Thomas Paines Corner; http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/
Friday, July 2, 2010
Fort Scott Tribune
By Michael Pommier
FORT SCOTT, Kan. -- A local horse trading operation has become the focus of animal cruelty allegations, but the company under scrutiny says there's no basis for the group's concerns.
Tucker Brothers, LLC, has been targeted by the animal rights Web site Thomas Paine's Corner (www.thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com) for the alleged neglect and starvation of horses on their farm located a few miles south of Fort Scott.
Jason Miller, senior editor and founder of Thomas Paine's Corner, said the content posted on the Web site was provided to him by "anonymous individuals" who claim to have witnessed the mistreatment.
Raymond Tucker, owner of Tucker Brothers, LLC, said the allegations are false. He did say that he has thin horses on his property which consists of about 1,000 acres of pasture. He said the horses were thin when he bought them, noting that the economy has caused many people to sell or auction their horses because they can no longer afford to keep them. In addition to buying horses, Tucker added, many people will bring "sorry" horses to his property and leave them there.
"I buy sorry horses and a lot of people bring sorry horses out here and dump them out," Tucker said. "It's the economics of the thing, people are just getting rid of their horses in a mass exodus right now.
"We don't mistreat them, you can't find a hotshot in my barn ... whenever we load horses, we load them on goose-necks, we don't use semi trailers."
Further allegations against Tucker are that he does not provide sufficient food or water for the horses on his farm. Tucker said the horses that are too thin to be shipped to buyers get "turned out" or sent to pasture. and they graze his 1,000 acres of live creeks, ponds, and grass that is "belly deep."
"They have plenty of water, plenty of grass," he said. "Nobody is beating on one, nobody is mistreating one ... no matter how sorry they are.
"If I kick (a horse) out to pasture ... (it) gets a chance to fatten up ... They either fatten up or they die ... that's just the cold hard reality of life."
Tucker has also been alleged to ship horses to slaughter houses in Mexico or Canada. Tucker said he sends about 100 horses each week to a buyer in El Paso, Texas, who then decides whether to sell the horse or sent it to a slaughter house in Mexico.
"I don't sell directly to slaughter houses, but a lot of them end up there," Tucker said.
Although he does not send the horses to slaughter houses, Tucker believes that slaughter houses being outlawed in the United States was a bad idea and blames the "tree-hugging liberal do-gooders" for the action. He said before it was outlawed, horses rarely had to be transported more than 400 miles to be slaughtered, now they travel well over 1,000 miles.
"Since they quit killing horses in the United States, why that (the lengthy trip) is the worst thing that ever happened to a horse," he said.
Tucker had been contacted by Miller for the first time Thursday during a one-hour long telephone conversation. As a result of the conversation, Tucker invited Miller, who he described as "completely ignorant," to tour the farm and see all the horses Saturday evening.
"I want to go down there and take a look ... I'm concerned based on some pictures," Miller said. "I'm not quite sure what I'm going to find when I get there."
Tucker added, "There is nothing secretive, nothing mysterious -- we just buy and sell horses."
Bourbon County Sheriff Ron Gray said that he is currently investigating the allegations and has made contacts with state officials. He said that with the holiday weekend a response from the state is not expected until sometime next week.
Thomas Paine's Corner was founded in 2005 by Miller to promote the belief that the oppression and exploitation in the world is rooted in the way society and culture treat animals.
"It's pretty multi-dimensional, but we tend to focus mostly on an animal rights agenda ... but it is anti-oppression, anti-exploitation in general," Miller said.