Michael Keaton, Katherine Heigl and Willie Nelson have joined a growing list of celebrities calling on Congress to pass legislation to protect horses from an abuse known as “soring.”

They reacted after a recent undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States revealed employees at a top training barn in Tennessee soring horses to force them perform the high-stepping “big lick” gait that is rewarded in competitions.

“Video footage revealed abhorrent cruelty, including horses’ legs being slathered with caustic chemicals and wrapped tightly to cook the chemicals into their flesh, causing extreme pain,” reads the statement signed by the stars.

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 3268/S. 1121, is legislation to amend the existing federal law to ban the devices used in soring walking horses and related breeds, end the failed system of industry self-policing and strengthen penalties.

“I urge Congress to pass the PAST Act and protect this gentle breed from animal cruelty carried out in the name of entertainment,” the statement continues.

Other celebrities who previously signed on as endorsers of the PAST Act include Alyssa Milano, Viggo Mortensen, Ke$ha, Emmylou Harris, Kaley Cuoco, Ian Somerhalder, Wendie Malick and Priscilla Presley.

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