incoming (2006-46)

Can You Fetch Me My Coffee?

Cruel and Usual Punishment

Definition Please

A Sore Subject

Poor Performance

Print the Positive

Abusing the Facts

Also, I bet that after a year Sen. Corker will want to give the job to Harold. After being a mover and decision-maker running his own companies, he will now be a junior senator in possibly the minority party. He will become an errand boy for the people who forced those nice ads on him. He won’t even be able to get theater tickets in that town. He will be in line behind the administration people, the foreign embassies, the Supremes, the media stars and the senior, powerful senators and reps.

After all that effort and all that money, I’m sure he’ll wish he hadn’t gotten into the Senate race.

Tony Zucker

Cruel and Usual Punishment

Assume that your son or daughter has joined the American military and, through the fortunes of wars, finds him/her self held captive by the evil government of (insert name of your favorite enemy state here).

On the first day of captivity, they are dragged from their confinement and, just for the fun of it, made to lie in piles while cigarette smoking soldiers stand hovering over them, prodding their genitalia and making obscene comments.

To “sensitize” them for official questioning, and with the encouragement of “Other Government Agencies,” they are routinely denied sleep for two, three or more days, first by the use of bright lights and painfully loud music and, when that can no longer stop the onset of sleep, by active use of force. To supplement this, they are harassed and threatened by attack dogs and repeatedly dehumanized with ongoing nudity and sexual humiliation.

Their basic religious faith is systematically challenged and derided with pages from and entire Bibles destroyed in front of their eyes. In more formalized interrogations, they are routinely beaten both by direct agents of the government and “contract consultants” to the point that some of their comrades in captivity actually are beaten to death.

The ultimate reported (and I stress “reported”) technique is the infamous water boarding. This is not, as Mr. Harding so casually implies, just a quick dip, but the systematic and repeated near drowning of the prisoner. By the way, if you check your history, with slight variations this last technique was also a favorite of the Inquisition. Hence, an oldie but a goodie.

So now the conflict is over and we, of course, have won and the survivors of these techniques returned to the safety of their families with horror stories of their captivity. By coincidence, we have captured all of the guards and they are about to be placed on trial for “Crimes Against Humanity.”

Their full and final defense is, “We learned all of our techniques from the United States Army and the American Central Intelligence Agency. If the Americans, with their long history of honor and justice, treat prisoners in this fashion, it must be the correct course of action.”

OK, Mr. Harding. Your turn. Are they guilty or not?

Franklin L. Greene, Lt. Col, USAF (Rtd)

Definition Please

John says, “My belief is that if you are a high-value prisoner in captured combatant status who has undergone incidents of physical harsh treatment without suffering long periods of extreme agony, losing consciousness, or being permanently injured or disfigured, you are not doing too badly.”

Sounds to me like John agrees to torture by the definition.

Mark S. Webb

A Sore Subject

Ms. Wylie wrote such a good article that made it educational for even the novice person to understand.

Many feel this is just training from the past and no longer goes on. I have firsthand experience and witnessed these types of training practices in some cases we have investigated. The hard part has always been getting local authorities to do anything about it.

Last fall Dr. Todd Behre, (horse protection coordinator) with the USDA, had warned the DQPs if they didn’t start doing their jobs at the horse shows they would step in and do it. They knew that horses were being allowed through inspections that shouldn’t be. I am so glad they finally stepped in to help the horses.

Ms. Wylie wrote a great article, and I would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the cruel and inhumane practices inflicted on these majestic creatures to read the book From the Horse’s Mouth by Eugene Davis.

Along with Ms. Wylie, I would also like to thank the Metro Pulse for being brave enough to print this article on such a controversial issue within our state.

Nina L. Margetson

Poor Performance

Your piece on the alleged abuse of the breed [Nov. 9 cover, “Sore Winners”] was sensationalistic journalism at its worst. Your writer was lacking in both perspective and in context and came off, frankly, as mean spirited. It was clear from the shallow, one-sided message that her research was token at best and sloppy at worst.

First of all, there are doctors who abuse their patients. There are pilots who endanger their passengers, and there is not a breed of horse anywhere that does not have a few abusive trainers. Now, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, the official registry of the Walking Horse Breed, boasts over 18,000 members worldwide. There are upwards of a quarter of a million registered Walkers and countless more unregistered. The number of horses shown on pads is miniscule as a percentage of those shown and is rarely seen outside of Middle Tennessee.

