Letters to the Editor: June 27

June 27, 2014 

Horse soring is cruel, PAST Act urgently needed

Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Rep. Andy Barr appear to have abandoned the welfare of horses in Kentucky by co-signing alternative bills sponsored by lawbreakers in the Tennessee walking horse industry.

These bills preserve the status quo by continuing to enable the botched self-policing scheme, allowing the continued use of abusive devices to torture horses and providing no effective punishments for trainers who continue the abuse.

Soring is a brutal and sadistic training practice where horses' legs are burned with caustic chemicals, chains are put on their ankles to irritate the tender skin and weighted shoes are put on their hooves.

Their hooves are so painful that they lift them unnaturally high. All this torture is purely for the entertainment of the crowd and a blue ribbon.

Lawmakers would better serve their constituents by standing up to animal cruelty instead of pandering to an abusive industry.

Over 300 members of Congress have signed on to the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, cosponsored by Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield. It represents real reform to the federal Horse Protection Act and ends the illegal and inhumane practice of soring horses.

The nation's largest veterinary group, the American Veterinary Medical Association, endorses the bill as do the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, the American Horse Council and the United States Equestrian Foundation.

Turning a blind eye to abuse makes these representatives complicit in horse soring. Please urge your congressman to support this act.

Melissa Bowman


Horse shows affected

This is in response to the June 15 article about bipartisan support for the horse anti-soring bill.

All horses undergo a rigorous inspection, including manually pressing on the front legs to look for any signs of sensitivity.

If a horse shows any signs, it is disqualified from competition and both the owner and trainer are open to fines, suspensions and government prosecution.

Often, one horse will be examined three to four times by different inspectors before being allowed to compete. The industry is 96.7 percent compliant even with stringent inspections.

Regarding objects under the front shoes to cause pain, just this year I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Agriculture, asking for any information, x-rays, investigation, etc. where objects were found between the padded shoe and hoof from 2000 to 2013.

The USDA's response was that a thorough search of its records produced no results. No results for the past 13 years of any objects found between the padded shoe and hoof.

It is also interesting to note that the American Horse Council and its president, Jay Hickey, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association are all paid lobbyists.

I wonder if anyone has checked how much money they have received to lobby? Isn't their job to protect and promote humane methods for animals? Isn't AVMA supposed to base its decision on scientific facts?

If the PAST Act becomes a law, it will certainly doom the show horse industry. Not just the Tennessee walking horse show horses, but all show horses.

Joy Smith

Olive Branch, Tenn.

Following the money

Congratulations are in order for Todd Howard from Hippo, Ky., who, after being laid off from his coal job, turned to agriculture and in a few short years made $50,000.

Not only is this the answer for some economic and environmental problems in some areas of the state, it shows there is more to Kentucky than coal.

What I found rather humorous in a litany of government programs wanting to tell Howard and others like him how they should be running their own businesses.

This happens far too often. Reading between the lines, all I can imagine is a bunch of bureaucrats scrambling to figure out how they can make some of this money for themselves rather than doing any real labor-intensive work.

This is happening far too often — let's form a committee to study the committee that is studying the committee. Good grief. And, no, I am not a libertarian.

Jean-Ann Kerr


Climate theory fails

I suppose if you work for the Herald-Leader, you gotta drink its Kool-Aid. Columnist Tom Eblen obviously does.

Yes, the coal industry obviously is in the business of protecting itself, just as the climate scientists are in the business of protecting their grants and fellowships.

These alarmists must keep this propaganda going or they will lose funding for their theories and predictions.

In 2007, former vice president Albert "Al" Gore quoted these scientists when he said that the Arctic ice cap could be gone by 2014.

Well, guess what? The Arctic cap is larger today than in 2007.

Eblen says that the war on coal is being fought by cheaper natural gas and by solar energy. Natural gas has been at historically low prices, but as recently as six years ago, natural gas was four times as expensive.

Eblen can probably afford to pay four times as much for electricity. Wind and solar provide less than 10 percent of our energy demands and will be about the same 50 years from now. Coal has nothing to fear from them.

Never fear, Eblen, we won't have to worry about air pollution in 100 years. By then, there may be three times as many people on this planet.

With that many new bodies, air pollution will be the least of our worries. Food and water will be what we're fighting for.

Or maybe I'm just an alarmist.

Dennis Adams


EPA thinks it's boss

The Environmental Protection Agency is making decisions without the approval of Congress. We are not being represented.

This administration has become a dictatorship and we are the pawns. The only truth we have been told is that energy prices will skyrocket.

Companies have to make a profit, they will pass the cost on to us or throw their hands up and close. Does that sound like it will help the economy?

All of this is based on carbon emissions affecting the climate. Scientists at East Anglia University were scrutinized for making research fit EPA theory. The temperature has not risen for the past 20 years and has actually decreased.

The U.S. has more energy reserves than any other country, not being used because of EPA controls. We could put people back to work and lower the cost of energy.

The EPA estimates some coastal cities will be under water by the end of the century, if nothing is done. A math professor and students figured out how much energy it would take to raise the temperature of ice in Antarctica by one degree.

It would take 230,000 nuclear bombs to raise it one degree. In Antarctica the temperature is -70 degrees, the temperature would have to rise 102 degrees to start melting.

We need to make sure our senators and congressmen understand that we the people need to be represented and not dictated to. Light up the phones; the worst thing to do is nothing.

Harry Van Epps


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