Letters to the editor: March 23

March 23, 2014 

Self-policing in walking horse industry a myth; reform bill necessary

Jim Cortner's March 16 column, "Walking horse industry committed to self-policing animal abuse," is mere rhetoric. Horse abuse is indefensible, so he's trying to feed the public lines about how this abusive part of the industry is cleaning up — but no one's buying it.

Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have signed on to co-sponsor the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S.1406, which will finally eliminate the cruel methods of soring horses used to achieve the big lick gait.

The USDA's Office of Inspector General, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and many others agree that self-regulation in this industry has been a complete failure and should be abolished.

The industry's "compliance" numbers are bunk: they're manufactured results from inspections conducted by individuals with conflicts of interest, and they don't reflect what goes on at shows or in the training process.

Dr. John C. Haffner, a long-time veterinarian who spent a career treating performance walking horses, wrote in a letter to Rep. Ed Whitfield, "The fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by soring. When one soring technique becomes detectable, another one is developed."

The big-lick faction supports Rep. Marsha Blackburn's alternative bill because it codifies the corrupt status quo.

The PAST Act's meaningful reforms are needed to crack down on criminal activity perpetrated by the dark side of this industry — those who profit from abuse at the expense of the welfare of the horses.

Pam Rogers

Kentucky state director, The Humane Society of the United States


Wink, wink for Richie

Let's get this straight. The former argiculture commissioner is found guilty and is given a date to begin his sentence at the prison for the rich country club — still very difficult for a man of means.

However, his son was playing basketball and, dang, darn it, he wanted to be there. So instead of him paying the price for spending John Q. Public's money, he is allowed by a judge to delay that sentencing so he can attend his son's game?

The best sentence would have been for Richie "Remember me, I played for UK" Farmer to have been sitting in a cell while his son played.

This is another example of how if you have money or influence, you are going to be OK. Wink, wink. In the words of singer Waylon Jennings, "We're just good ol' boys."

Russ Reide


Political parody team

Thanks to political reporter Sam Youngman and State Auditor Adam Edelen for teaming up on the March 10 parody that had Edelen playing the ambitious and insufferable braggart and Youngman the straight-man journalist.

Edelen smoothly mimicked the politician who uses 10 words when five will do and was even able to recall the rhetorical device used by former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld; asking and then answering his own questions.

Edelen's character also reminds us of the oily pol who contradicts himself from one sentence to the next. Jack Conway receives his insult followed by a claim of broad and enduring civility.

The article was most valuable as public service, to consider whom to vote for in any election, and why. After reading the piece's most farcical quote, "I've got demonstrated crossover appeal. I speak the language of markets. I'm comfortable with business people. I'm not ideological, I'm practical. And I have a compelling message," I thought to myself, "Who would ever vote for such a fool?"

Todd Kelly


21c preservation masters

Thank you to 21c, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown and Deborah Berke. They are the standard for preservation advocacy disguised subtly as a museum hotel, developers and an architect.

They see an old building as their blank canvas. They transform interiors with wired space, edgy art, bodacious bathrooms, outstanding food.

They employ local craft people like Cincinnati's Rookwood Pottery to imprint sexy ears, noses and breasts in white tiles for bathroom walls. They work with local farmers and artisans and cherish the built and natural environment, whatever the location.

Their contemporary art displays intrigue us, but so does the building framework when they're finished.

In Louisville, they married deteriorating buildings together with steel, exposing beams and bolts and old foundation lines. In Cincinnati, they took a 100-year-old building and created a renovated space allowing us to see the connectivity of form and art.

They have put state-of-the-art technology in their buildings but hidden it within the historic fabric. They are contemporary art lovers and the best examples of preservationists I know: honoring the carbon footprint, recognizing our history and supporting the local economy.

Maybe they can teach the University of Kentucky and its board of trustees a few tricks when they get started in Lexington. They have found pathways to make economics and preservation converge.

Linda Carroll

Lexington Coal water pollution is terrorism

I read your March 13 report that a coal company was fined for dumping mining debris into streams and polluting water in Harlan and Knott counties. And another was fined for polluting water in five states.

That comes after the massive Elk River pollution of just a few months ago, for which fines were also assessed.

If corporations are people, why does no one go to jail for these crimes? Isn't poisoning our water what terrorists want to do?

This type of illegal activity should be labeled "domestic terrorism" and the perpetrators should be in prison.

Arlin Marsh


Lexington drivers not so sweet

I know that the Sweet Sixteen tournament is a great deal for Lexington but the worst part of it is that we have so many people downtown who don't have a clue where they are going, what they're doing — jumping back and forth between lanes — and don't have the slightest clue what a turn signal was made for.

And the worst part is that then we have all of these people coming in from out of town who actually have an excuse. Think about it.

Tim Burton


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