But, in building your facts around a false, forgone conclusion, you presume that all padded horses are abused per se. This is patently wrong and represents a blatant and irresponsible disservice to the vast majority of responsible breeders and trainers in the industry and to the people of your proud state who revere this elegant animal.

The performance Tennessee Walking Horse is an art form. When the well and patiently trained horse muscles out to support the gait, it exhibits power and grace well beyond the ability of other breeds to achieve.

It is a beautiful thing to behold as well as to ride.

My daughter used to come home from ballet lessons with bloody toes. No one ever accused me of child abuse....

John Nuetzel

Print the Positive

Overall the horses had a compliance rate of 92.3 percent at the 2006 Celebration. Of the 3241 horses inspected, there were: 10 violations for bilateral sore horses, 18 violations for foreign substances, 10 violations for unruly, unacceptable horses, 10 shoeing violations, 139 Scar Rule violations (up 62 percent from 2005).

It does not take a rocket scientist to see where the problem exists! The largest area of debate between the walking horse owners and trainers and the USDA remains the interpretation of the Scar Rule. This in fact, is what caused all the problems at the 2006 Celebration. Not all the negative, sensational, and false reporting that was contained in your article, “Sore Winners.”

And by the way, the story about children being involved somehow in the soring of horses is the best example of sensational, off-the-wall, negative journalism, I have ever read! My take on this would have been to write about the 700 children who showed their horses at the 2006 Celebration (ages 6 to 17) and how wonderful it was to see them ride to be awarded their ribbons.... Print the truth, print the positive, shame on you for doing the opposite!!

Bob Ramsbottom

Abusing the Facts

The information given to you by John Anderson of Bell Buckle was very interesting, but hard to believe since there was no mention of the names of the boys or the trainer, not even where the house was. I can buy protecting the boys, but not the trainer or where the house was at which was selling this chemical.

I hear a lot of tales all the time and when I go to check them out I find they are mostly untrue. Yes, I know some trainers will still try to get by with doing things to their horses, but they are few. There are a lot more trainers who do the right thing and no one ever writes anything about them. I have often wondered why. Why do you think no one writes about them?

All the different media sources ever want to write about is the soring in the Walking Horse industry and a Scar Rule that changes from visit to visit by the USDA. What happens in the Walking Horse industry pales in comparison to what goes on in other horse industries, but no one cares about them. I also wonder why this is.

Ask some of your horse friends what breed uses barbed wire bits, splits the frog of all four feet, keeps horses in dark stalls with no light and tosses fire crackers in on them, which breed hits the shin of a horse with a broom handle to make the legs sore, which breed puts the mustard oil on all four legs from the hoof to the knee. I could go on but I think you get the picture. It hasn’t taken me long to find out that as long as all the media does is jump on the Walking Horse then all the abuse in the other breeds will continue.

The USDA knows that what I say is true; after all I found out about a lot of it from them, but then they say it does not concern them because the Horse Protection Act is for Walking Horses.

While we are at it you might as well check out everything there is to know about the Horse Slaughter Bill too and what the down side of it is. Ask these questions. Who will take care of these horses since the ones slaughtered are abused, abandoned and neglected to start with. Ask about the American Quarter Horse Association report on it. Ask about the hungry people this meat goes to feed. You know, my Father always said if you only tell part of the facts and hide part of the facts then everything you said is untrue.

I do a show on Walking Horses and I have always showed everything I see in this industry. I see how hard these trainers work every day to keep these horses in good shape. Ask yourself these questions: Why would a trainer lead a horse up for the USDA to inspect if he did not feel his horse was OK? How can a horse have a scar one day and not have it the next day? And the last one, how can a horse not have a scar and 15 minutes later have one? Think about these things and then try to find out why the USDA writes a book about the Scar Rule for the trainers to follow and then does not use the rulebook themselves.

All I have told you is fact, and if you really want the truth follow me for one day and you will find out some things are not what they appear to be, and maybe some of the shows you see about how our government does things are true. As one USDA-hired VMO stated “We are the government, we can do anything we want.”

Jerry W. Harris

Editor’s Note: As noted in last week’s cover story, “Sore Winners,” it was not Metro Pulse’s intention to imply that all Tennessee Walking Horse owners engage in the abusive practice of soring.  Nor was it our intention to imply that all of the horses pictured in the article had been sored.

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