Abandoned Horses Are On The Rise

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Jack Noble was pretty sure what he would see when he arrived to check out reports of horses abandoned on a rural road in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in September.

Noble, field operations manager for the state’s Department of Agriculture, found 11 filthy, sickly and starving horses. “They were just let loose, and they were severely malnourished,” he said.

Horse abandonment is on the rise across the USA, livestock and agricultural officials say. As the economy worsens and the cost of feeding and caring for horses rises, more people are abandoning their animals into the wild, where many starve and die.

No national numbers are available, but there are “definitely thousands of them out there,” said Dave Duquette, an Oregon horse trainer and president of the United Horsemen’s Front.

“Folks have to decide whether to feed the kids or feed the horses,” said Dr. Kerry Rood, a veterinarian at Utah State University.

In Wyoming, there have been “huge increases” in the number of domestic horses abandoned, said Jim Schwartz, director of the Wyoming Livestock Board.

“It used to be six or eight per year. This year so far we’ve had at least 41,” said Lee Romsa, Wyoming’s brand commissioner. In Nevada, officials have found 63 abandoned horses in the northern part of the state alone in 2008 — an unprecedented situation, said Ed Foster, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.

The horses Noble found were sold at auction, surprising considering their condition, he said.

The responsibility for dealing with abandoned domestic horses generally falls to a state’s department of agriculture or a local animal control organization, Rood said. Private animal rescue organizations often become involved, he said.

The sale of horses is becoming “less and less” of an option, said Patricia Evans, equine specialist at Utah State. Auctioneers screening horses are turning them away if they don’t think they will bring enough money, she said.

Rood said another part of the abandonment problem is the closure of the USA’s last horse slaughterhouse last year in Illinois. Slaughtering provided owners with a final option, he said.

Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said closure of American horse slaughterhouses was a necessary end to a “horrifically abusive” practice.

Many horse owners believe their animals, if released into the wild, will be adopted by wild herds. But “the wild horse herd will reject them in the most violent manner,” Foster said. “It ends up being a bad ending for that horse.”

DeLong reports for the Reno Gazette-Journal

General Barry McCaffrey Exposed For The Ultimate Spineless Shill That He Is

THE NEW YORK TIMES

November 30, 2008

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.

“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.

[Read more…]

Good Ol’ Charlie Gibson Gets In One Final Bootlicking Of President George “W/Torture” Bush

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Charles Gibson aboard for Bush interview

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ABC anchor will boat to Camp David with first family

By Paul J. Gough

Nov 25, 2008, 06:18 PM ET

NEW YORK — During the same week Barbara Walters interviews the president-elect in Chicago, ABC’s “World News” anchor Charles Gibson will interview President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush during the holiday weekend.

Gibson will ride with the first family on Marine One from the White House to Camp David, then interview Mr. and Mrs. Bush there. Gibson will ask about the past eight years, the couple’s future plans and if they have any advice for Bush’s successor, Sen. Barack Obama, and his family.

The interview will air on Monday’s “World News With Charles Gibson” plus that show’s webcast, “Good Morning America” and elsewhere.

Best New Rules Ever

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The Department of Earth, Wind and Fire ~ Bill Maher ~ Nov 14 2008

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