Another celebrity is speaking out about politics, and this time it's in the name of animal rights. Pricilla Presley, ex-wife to iconic performer Elvis Presley, is calling upon President Trump to help put a stop to a cruel horse training technique called “soring.”
The Tennessean reports that the technique is used by trainers on Tennessee Walking Horses to give them an exaggerated gait. It involves, quite literally, making horses' hooves sore, so that they are less willing to put weight on them. This causes them to lift their front legs higher, and a gait in the horses' gallop, which is a pleasant appearance for some.
But it's anything but pleasant for the horse, according to USA Today.
Devices and caustic chemicals are placed on the horses' legs and hooves in order to deliberately inflict pain on the horse until the desired effect is achieved.
Regulations to ban the gear used in the practice were established by the Department of Agriculture under the Obama Administration and were set to be finalized Tuesday, reports The Tennessean.
But when President Trump took office on Friday, the White House put all unpublished rules created under Obama on hold, and this includes the new rules on horse soring.
While the Trump administration can still approve the rules, it's possible they will just scrap them. Keith Dane from The Humane Society of the United States told USA Today:
“It’s certainly possible the administration could decide to take no action."
Presley, who owned a Tennessee walking horse with Elvis at their home in Graceland, is now hoping that President Trump will take a look at the regulations. She told The Tennessean:
“I’m hoping that President Trump will have it in his heart to take a look at this and show his compassion for animals. It would be a wonderful sign that he is a compassionate man.”
She said that the practice is just too cruel to ignore, and she wishes she knew about it earlier:
“When I heard about this it was just unfathomable to me that Tennessee walking horses were in these shows with this kind of abuse and torture. I mean, I can’t imagine Elvis ever, ever. We were just very naive. We loved the ride of the horse.”
The new rules would also give the USDA a hand in regulating training inspections. Most inspections are currently done by horse industry insiders, meaning cruelty like soring can fly under the radar because it's just not reported, according to Country Music Nation.
Dane said that he is unsure what exactly happened to the rules on Tuesday, but he attributes its hold—in addition to a number of other freezes in legislation—to setbacks:
“Clearly, the USDA wanted this rule to move forward. But by the time they announced it had been finalized and the potential deadline to get it published before the new administration came in, something failed to happen.”
Presley said she hopes to speak with the president personally about the issue, though he has not yet responded to her requests.