired by the industry to ward against the practice are often under pressure from their employers to ignore the abuse.
The department's inspector general said soring is ingrained in the industry and many do not see it as a serious problem. The report recommended USDA hire independent veterinarians to inspect the animals instead of the industry-sponsored vets.
-- Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
Photo: A horse (not one that has been subjected to the practice of soring) is seen in silhouette at a horse show in 1998. Credit: Eric Draper / Associated Press